It's been quite a long time since we got to experience a brand new Guilty Gear game and the fighting franchise is back with -Strive-.
Right off the bat, let me just say that Guilty Gear -Strive- is the best-looking fighting game ever made. From its gorgeously animated characters that look like a hybrid of 3D models and 2D anime to its super-detailed arenas; everything in Guilty Gear -Strive- is bursting with style, flashy effects, and jaw-dropping moments. I generally have difficulty concentrating so I found myself consistently getting distracted by what was happening in the background as I was fighting such as folks running around an airship or a crowd cheering us on from a riverboat. Darn, everything looks so good! And it sounds great, too, with plenty of rockin' tunes; many of which have vocals. The Japanese and English voice casts are also great but I wish the story premise wasn't repeated before every battle in certain modes as it gets annoying fast. But, that's a minor quibble considering the spectacle that Guilty Gear -Strive- offers.
Well, this is a fighting game review so I should really discuss the gameplay. Thankfully, it's as tight and satisfying as you would expect from an Arc System Works fighter which makes learning each character's move set all the more rewarding. Plus, I love the fact that there are many defensive options available such as dashing out of harm's way, blocking, countering, and performing some flashy cancelling manoeuvre. Once you get to grips with it, learn a bunch of special moves, and start kicking ass; it feels awesome!
Speaking about feeling awesome, Guilty Gear -Strive- features the ability to beat your opponents through the boundaries of the arena which makes you go to another area. It's similar to what you can do in Dead or Alive 2 which blew my mind back when it released.
Guilty Gear -Strive- includes some standard modes such as arcade, survival, and local multiplayer. There are also various training options such as missions that may be repetitive but I found them to really drill the mechanics into my head so I can't complain about that. I wish there were more offline modes although online multiplayer is where fighting games shine brightest so let's talk about that now.
The online system within Guilty Gear -Strive- is unlike anything I've seen before and it works brilliantly. Basically, as you fight online, your rank will increase and decrease which allows you to access various floors of the massive online lobby. The higher the floor; the more difficult your opponents will be. What a great way to always play against folks who are around your skill level! Oh, and if you're up for a challenge then you can attempt higher floors at any time. Anyway, as you wander the halls of the online lobby, you can customize your avatar's appearance which acts as a cute representation of yourself. I made mine a fat guy in a suit because there is no bear option.
Even though I loved my time with Guilty Gear -Strive- and plan on playing it much more, especially when the online multiplayer is more populated; it does have its downsides. For starters, there are only 15 characters to start which definitely isn't many. Will we ever get Guilty Gear Tag Tournament with 3 dozen or so characters? 🤔 Anyway, I also wish that the story mode was playable. I sincerely don't understand why Guilty Gear has to have a non-interactive story. Wouldn't it be so much better if you fought after each scene?
Guilty Gear -Strive- rocked my socks off with its gorgeous visuals, kick-ass music, and tight fighting gameplay. I can't wait until it releases so I can spend hours beating up all sorts of folks in its impressive online multiplayer mode.
- + Awesomely tight fighting gameplay with a cool new Wall Break mechanic
- + Absolutely stunning visuals
- + Online hub is very unique and fun
- - Could use additional modes like an actually playable story mode
- - Only 15 characters to start
- - Repetitive voiced lines