Guilty Gear X ReviewIan Nathanson
"Whoever made this game is feeling guilty right now"
So here it is, GUILTY GEAR X...The sequel to the game that made people look differently at the fighting game genre. When it first came out in Japan I heard rumors of its intensity. People said, "Guilty Gear X makes Marvel vs. Capcom 2 look like Pinochle!" Having played Guilty Gear X, in retrospect I should have known that that escaped mental patient was a liar and never actually played the game but hey, you live and learn.
Let me start off by saying that I have much respect for Sammy, the creators of the game. There aren't many fighting genre game creators now a days with SNK gone forever and Capcom looking like Microsoft. I applaud anyone for competing with in this market place.
The Story line is simple. Supposedly, All the Gears in the first game were not destroyed and the government has offered 500,000 world dollars as reward for its destruction. Of Course other than the reward everyone has personal reasons for entering the tournament. This is the strong point of the game since it brings out all the weirdoes from the woodwork. These weirdoes are your playable characters. They range from a one-eyed-paperbag-wearing-psycho-with a giant scalpel to a violent assassin who fights with a deadly cue stick. Sound silly? Well it is, the strangest fighters I have ever seen have been created for this game. I recommend Potemkin (named after a famous Russian battleship and movie), he is the biggest baddest mofo I have ever seen in a fighting video game. Imagine Zangief on super steroids and put into an army boot camp and then you can fathom his power! There are 18 characters in all. 2 are only selectable if you play through Survival Mode and beat them or if you download the saved VMU from the Internet (Either way its easy to do).
Now it doesn't stop by just having the most exotic characters in any game ever made. It also has the most beautifully drawn and graphically superb characters in any game. Guilty Gear X is the first 2D fighter to ever use high-res sprites and backgrounds. There are times in the game where you fall into a blissful TV lull and hypnotically put down the control and just watch the computer kick your butt from here to kingdom come (which most often happens anyway even if you don't put down the control). I was so amazed by graphics I would invite friends over who didn't even like video games just to watch and marvel.
Okey, GameZMaster, you have all these good things to say about the game why don't you like it? Here is my reasoning behind it. A game cannot stand on graphics and characters alone (especially fighting games). They need to have superb gameplay. I used to play Tetris all the time and all that was placing black and white shapes into spaces to form lines. A game with great graphics and no gameplay is like a supermodel, great to look at but doesn't have much else to it. They tired to make the gameplay style like the classic Samurai Showdown. The main difference though is that the combo system is slow and boring. There is nothing really different or surprising from Sammy in this respect. To off set this they added some special moves which can be done using the power bar. A nice touch they added to the power bar is that it drains when you are on the defensive and grows when you are more aggressive. One special move in the game that is interesting Dead-Angle Attack move, which is lets you counter-attack any move when your power bar reaches a certain level. Another one that is very interesting is the Instant Kill Attack. The Instant Kill Attack is activated by disabling the power bar then doing the move. This move if it hits will instantly kill the enemy no matter how much health he/she has. But if the move misses you lose the power bar for the rest of the round. Another downfall to the game is that the music and the announcer in the game are very annoying. The announcer in game sounds like he is being choked by a tube sock while being shocked with a stun gun (something I don't recommend).
So sadly, I say this game isn't revolutionary but is one worth checking out at least. I feel the person who worked on the gameplay portion of the game is feeling pretty guilty right now for messing up, Guilty Gear X. It had the makings of what could have been an amazing game. I personally cannot wait for Sammy to come out with another fighting game to see what craziness they crank out next.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.