Two long years. It’s been two long years since Guilty Gear Strive’s original announcement at EVO 2019. Since then, news and player experiences have dramatically shaped this game, such as the outcry for rollback netcode, open betas, and game balance. It just goes to show that people seem to care a lot about this upcoming venture from Arc System Works.
Since then, it’s been a long time coming. We’re finally able to play the full version of Guilty Gear Strive. So, how does the final, finished build play? Does it have any major shortcomings? Let’s talk about our Guilty Gear Strive review and figure that out.
The Offline Modes
Playing offline -from what I could find during the Guilty Gear Strive review process- brings you various modes that focus on the actual fighting itself more than anything. You have access to staples such as Arcade Mode (you fight against the CPU for several matches until you get a character’s ending); Local Versus (you can play against a friend sitting right next to you or the AI); and Training Mode (play alone and practice various combos, setups, etc.).
A lot of the game’s bulk is contained in the Mission Mode. While very much geared towards newer players, it gives you info in very clear and concise ways. It breaks down the game’s mechanics in a very detailed fashion, and covers general basics (such as super jumping, air dashing, and whiff punishing). A few of the later missions even talk about matchup tips, such as dealing with certain characters’ attacks. One of the biggest mechanical changes is one I personally liked a lot, being…
Guilty Gear Strive’s Roman Cancels
Roman Cancels are a system mechanic that’s had features added to it between Guilty Gear entries. For instance, in Accent Core, it was merely an animation cancel for half of your meter. However, in Xrd, it had a slowdown effect added to it. How’s it handled in Guilty Gear Strive?
Well, you have access to four versions, for starters. Red Roman Cancels have a hitbox on them, and happen when you activate it mid-combo; Blue Roman Cancels are used in neutral more than anything, as it slows down your opponent’s movement for a second; Purple Roman Cancels behave similarly to Accent Core’s RCs, but trigger when your opponent is not in hitstun or blockstun; Finally, Yellow Roman Cancels are only activated while you’re blocking, and can poke an opponent out of their block string, akin to V-Reversals from Street Fighter V.
The presence of four versions gives the player loads of tools to work with in neutral, all for the cost of half of your meter.
Fishing and Items
Coming from previous titles like Guilty Gear Xrd and Dragon Ball FighterZ, Fishing is a mode that allows you to spend your World Dollars (abbreviated W$) to fish for various items. You can get items such as gallery pieces, cosmetics for your lobby avatar, and digital figurines. It’s all more for stylistic things.
Another thing you can get from fishing is music from earlier games in the series. To my knowledge, all of the previous main series games are included in that rotation, as I’ve managed to obtain songs like Ride The Fire, which is Sol’s Dragon Install theme from Xrd. I haven’t obtained everything yet, but I’m curious to see if character colors will be obtainable here in a future update.
The Extensive Training Mode of Guilty Gear Strive
Training Mode feels like it’s better suited for the more seasoned players of the game. On a surface level, it seems pretty barebones; you can hit the dummy, set it to be a CPU, or connect a controller to have another player take control of player two. Seems simple enough.
What makes it very extensive is the sheer amount of control you have over the dummy, even when playing alone. Going into the training settings, you can set tons of different features, such as immediately guarding after the first hit, setting all hits to be considered counterattacks, and even some more minute details like having Nagoriyuki’s Blood Rage state (a state where he loses access to special moves but everything else does more damage) be always active.
You can also record the dummy to take specific actions and replay them at the touch of a button. Using recording slots also has multiple save states which can be swapped through at any time. For instance, you can work on anti-airs from different angles by setting various recorded states to do super jumps, air dashes, dashing, and jumping. Training mode has lots of good tools for getting better at the game, almost as well as the Mission Mode.
While what’s here is definitely good, one might have a lingering feeling of, “There isn’t much content here as a fighting game outside of the essentials.” And to be honest, that’s completely fine. What’s here is a potentially very deep and very fleshed-out fighting game that focuses mainly on the fighting and not so much a mountain of content and side missions, per se.
I can liken it to the game Mortal Kombat Trilogy in that regard. For those not aware, MK Trilogy is a fighting game that has much of the same lack of content that this game has, being its fighting and almost nothing else. However, behind that shallow content pool is a rather deep and mechanically sound fighting game that made up for it.
The difference between the two is that at that time, in the 1990s, pushing out updates for a game was significantly harder. Nowadays, it’s easier to do so, and I have faith that the game will absolutely be better with a little more time and a few more updates under the hood.
Guilty Gear Strive is available now on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and PC via Steam.
What did you think about our Guilty Gear Strive review? Did you like the game? Do you plan to play it often? Who did you like playing the most? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.