The maestros of the fighting genre are at it again.
With so many great games coming out in 2021 and life only starting to slowly returning to normal for much of the world, it should be no surprise that many are still turning the video game industry as a way to not only pass the time but communicate with others in a safe way. gaming has seen one of its largest influxes of new participants ever since the pandemic began, and the trend is still going up to this day. So it would follow that lots of games that allow people to interact with each other – either cooperatively or competitively – are attracting a lot of attention in excess of what they normally would. And of course, you’ll always have your MMO’s and online shooters that will benefit from this, but fighting games are going to be benefiting in particular to this dynamic in our society. However, there’s a little bit of a void in that genre right now at least in terms of new releases.
We’re in-between games from NetherRealm right now and the indie space isn’t exactly setting the fighting genre on fire with anything at the moment, so that leaves us with Arc System Works’ Long-running Guilty Gear franchise to keep fighting game fans satiated for at least a large chunk of 2021. The newest addition in this classic fighting series is called Guilty Gear Strive and it’s currently aiming for a release in early June which should please fans of fighting games across the world, as it’s really shaping up to be one of the finer examples of the series with a handful of new tricks up its long kimono sleeves to keep old fans of the series interested and potentially bring in some new folks who are just looking for a way to jump into some good online competitive action during a time when normal physical contact isn’t as carefree and convenient as we would like it to be.
Thankfully the folks over at ARC system works have adopted a good idea on how to get fan feedback on the game before its official release that we’ve seen other Studios do in recent years by releasing a closed beta for those who pre-order the game and then opening it up shortly after to everyone to gauge players’ reactions on various elements. The beta features 13 of the games available characters to try out which is a good chunk of the full roster that we can expect from its ultimate release, and thus, a pretty good taste of what we can expect from the game. so far feedback from the beta has been rather favorable. the combat is just as fast and clean and Furious as it’s ever been with each character having a slew of satisfying moves for multiple situations yet the characters still handily setting themselves apart from one another in such a way that only an arc system works game could achieve. The graphics are also shaping up nicely with that 2D style that the series is known for still in play but also with that 3D flare thrown in for certain moments that give them emphasis and impact that the otherwise might not quite have.
The proximity normals of different moves are also implemented to a great degree here with every character having different moves depending on how close you are to your opponent. the moves are closely related to each other of course but they’re modified to match the situation in a way that can bring a lot of depth to the experience of this Guilty Gear game that perhaps older ones didn’t quite have. On top of that Guilty Gear Strive will continue to use a staple in the franchise with what’s called Roman cancels where you can do a projectile special move and cancel out of the animation after the attack has left you and is heading for your opponent freeing you up the drive towards them with other mid-range or close range attacks creating a lot of pressure and holding onto your upper hand in a match. this can definitely lead to some rage quits for your opponents, especially if they’re not very experienced with the game as it can make the fight seem insurmountable, but the long term benefit of that is it weeds out the casuals, eventually leaving a core audience of pure fighting game fanatics.
But if you find the right type of person to play with, they might see it as it’s intended; a reason to practice and get better at their playing. So this might lead to some frustration for some folks but that’s part of what sets Guilty Gear apart from so many other fighting games. this is a series that is totally reliant on your own skill of any character and their moveset. Guilty Gear has never been particularly interested in holding anybody’s hand or creating lots of moments for people to slip out of getting pounded by somebody that’s clearly better than them. If you’re not as good as the person you’re fighting against you or almost certainly going to lose to them, and that sort of fighting game Purity is part of what makes Guilty Gear so great.
However, Guilty Gear does have a solid counter hit system that’s looking to be better than ever in their newest game, that can reward the player for mastering them by making counter versions of any move more damaging to their opponent than a regular hit would have been. the difference is often marginal but in a tight match it could make all the difference. And of course, the heavier a counter-attack is, the more damage it will deal to your opponent and the bigger of a reward it is for you for being able to pull it off. Guilty Gear Strive also throws in some nice touches that make sense like rewarding you for bashing somebody up against the wall enough times and just generally letting good players be good and encouraging bad ones to get better.
The game isn’t just recycling old characters from previous games though. Guilty Gear Strive will of course see the return of many fan favorites, but it’s also bringing on some new characters as well most notably, Nagoriyuki the samurai vampire that definitely appears to be mixing things up in an interesting way. He’s a bigger character but also still plenty fast, and can be quite deadly with his light and heavy slashes if given the opportunity to do so.
Guilty Gear Strive is if nothing else if not a solid fighting game that mixes things up for the series just enough to Warrant a purchase for fans of the previous several games. But given that it’s adding in some new moves and polishing up its visual presentation even more, and even bringing in some new faces, it could very easily be much more than that. In fact, with the lack of new fighting games coming out this year it could very well be the premier fighting game of the year and end up being a much bigger success for the franchise than any other game that the series has seen so far. Of course, we’ll need to wait and see on that for sure until we’re able to get our hands on it and do a proper review, but it definitely has the deck stacked in its favor according to what we know so far.
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