Guilty Gear Strive is a fighting video game developed by Arc System Works and the 6th main installment of the Guilty Gear series.
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The online is great but the combo routes are so fuckin narrow, the lobbies and menus make it so you have to navigate for an ungodly amount of time before you even get to experience the flawless online, idk man I have extremely mixed feelings. The game gives you such and in depth breakdown of the plethora of mechanics but HAS NO TRIALS OR SAMPLE COMBOS WHAT THE FUCK
I really really like the fighting part of this game.
It's shockingly still fast and has enough of the anime fighting game bullshit everyone plays Guilty Gear for, and it removes a lot of the knowledge barriers too! This was my main issue with +R. I do not want to learn character specific combos and wake up timings. I want to play the weird Guilty Gear pressure and neutral! I find that stuff just delays the actually really fun part of fighting games for me, learning to use my tools effectively and have a “conversation” through gameplay with my opponent. Luckily Strive pushes you right there, the only added hurdle from the old games being the way gatling works.
To quickly cover this, in the old games, you can cancel your Punch into Kick into Slash into Heavy Slash, and maybe Dust? I don’t remember if it cancels into that one to be honest. Either way, it is going from lightest to heaviest.
This game is more restrictive. Punch goes into itself, Kick goes into Dust moves, particularly sweep. Close Slash goes into Far Slash and both Slashes go into Heavy Slash. Punch, Kick, Slash, Heavy Slash goes into most command normals. Those all go into specials.
This changes a lot of things. Punch is now just a tool to get you out of pressure and reset to neutral… but most punches are just as fast as Kicks. Very rarely would you want to use a punch over a kick in this game, as punch can only go into… another punch? With kick, you can get a whole knock down after using 2D, allowing you to start some pressure and get an advantage.
Another thing, while the game is meant to be more simple than the older titles, and for the most part it does succeed, this complicates combos a lot!
Basically in the old games you can start anywhere in the P>K>S>H chain and just work your way up, now that it’s more restrictive and weird, you need to learn more combos to be competent. For beginners, just being able to get something off of the Punch button is nice! Even if it’s just P>K>S>H itself.
Really this old system's only negative is that it leads to longer combos, meaning more down time for the player being attacked. While this can kind of be a good thing with the Burst system, I think for new players they will get much more annoyance out of being in a long combo than being introduced to more basically one use options to get out of said combo. However, pulling off said combo is really fun and rewarding! Allowing for an easy universal combo of P>K>S>H is nice because it’s easy to learn and it feels good, despite it not actually being good.
The way this gets balanced is that the weaker the button you start with, the weaker the entire combo is. Obviously this gets really poor damage output so in the long run, it is better to learn a combo for each button press in each situation.
Maybe the goal was to stop that red herring earlier? Forcing players to learn their options sooner? Getting to the real meat of the game faster? Not sure. I don’t know how successful it is either.
Either way, mostly everything else is simplified, or expanded upon in simple ways, compared to the older games. Character movesets, meter mechanics, the wall system, combos being generally easier to perform. All that stuff. It got me to the meat of the game, understanding what to do in neutral and pressure, really quickly. And that’s what I like most about this game.
On day three I got farther than I have in confidence and (I think) understanding in any fighting game. This game pushed me there really fast and I really like that!
Outside of some balance issues, the game is a really nice if janky foundation to a great fighting game. It will definitely be better by Season 2 or 3, by then the game will be nice, polished and balanced, all the good stuff.
I would highly recommend it now, even!
...If it wasn’t for the online being entirely non functional.
The IN GAME online is fantastic, but actually getting to that point is a nightmare. Constantly booting me to the main menu, not wanting to start matches, visual design getting in the way of functionality and just general annoyances everywhere. It’s awful. I don’t know if I can imagine a worse lobby system. Well, I guess I can but I can’t imagine one being in a modern real life video game.
I just want to play with my friends but it took like an hour to figure out that the private search system just doesn’t work and we ALSO need every setting to be the same to find each other. What the hell. Can’t invite through steam so that wont work.
Actually removing two stars for that, I love this game but holy shit please wait until it’s fixed. I will rewrite this review around when that happens, because I really like the game but I can’t help but complain after almost 50 hours of gameplay I feel like only 45% of the matches I attempted to play worked and I’m sick of it now :(