NCG Review – Guilty Gear -Strive- (PS4, PS5, and PC)

Title: Guilty Gear™ -Strive-
Release: June 11, 2021 (Deluxe and Ultimate Editions on June 8, 2021)*
Developer: Arc System Works
Publisher: Arc System Works
Genre: Fighting
Platforms: PlayStation®4, PlayStation®5, Steam® (PC)

Discover the Smell of the Game

Guilty Gear is a series known for its in depth combo system, unique heavy metal themed characters, and all around fast-pace game play. Two years after the last installment, Guilty Gear -Strive– was announced to the world and is introducing a slower-paced game play for new players to join the battle. Arc System Works showed off a trailer that stunned the Fighting Game Community back in Summer 2019 teasing the new addition to the series and fans were excited to get their hands on a new Guilty Gear title as the last game was fading out. Now, after two years, two open betas and a few delays –Strive– is finally here!

Presentation/ Visuals

Arc System Works is GODLIKE when it comes to pulling off unique visuals, simple menus, and an all around amazing presentation in the fighting game genre. Arc System work does not disappoint with Guilty Gear -Strive-. It’s simple and easy to navigate menus and lobbies in the immersive menus.

The graphics during game play are also stunning. In Battle, although there is so much going on with the character animation and battleground, it does not feel chaotic while playing a match. Despite the particle effects as well as the moving camera angles, the game looks amazing. In addition, the story mode looks like you are watching an anime with smooth frames and animation. All in all, the visuals are stunning from beginning to “EDGE”!

Story

The story of Guilty Gear -Strive- is just as incredible as the previous titles. Join Sol Badguy and the 15 unique characters to finish the story that was 20 years in the making with stunning graphics and English dubbed cut scenes. Or, in Japanese with subs if that’s more your style.

A few new characters are introduced and we have a final confrontation with The Man, the mastermind responsible for the destruction of the world. From start to finish, players will find themselves jumping into over 4 hours of straight cut scenes with no game play, and will instead be presented with a deep and unique story that will have players wanting more. The story is the usual Guilty Gear anime style plot line and doesn’t fall flat, the game also explains the plot and characters in the main menu under the GG World section, so if new players need to know what is going on . I really enjoyed the unique personalities of each character as the story progressed, and the dubbing was actually not that bad. Players will definitely enjoy the story and the -Strive-.

Audio

The OST is very different this time around. Instead of amazing metal instrumentals iconic to the Guilty Gear series, they’ve added vocal tracks to each characters theme. The tracks are not bad but they are very distracting when playing each match. I feel it lacks the creative “oomph” of previous OSTs, detracts from overall feel of the game, and deters from the heavy metal foundation Guilty Gear is known for. To an extent it does match the current title, but it’s not something I want to keep playing in the background or rock out to on car rides. The plus side? You have the ability to unlock tracks from past titles.

The audio of the story line, however, works well for the game. Both English and Japanese options are available and the dub fits each character and the overall feel of the game.

Gameplay

Ok, now to read about what really matters for the game: the mechanics and how good it feels. First, the game play is a lot slower than any Guilty Gear title that has come before it. This is both good and bad depending on how the development goes through the lifespan of the game.

Game play has taken a step backwards in order for the game to be more accessible to new players. Removing air combos and long combos altogether, the game wants players to learn how to do player match ups and to learn all of the simple mechanics to progress and get better at the game. One of the main mechanics of the game that will take new players to get use to is the Roman cancels, There are four types of Roman cancels: all are set for defensive, offensive, and recovery. The best way to learn these would be to do the mission modes where the game shows you how to do each one and when it will work best. The Roman Cancel is one of the main ways to make combos and, with the slower game play, make the player strategize how and when to use them to make combos work or to get out of sticky situations.

The next difference from other Guilty Gear titles is that the air dashes, that made older games so fast paced, does not exist in this game. The mechanic has changed to focus on neutral (players being in the state of no attack) game play. This makes the game feel more like Street Fighter but with a small twist. The game play is addicting and fun but it is missing the fast pace dodging and blocking that made Guilty Gear stand out compared to other titles.

What I can say is that the game is unique and I feel like the Fighting Game Community will make this game become more unique, as the developer intended. Both new and old players of the series will enjoy the accessibility of the game play.

Verdict

-Strive- is not what I expected, and after beta testing to where the game is at now, I can say I can accept the game of Guilty Gear -Strive- for what it is and I can see both fighting game players and causal players enjoy where the series is at. I give Guilty Gear -Strive- a 9 out of 10. The game is fun, addicting, the presentation is amazing, and the soundtrack is what a fan would want.

Be sure to pick up the title for PS4,PS5 or PC.

Review copy was provided from Arc System Work, and was written by two NCG Staff Members

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