Guilty Gear Strive – PS5

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A brand-new game in the Guilty Gear series, dedicated to all fighting game fans and all players. Featuring 3D visuals that could be mistaken for hand-drawn anime (2.5D), achieved by high quality animation technique of the highly praised Guilty Gear Xrd series. The series’ charismatic characters have been completely renewed and many new characters join the cast. The gameplay ha…
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Awards

Value For Money

Rating

  • Graphics
  • Multiplayer
  • Story (Career Mode)
  • Originality

You Might Like

  • Outstanding graphics
  • Crunchy and responsive controls
  • Well-balanced and robust online components
  • To buy an arcade stick

Might Not Like

  • Mind-boggling story mode
  • The soundtrack can become irritating
  • The realisation that you’ll never be good enough for rank 10
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Description

A brand-new game in the Guilty Gear series, dedicated to all fighting game fans and all players.
Featuring 3D visuals that could be mistaken for hand-drawn anime (2.5D), achieved by high quality animation technique of the highly praised Guilty Gear Xrd series.

The series' charismatic characters have been completely renewed and many new characters join the cast. The gameplay has been reworked from previous games. It remains an easy-to-understand system while it is still really deep when you want to master it.

It also features numerous rock songs composed by Daisuke Ishiwatari, and a story mode longer than a movie, designed not only for Guilty Gear fans, but also anime fans.

Features:
• Charismatic Characters: The designs of existing characters have been completely reworked. Also featuring new characters.
• Easy to understand, deeper fighting system than ever.
• BGM and vocal songs by Daisuke Ishiwatari, making for breath-taking battles. Most songs are completely new.
• Comfortable online play with "rollback netcode" (this is the best way to play a fighting game online without having lag between two players because it simulates a local versus by correcting inputs errors without players noticing it).
• A lot of Different Play Modes: Featuring a story mode longer than a movie.

guilty gear strive feature

Guilty Gear Strive, the latest instalment in Arc System Works long-running series, is easier to get into for newcomers. But is it still a knockout for veterans?

Round One!

Let’s start by saying Guilty Gear Strive is fantastic. Every part of it oozes style, from character design to combat mechanics, sound design to graphics. It’s stylish but has an incredible amount of depth and substance to keep you coming back for more. I’ve struggled with previous entries that require insane amounts of skill and a touch of psychic ability to master. But Guilty Gear Strive eases players in gently with a generous amount of tutorials and missions that teach all of the titles’ intricacies.

Each of the 15 fighters are well balanced and offer unique playstyles to suit every type of player. Not only that, but every member of the roster looks incredibly unique with skillsets to match (no recycled fireball animations here!).

guilty gear strive battle

Let’s Rock!

Arc System Works has done a great job of trying to satisfy both casual and hardcore players. Guilty Gear Strive feels slower than its predecessors, giving you time to react to your opponent with the perfect counter. And you will counter a lot in this game. I’ve had matches where I had a move countered, but managed to counter the counter, only to have that countered too. You’ll also have the announcer shout “counter” every time while the word “COUNTER” fills the screen. It sounds odd, but it really gets you going.

Strive is somewhat less reliant on combos than previous entries, but they are still there and feel great to pull off. Each character also has a few special moves up their sleeves/robotic arms/floating sword guns. These are executed using standard fighting game motions (quarter circles and that weird zig-zag think for Ryu’s uppercut). The Gatling combo system is gone, so there are no more chaining attacks from weakest to strongest. Because of this, the need to bang out excessively long combo’s to do any sort of damage are gone. Instead shorter combo’s do the job and require far less button memorisation.

Strive for Success!

Higher skilled players and veterans will still have an advantage but, once again, Arc System Works, are there to lend a helping hand. As with previous titles (and most fighting games) you can simply corner your opponent and pummel them. To combat this Guilty Gear Strive has a “wall break” mechanic. If you get cornered you’ll take a certain amount of hits before smashing through the invisible wall. You’ll then land on a different part of the arena and find yourself handily back in centre stage. It’s a great feature and has saved me on several occasions.

Although Strive has a slower pace, matches can be over extremely quickly. In online mode, I’ve had rounds finish in a matter of seconds. Strive actively discourages defensive play. It wants players to charge at each other, butting heads like a couple of highly stylised, well-dressed anime goats.

Guilty Gear Strive also looks fantastic, it’s like playing an anime. Characters and arenas are packed with detail and action. The rock soundtrack hits you constantly. Some of the lyrics are nonsensical, I’m not sure if it’s intentional or if something has been missed in translation. Either way, it somehow works and fits right in with the “anything goes” universe that Guilty Gear has created.

guilty gear strive magic moves

Counter!

