Guilty Gear X
Game Info
Platform(s)
Playstation 2
Publisher
Sammy
Developer
Arc System Works
Genre
Fighter (2D)
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Blood, Violence
 
Grade
The Good

• Sweet 2D visuals
• Fun, fast paced gameplay
• Relatively solid soundtrack
• Fresh and original characters

The Bad

• Unbalanced gameplay
• Button-masher friendly
• Somewhat shallow experience

 
Grade
B-

As any self-respecting fighting game fan would know, the 2D Fighting genre has been around for more than 15 years. Over this long period of time, it's only normal that the genre gets a fair share of clichés. The main game that is subject to being ripped off is the Street Fighter series. Ever since the first one hit the block, many companies have stolen many key elements in gameplay and character design (to name a few). It's hard to find a fresh and innovative fighter with the sea of worthless imitators and cash cows. Thankfully, developer Sammy didn't take that route and came up with something fun and original.

The first thing you'll notice when you start playing are the Hi-res sprites which bring this game to life. Many companies forget to incorporate modern technology to their titles (Capcom, I'm looking right at you and your ugly, pixilated sprites), thus hurting the game's flare. Fortunately, this is not the case with Sammy's new brawler. In addition to some sweet background and fluid animation, this shows just how well the Playstation 2 can handle the 2D side of things. The clean and ultra vibrant colors also add to the title's already slick style. Each character sprite is big and fluidly animated, thus rounding out this graphical power house.

The music is composed of some upbeat heavy metal - each background has it's own track to match the mood. While some people may find the heavy metal a welcome addition, others will be pushing the mute button. I personally thought the music went well with the game's already aggressive and fresh style. Not the best stuff in the world, but decent enough. The sound effects are equally solid, sporting all your bashing and slashing noises from other titles. My main gripe in the sound department is the announcer - I could never understand anything he said, all I could make out were a few queer grunts and growls, which is pathetic.

The story revolves around some all-powerful warriors called "Gears" - you have to stop these guys before they take over the world. The character you choose is the one that stops the powerful "Gears". Upon playing the Arcade mode, there are no cut-scenes, or anything to keep the story going. In the end, all you get is a measly picture. With little in the way of extras, this brings down the game's overall score.

In my opinion, GGX's greatest strength lies in the unique character designs. Each of the 16 characters are bursting with personality. Yeah, sure, they borrow a few pages from Capcom and SNK's franchises, mainly in the character fighting style (you've got your slow, big-hitting character, fast but nimble characters etc.), but overall Sammy has out done themselves in the character development.

The gameplay is about as traditional as 2D fighters go. We have our four attack buttons - hit X for a kick attack, Square to punch, Triangle for a slash attack, and Circle for a hard-hitting Heavy Slash attack. Now you're probably wondering what a "Slash" attack is, well, each fighter has his or her own special weapon, including swords, small blades, and even flags. When pressing Triangle or Circle, your character uses his or her weapon causing a bit of damage. The game also features every other thing any Capcom or SNK fighter has, including air combos, dash ins, and projectile attacks.

A major element to Guilty Gear's gameplay is the overdrive gauge, similar to that of Marvel Vs. Capcom 2's - the more damage you do, the more you gauge builds. With this gauge you can pull off a variety of special moves, and instant kills. This addition adds a little strategy to the mix, and could turn one-sided match upside down.

My major beef with the game are the button-masher friendly qualities. The blocking techniques are relatively useless and the game rewards you (by filling up your overdrive gauge) for your aggressive style. This throws almost every strategic element right out the window. Some of the fighter's moves can also be abused (like the air combos for instance) resulting in a cheap win. While these qualities are enjoyable for your average casual gamer, I'd much rather have more emphasis placed on defense and strategy.

All in all, anyone looking for a good 2D fighter for their Playstation 2 - look no further. Hardcore Capcom and SNK fans may be turned off by the games offensive gameplay. Personally, I'd recommend Capcom Vs. SNK 2 and Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 over this title any day. But if Street Fighter isn't your bag - check this gem out.

- - Grandlethal

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