REVIEW: GUILTY GEAR XX

Guilty Gear XX is a fighting game by Arc System Works, and available for…well, just about everything, from the Playstation to the XBLA to the Wii. And that’s taking into account all the different versions. Guilty Gear X, Guilty Gear XX, Guilty Gear XXX wait…that might be something else entirely. But the version I was to review is for the PC on Steam; no Mac or Linux versions I’m afraid, but with the ridiculous number of versions I don’t doubt that you could find a version for the mac.

The game is set in a world after a war between humans and living weapons fueled by magic called Gears. Years later, a few powerful gears start cropping up throughout the series, and the tournaments of the game revolve around bounty hunters who compete for the price on their heads. The game has stories for each character, but they mainly follow a series of fights with banter connecting them, rather than a full character based story which is typical of the genre as a whole.

GG 1

Gameplay is fast paced, which reminds me of Street Fighter, but it lacks the impact or tight controls of that game, and I usually resort to button mashing, especially since there is no combo list. There a few special moves, but I find them hard to pull off for some reason, which is another issue that I didn’t have with Street Fighter. I don’t usually like comparing games to something better, since a game should stand on its own merits, but it is important to highlight how these aspects are done correctly. So it’s a fairly mediocre fighter right? WRONG! This game is saved in my eyes by the visuals.

The anime style characters are credited to Daisuke Ishiwatari and are awesome to look at. It’s one of those character designs that stick out, even amongst its peers, and hosts an impressive roster of creative characters, like a nun who uses a giant yo-yo, or a pirate girl who swings a giant anchor around which is brought into battle by her dolphin pet. So while I’m not a fan of the gameplay, I love the visual style, which extends to the detailed and animated backgrounds.

Not to mention it has a rocking soundtrack. If you’re not a fan of cheesy rock music it probably won’t be up your alley, but if you’re like me then you’ll be head banging throughout the entire game. If you are like me, then good news! The Steam version comes with a free copy of the soundtrack! I guarantee that this will be the soundtrack for my morning commute for the next few weeks. I even considered looking the OST up before finding out that I already had it, which doesn’t happen very often with me, with the most recent being Metal Gear Rising.

GG 2

There’s a few different game modes, like an arcade mode, survival mode, training mode etc. There’s also the M.O.M mode, which is pretty much a survival mode with medals earned through combos, but there’s much more to it besides an interesting score mechanic that isn’t in survival mode. There’s also a mission mode, with different objectives like beat an opponent with only special attacks. This mode however rewards you with gallery images; have I mentioned that I love the visual style of this game?

The only strange thing I noticed is that some of the characters had their names written in Kanji. The games audio is in the original Japanese, which is fine, but why is it only a few characters that have Kanji names? Not a real issue, but it is odd to say the least.

It’s not a strong fighter; the controls lack a feeling of impact, the special moves feel awkward to pull off and it descends into button mashing, a tactic I’ll usually avoid in favor of combos, but makes up for its short comings in gameplay with it’s awesome visual design and kick ass soundtrack, which is included with the steam version of the game.

Rating: 7/10

+ Great visuals

+ Awesome soundtrack

+ Face paced and addictive gameplay

– Controls feel unrefined

– MOM feels redundant next to regular survival mode

 

MATT HANCOX

 

 

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