A Great Foundation in A Competitive Genre
The first Guilty Gear game came out for the PSOne in the middle of an era that had a load of fighting games being released left and right. In a time of difficult decisions, where some of them were moving to a 3D graphical style, instead of the 2D from the previous generation. Guilty Gears stands apart from the pack with its extremely good character personality and diversity, being the first successful game made by Arc System Works, who nowadays are known for their amazing 2D style and design.
I had a difficult time getting into fighting games, especially at this era, when there are so many of them out there and I’ve never felt I was good in any of them. A bunch of my friends loved games like Street Fighter, I always knew it was great, but I couldn’t become decent at it to enjoy the experience that much. I love how Guilty Gear, besides being gorgeous and stylish, does a good job of helping you get into these types of games. Despite being one of the fastest fighting games, it has ten of the most distinct and unique characters a fighting game of that time could have. Where you can find one that fits your taste and style, as well as showing you during the load screen before the matches, some of the moves that you can perform with them. Again, at that time, it wasn’t as common. They keep the moves in a very basic level also, I would say, a lot of simple quarter-circle or half-circle followed by one button. Despite being the main reason I got frustrated on the first play with the genre – not being good at performing things like double quarter-circle – Guilty Gear made want to keep trying the game, sometimes changing the character to see if it felt better.
It’s probably the only fighting game that I could play any of its ten characters with no problem, I think all of them have something to offer and can be fun to use. Even Potemkin, which is the huge, slow and hard-hitting guy of the game, never in my life I could enjoy playing with any of those types of characters. I always was much more of a speed guy. And speaking about speed, as I said before, Guilty Gear is a really fast game, it has some extremely fast characters, giving it even more of a bust on the good looking department. All the special effects look good, when two characters do a parry – both hit each other at the same time – some lighting effects come out of it. It’s pretty cool looking. I think all of the characters have a pretty good movement, at least for their style, and the game also has a double jump, which increases the sealing for some outplays here and there.
The game has the three traditional modes of old fighting games: Arcade, Versus, and Training. The Arcade Mode has a little bit of story in it, for each character, you’re presented with a text between each match, and at the end, it shows how the character is going on with its life after finishing the adventure, with some cool images. My favorite character is probably Millia, both to use her in combat, as well as her final scene. When I tried her for the first time, I’ve beaten the game without losing a round, which is just impossible to happen for a guy like me in these types of games.
Guilty Gear has – easily – one of the best soundtracks of any fighting game series out there, and it starts with a bang already. It’s so cool, give it a try if you like the style of music. One of the systems that you will find is a charging ability, you can perform a move, like quarter-circle + R1, and your character starts charging, going from level 1 to 3, if you’re not interrupted – it’s pretty fast – then your next moved will be improved based on what level you managed to get, 2 is already a good bust, and 3 makes it the best possible. You also have the traditional special bar to use, that you can fill by hitting the enemy or taking hits.
But, like every game, it’s not perfect. One of the things that I don’t like about fighting games is the difficulty spikes that they have, I know it’s a really hard job to make a computer fight you in a completely fair and realistic type of way, but a lot of fighting games make the last parts of Arcade Mode be a complete pain in the ass. Guilty Gear does the traditional, each level the CPU starts to respond faster and defend more. So you keep hoping to get the more annoying characters at the beginning of your playthrough so you don’t have to suffer later. If a character like Zato, gets to be the final traditional character of the nine, he can sometimes just spam a very annoying ability that can zone you from the ground, even though he’s not the hardest, it’s just bothersome. Characters like Sol and Millia become completely bonkers if you get them at the end as well. And yes, Guilty Gear has final bosses, like most fighting games, after you defeat all the playable characters you have two more battles against new characters. And my god! That last boss is a pain in the ass. Sometimes I’ve beaten him without much problem, but if the CPU decides that you’ll not win, you’ll simply not win. It’s that type of “if it really wanted, it could just demolish me, I’m glad the CPU let me win sometimes”. It’s a type of Digimon in its last evolution with a cannon special that even if you block it demolishes your life.
It also has one of the worst ideas – in my opinion – I’ve seen in a fighting game, that’s an instant kill move, that it’s like a super-duper special move, and if the enemy doesn’t defend, the match is over, you not just die instantly, but it counts for all the rounds as well. It’s pretty stupid to be honest, despite being highly possible to defend. But all and all, the game is really great, I’m not a fighting game expert or even a fighting game lover, and this game simply kept me engage through hours and hours of play through, trying to test every single part of it, and having a great time. Outside of the small problems mentioned, and sometimes having some issues when it looked like my character wasn’t turning fast enough when the enemy goes across me. I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed Guilty Gear, and it set the stage of success for anime fighters to come.