Speaking of the Guilty Gear universe, the lore and history is insane and spans nearly 300 years. Strive includes timelines, character relationship charts, a glossary and an index for players to get lost in (and you will get lost in them, willingly or not). I dipped in before hitting story mode so I had a vague idea of what was going on but came out more confused than ever. Story mode isn’t really a mode either, it’s a non-interactive movie split into nine chapters, each spanning between 30 and 45 minutes.

It looks great, but it’s confusing and contains far more talking than fighting than I expected. I also found myself pausing the “movie” and hitting the glossary when someone mentioned an event or character like I was supposed to know what it was. It’s great to be able to look these things up in-game but ultimately the story “mode” is there mainly for the veterans.

Other modes include The Dojo, which has plenty of training missions to take part in. Each one teaches newcomers new techniques that they must carry out 3/5 times in order to progress. It might seem like a good idea to jump in and start learning, but frankly, by lesson 53 I had forgotten what I had been told in lessons 20-30. I love having such an in-depth and thorough tutorial, but it’s not a good idea to binge it.

guilty gear strive character close-up

Choose Your Mode!

There’s also a standard arcade mode, which sees you choosing a character and going on a bare-bones story to fight seven opponents. But it wouldn’t be Guilty Gear if they didn’t throw something into the mix. Arcade mode rewards you with increasingly difficult opponents every time you defeat one without losing around. This all culminates in facing the hardest version of the end boss (I’m yet to defeat him). There’s also a good old survival mode where players test how many opponents they can defeat with their health carrying on from match to match.

As with most fighting games, online mode is where most of the action takes place. Guilty Gear Strive uses “rollback netcode” ­(magic) to keep the action flowing even when one player has a bad connection. The lobby is a literal room where players walk around using custom 2D pixelated avatars. It looks fun and there are several rooms to visit. There’s a movie theatre to watch replays of matches, a wardrobe to changes clothes in and you can even go fishing. This involves spending currency you earn in matches to unlock concept art, character art, music and new clothing for your avatar. As you win matches you’ll move up a ten-floor tower so you’re better matched with people of your skill level. You can challenge people above you but never below.

It’s a great feature that stops high ranking players from whaling on newbies. However, if you’re a glutton for punishment, you can visit The Park. Another 2D lobby, but one populated by people of all skill ratings, win or losing here does not affect your overall rank and is a great place to get beaten up. Especially as even losing to a top-rank player nets you a whole bunch of experience points.

A New Challenger Appears!

Guilty Gear Strive has 15 characters to chose from. As trailers indicated before the titles’ release, this is the initial line-up. A Season One DLC is already available. This will add 5 new characters, some arenas and new story content over the course of the year. That said, the DLC is not vital to enjoy the game. The 15 strong roster has a great amount of diversity and there’s a character to suit everyone. Personally, I use one of the two newcomers to the series – Giovanna – an American Secret Service agent with a wolf spirit that grants her powers… obviously. She’s a Rushdown character, meaning she has short-range attacks and the most aggressive you play the stronger she becomes, literally.

Every character has an Overdrive metre that builds as you fight. Eventually building up enough allows you to unleash a gorgeous looking special attack. Giovanna has two Overdrive moves like everyone else, but if you choose to keep the Overdrive bar full she’ll be granted extra damage and resistance. The downside is her short-range, normally this would mean someone spamming fireballs has the advantage, but not here, not in Guilty Gear. Giovanna has a great move that allows her to lunge forward in a spin kick that actually goes through projectiles negating the damage. It’s touches like this that make Guilty Gear Strive stand out from the crowd.

guilty gear strive counter!

Final Round!

Growing up I loved fighting games. Super Street Fighter on the SNES was a mainstay, as was Tekken 3 on PlayStation. But as the years, and consoles, have gone by I’ve drifted apart from them. I played Mortal Kombat X and Mortal Kombat XI for the outstanding story modes. But online matches have never grabbed me. Guilty Gear Strive has changed that, it’s brought the child out in me and recaptured everything I love about the competitive side of fighting games. It rewards aggressive play, it punishes players who spam the same move over and over. It’s well balanced and the room ranking system works great, once I hit floor six I’ve never had a one-sided match, they’re all nerve-wracking, down-to-the-wire brawls with counter after counter. It’s fast, beautiful and exhilarating and, for the first time since Super Street Fighter, I really want an arcade stick again.

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Graphics
  • Multiplayer
  • Story (Career Mode)
  • Originality

You might like

  • Outstanding graphics
  • Crunchy and responsive controls
  • Well-balanced and robust online components
  • To buy an arcade stick

Might not like

  • Mind-boggling story mode
  • The soundtrack can become irritating
  • The realisation that youll never be good enough for rank 10