Gamers haven’t seen much in the way of 2D fighters lately, and when I showed Guilty Gear X2 to my friends, I understood why. Only the most hardcore of us picked up the game and enjoyed it. Others…sat and watched, or in some cases, complained until we stopped playing. This is the same crowd who loved 3D fighting games like Soul Calibur the second it was turned on. But as fighting games in general are being released less and less, 2D fighting games are being seen even less than the genre that they spawned from. Guilty Gear X2 breathes new life into the dwindling world of sprites and beautiful cartoon animation. At first glance, one might think that GGX2 is just your average fighter, but after you really get the feel for it, you’ll notice the game’s creative characters, beautiful animation, and depth to the engine.
Guilty Gear X2, like its predecessors, oozes an anime vibe. From its animation (which is easily as smooth and lovely as the most well done anime motion pictures) to its over-the-top characters, you’ll feel like you’re playing a very tasteful Japanese animation spin-off game. I can’t rave about the game’s animation enough, but I think I’ve already got that covered. But what’s beautiful art without an interesting story? Who wants to look at Van Gogh’s rendition of my creative writing class? Well, actually, that might be interesting, but you get what I mean. For every sword-wielding badass, there’s a freaky possessed guy or a yo-yo toting, sexually confused schoolboy. The characters and their backgrounds are as interesting as they are cool.
Fans of previous Guilty Gears or pretty much any of your standard fighters will be familiar with the game’s control system. Combos, unique special moves, and all sorts of other meters enable you to really kick the ass out of your opponent. I found that there’s more depth to the system than just a bunch of meters and combinations, however.
Aside from each character’s arsenal of moves, overdrive attacks, and instant death moves, there are a number of universal moves that make for a variety of combinations. Most all of these maneuvers depend on the “tension gauge” which rises and falls depending on how aggressively you play. So if you attack constantly and dash at your opponent, if will rise. If you retreat and block too often, it will fall. Once the meter rises above the halfway mark, you’ll be able to perform one of those overdrive attacks I was talking about earlier, the beloved instant death attack. Like the name implies, landing this move on your opponent drains all of their life instantly, but they’re hard to pull off and the consequences are grave if you miss.
The only thing I’ve heard people complaining about is the soundtrack. I believe that a heavy metal band from Japan performed all the tracks, and some are pretty catchy. The developers made a mistake by hyping up the music too much, though, which is probably why people are complaining. They’re really the same type of songs you’d hear in any fighter. Speaking of clichés in fighters, you didn’t expect a story, did you?
If you’ve been looking for a solid fighter lately, Guilty Gear X2 is the game for you. Otherwise, I’m not quite sure if GGX2 would be up your proverbial alley.