I was stoked that had actually get to try the Guilty Gear Strive beta these past 3 days. As a fighting game fan myself, Guilty Gear has been one the most interesting fighting game has ever existed.
The series has definitely come a long way and has been a staple name on the 2D fighting scene. If you are into fighting games themselves, the name will definitely be a familiar ring to you.
What’s In The Beta?
The Guilty Gear Strive beta lasted for 3 days and I was surprised that Arcsys added a plethora of modes for testers to try out.
The most surprising of all is the addition of the training mode which is always omitted from any fighting game betas. On top of the training mode, it gives access to Versus Mode, Tutorial Mode, and the Network Mode.
The other surprising thing they did for the beta is the length of the access of the beta. I was given the time of 3 days straight from the 12th of February to 11 am on the 14th of February. By track record, most fighting game betas always have a set specific time for access but this was a really surprising change for me.
Everyone’s Back! (and then some)
All of the characters that were shown prior to the beta are all included with the exception of Anji Moto and the 15th unannounced character. Most characters from the previous entries are back in such as staple ones like Ky, Sol, Millia, Axl, and Potemkin just to name a few. The beta also gives access to two new characters in the series, Nagoriyuki, and Giovanna.
Both new characters are good in both of their own mechanics as well as looks. Giovanna personally will look the most normal looking out of the odd bunch.
Aside from Potemkin, Giovanna is the other closed combat character. She uses her wolf spirit, Rei in conjunction with most of her attacks. She can be considered as a rush down character that utilizes her acrobatic skills and speed.
The other character, Nagoriyuki is described as a noble vampire samurai that wields a bloodsucking katana. In comparison to Giovanna, his speed is slow that can due to his big frame size or his fighting style.
Nago does not have a running animation, he only does a short dash when you double-tap the front directional button. While his speed is slow, he makes up for it in terms of sheer power in damage.
He is also one of the characters that sports with his own bar that as it fills up, he will enter into a berserk state which increases his range and attack power.
Amazing Visual Fidelity
Right off the bat, the visuals of the game are stunning. Guilty Gear Xrd already looked beautiful but Strive really took it to the next level. The anime-Esque looks even more refined and clean here.
It is actually stated by the game creator Daisuke Ishiwatari that Strive will not be re-using models from Xrd and rather will be recreated from the ground up to take advantage of the new camera system.
While most of the time I felt rather clueless or overwhelmed by the core mechanics of the game, I am still jaw-dropped by the visual and lighting of the game even when I am getting my ass whopped by the CPU.
Everything here from the background and the characters themselves has so much volume shouting out. While we have seen this kind of style in Dragonball Fighter Z, It is still absolute awe to look at. Taking screenshots has never been this fun.
Guilty Gear has a rep for being really hard to play. It is one of the reasons why many tend to avoid it despite how good looking it is. That seemed to have change albeit by slight here in Strive.
It is still not an easy game to get into however the developer did say they are trying to make the game as accessible as possible without losing its known deep mechanics.
From my hours on the training mode, I can say it does seem a little less stressful to play. One thing I noticed is that the change in relying more on pulling out decent combos rather than rely heavily on technical mechanics such as combo cancelling.
That is due to the amount of damage a normal combo can do which negates the reason for using it. Combo cancelling or Roman Cancel that is better known for is still in the game. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to pull it off very well hence I can’t add much to it.
Also, Arcsys seems to have put a lot of effort into giving many clear explanations on moves, it’s properties as well as each character’s personal mechanics very well. They really are not leaving any areas unexplained. Even the command list option even shows what each move can do as well as a small video to show how it looks.
Nonetheless, it is still a Guilty Gear game no matter what is changed, removed, or added. You will still need to really get into the mechanics, understanding your favourite character’s movements and specific mechanics to even get half of the true fun of the game.
Interesting Online Lobby
Fighting games of this era have always come up with creative ways to make online lobby matchmaking. You would be given an avatar and you have to walk around looking for opponents. Gone are the days where it is just a simple boring matchmaking menu.
In Strive, this time Arcsys utilizes low-poly style avatar characters for you to navigate around floors to look or invite players to have matches with you.
Nonetheless, this is the only part I could not put my views on as I haven’t been able to get onto matches. I would either kept on getting disconnected through matchmaking or there are simply no players on the floor I am at. This is very unfortunate which I have to personally apologize for the lack my feedback on this.
This is a hard one because overall I really like how the game is shaping up to be. I guess the only thing I didn’t really enjoy was the inability for me to join the online matches. That itself can be on the net code of the game and can be even my side of the connection.
GG Strive is indeed shaping up well and I definitely can’t wait to see what more characters will be added to the roster. The only big question right now is, will I be investing a lot of my time here when there more new games coming in. Only time will tell.