I’ve been having a good time with Guilty Gear Strive, out this week on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Steam, however I really feel like developer Arc System Works might need gone just a little overboard within the aesthetics division this time round.
I understand how that most likely sounds to longtime followers of the combating sport collection. Since its debut in 1998, Guilty Gear has set itself aside from the remainder of the style with its adherence to offering uniquely wonderful visuals to go together with its high-octane, anime-inspired gameplay. And whereas this general ethos is alive and properly in Guilty Gear Strive—which, like direct predecessor Guilty Gear Xrd, boasts spectacular 2D designs regardless of shifting from old-school pixel artwork to extra trendy 3D fashions—I feel Arc System Works has dedicated the last word sin of getting excessive by itself provide.
The most evident instance is the sport’s combo counter, which has been some extent of rivalry amongst severe gamers since Guilty Gear Strive was first revealed two years in the past. Where most fighters are content material to supply a small pop-up to let you understand how lengthy your present assault string has lasted, Guilty Gear Strive places that information entrance and heart with an eye-grabbing graphic.
As your combo will get greater, so does the counter, finally gobbling up a lot actual property as to distract from the extra necessary on-screen motion between the characters.
While I believed it seemed fairly cool earlier than launch, truly taking part in Guilty Gear Strive with all that happening is irritating. The fixed presence of animated numbers looming within the nook of my eye makes me assume that I’m lacking important info when in actuality it’s simply telling me I landed eight or 9 hits in a row. It’s an aesthetically pleasing eyesore, however an eyesore all the identical.
I’m additionally not jazzed concerning the modifications to Dust assaults, particularly the model that launches an opponent into the air. In earlier video games, this functioned like every other launcher in every other combating sport: you hit the opponent, they fly skyward, and also you maintain as much as comply with them for an air combo. But in Guilty Gear Strive, this alternate has grow to be its personal separate vignette that breaks up regular gameplay.
Instead of a seamless ground-to-air combo, the sport cuts to a monitoring shot that also fully disorients me after hours of play. My guess is that Arc System Works wished to impart a greater sense of momentum because the combatants rush by way of the air, nevertheless it simply feels bizarre coming from different combating video games and even earlier Guilty Gear installments.
Wall breaks are equally discombobulating. One of the most important gameplay additions to Guilty Gear Strive is available in breakable partitions much like these in Tekken. Slam the opponent in opposition to a barrier sufficient they usually’ll bust by way of, careening head over heels for what looks like ceaselessly earlier than crashing into one other a part of the stage. While they don’t break a combo into a number of segments just like the Dust launcher, and do present some post-combo positioning advantages for the offensive participant, wall breaks are nonetheless an unwelcome interruption. Again, this looks like a case of Arc System Works desirous to take Guilty Gear’s visuals to the following degree with no consideration for a way it will have an effect on the rhythm and movement of gameplay.
Make no mistake, Guilty Gear Strive is a phenomenal sport. Very few of its contemporaries come near matching it in sheer aesthetic prowess. And by way of gameplay, it’s a strong continuation of the Guilty Gear model, matching fluid combos with hard-hitting assaults to create a sport that not solely seems just like the summer season’s finest anime, however looks like one too. I sit up for spending extra time with Strive and determining its intricacies alongside the aggressive group.
But goddamn, Arc System Works, you didn’t should go so onerous. Fighting video games are in the beginning about not burdening a participant with an overabundance of data, and respecting their time. Where I might like to see Guilty Gear Strive’s little thrives in every other style, they find yourself being untrimmed fats in a combating sport. I’m used to being confused by Guilty Gear mechanically, nevertheless it’s a distinct factor solely once I’m struggling to land combos simply because my eyes are being drawn to an obnoxious graphic or background factor.
I by no means thought I’d say this about Guilty Gear, however Strive’s visuals are simply an excessive amount of to deal with generally.