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
A triumphant evolution of the series. Easier to play and more strategic than Xrd. Arc Systems' trademark cell shaded graphics are noticeably improved and take the crown for this visual style.
When playing online, the lobbies are a bizarre and unpleasant side scrolling environment where players move their avatars around. It ruins one of the nice things about the previous Guilty Gear game, which had a similar concept with much better execution. However, once you are in a match the net code is impeccable. The quality of these one-on-one connections is better than almost anything else out there and make up for any other online deficiencies. Skip the strange lobbies and wait for a quick match in training mode.
It's not as good as AC+R. I don't think it's particularly close, even. The lobbies barely work, the combat system is a bit too simplified, the wallbreak system is dumb, and frankly, there isnt that much do actually do in the game.
But it is very, very fun. When you actually get the game going, all the little niggles and issues strive has get washed out by the sheer wave of positive energy that comes when the battles get going, when the music's loud and the presentation is absolutely glorious.
I know its easy to enjoy anything with friends, but doing sets with Friends in strive, and for that matter, AC+R is just special. There's something about the sheer positivity and dedication to rule of cool about the series, along with the awesome characters and music, that just makes for an absolute whale of a time, ensuing with laughs, trying to avoid singing along with Chipp's theme in the discord call, and going "ooo" as your friend dunks you in the corner with an awesome Zato combo.
Particularly in these grim times, Guilty Gear has been special for me. Maybe the only thing i've played where even for a little bit, the worries of the world truly just give way to the sheer personality and fun of it all. And whilst Strive may not be truly as good as AC+R - it still has it's energy. And that's all that really matters to me.
To anyone who i've played Guilty Gear with in the past few months - Thank you.
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 :(
feels like the pieces are there mechanically and they need a lot of iteration to get it to where it needs to be. lobbies are borderline unplayable and trying to play a casual game with a friend literally took ten minutes of fucking with menus (lobby IDs simply... didn't work. so we had to make a weird arcane set of settings and search for each other with public lobbies set to 2 players.) and teleporting around battle stations until we were finally ingame.
i cannot believe that they shipped the game like this and while some of these errors are probably because of their gigantic launch the lobbies are a fundamentally broken concept and it's unreal that they were universally, consistently negatively recieved throughout the lengthy period of pre-release footage, betas, and polls and they changed jack shit about their design. i cannot underscore how bad these lobbies are and this review is barely about the game because, guess what, these lobbies are so fucking shitty that it's hard to play the fucking game! when i finally got in with my friend after fifteen minutes of controller issues, ten of lobby fuckery, and two of realizing that the character select is in the start menu instead of pre-match (????????????????????) we were in no mood to have actual fun playing it. i'm exclusively playing this locally and i have no desire to ever play this online ever again, despite the rollback working pretty amazingly. fuck this shit, man.
Feels like home! Gameplay feels fast and tight despite the more streamlined direction, at least in comparison to Rev2. Newcomers Nagoriyuki and Gio are a treat, same with Anji returning once more.
Plus, music still slaps and visuals are wonderful as always.
[But man, those lobbies are rough though]
Online, when you can play, feels really good! Rollback has been implanted so that should go a long way hopefully. It's just that at the moment, the lobbies on PC seem to be going through some issues with connections at the time of me writing this. When I'm actually able to play it's fun but the disconnections really sour the experience at times. So do bear that in mind. Either way, fun game!
if you get the chance ,even if you've never played a fighting game, please give it try!
It may be too early to call it, but from the beta alone I can say that this game is fantastic. The visuals, the music, the combat, the characters are all so on point. Every character I've played so far has been ridiculously fun, even though I have gravitated towards Giovanna the most. This has quickly gone from a game I was morbidly curious about to one of my most anticipated titles of the year. I will rerate and re-review it once I play the full version. The beta is open and free for anybody to try so get on that if you haven't already.