17| Guilty Gear XX ^ Core

Released: September 11th, 2007

Definitive Version: Arcade; Also On: PS2, Wii

In today's gaming world, the fighting game genre is as healthy as it has been in years. Just this year alone there has been a new Street Fighter, as well as a new King of Fighters. Both titles are seen as solid according to the fighting game community at large. The future also looks bright with many ongoing series continuing to receive revisions, as well as a slew of interesting indie titles, and rumors of a fourth Marvel vs Capcom game. However, things weren't always so peachy when it came to the fighting genre, specifically the 2D type.

After 2001, Capcom all but abadoned the genre. SNK was a shell of its former self constantly working with the same rehashed sprites from the Neo Geo, and the only developers focusing on making traditional style 2D games were doujin developers from Japan. Which were never properly released in the West (most notably Melty Blood). However, in this dark period of the 2D fighting genre there was one developer keeping things alive. Arc System Works was releasing the "Guilty Gear" series which boasted unique and fast one on one gameplay, an enticing combo system, and the highest resolution sprites ever seen. Both playing the game and looking at the game had it an arm and a leg above of what other developers were churning out.

It's difficult for me to try and explain what made Guilty Gear so different from other fighting games at the time, but I'll try my best. The most obvious reason is that it focuses a lot on dashing, specifically in the air. Hence why it's often referred to as an "air dasher". If you ever watch Guilty Gear being played, especially by experienced people, you will notice the characters dashing back and forth in the air after the player does a jump. This is a very good way to close and gain distance on your opponents. It also makes certain moves, such as overhead attacks, much more of a threat. Technically there were games that had airdashing long before Guilty Gear, Vampire Savior for example had air dashing. However, it wasn't as intuitive nor as useful as it is in Guilty Gear.

There is also the fact that the game has many different features crammed into it. There is the burst meter which results in the character immediately "pushing" their opponent far away while they are being attacked, which is a good way to stop long drawn out, and even possibly infinite, combos. There is also the tension meter which can be used as a shield to stop damage when blocking, performing supers. And of course, there is also the option to disable the tension meter to perform an "instant kill" attack which results in the opponent being killed outright, no matter the state of their health.

All these things combined to make Guilty Gear's "airdasher" genre the "third pillar" subgenre of the 2D fighting game...err...subgenre. You had traditional one on one fighters like Street Fighter, combo focused tag team games like Marvel, and now airdashers like Guilty Gear. Yes, this is a hilarious oversimplification, but it does ring true to a degree and displays just how unique Guilty Gear was for its time.

Before I close out, I HAVE to mention the game's incredible soundtrack. The Guilty Gear series has the best soundtrack of any video game out there. I feel that only the Ys series can be compared. Even today after almost a decade of discovering the series, I still listen to some of the tried and true tunes in my car while driving to work.

Despite the series starting from humble beginnings, the once cult franchise has become one of the most popular game series in the fighting game community. The newest iteration was in the top five most registered games at EVO this year, and the second most registered traditional fighting game at nearly one thousand people. This is pretty impressive for a series that was once dropped for a year, as some suspected due to the lack of entrants. The series love is more than deserved as there is nothing else like it both from a gameplay and presentation standpoint. I can't wait to see where the series goes from here.

Posted by Punk Rebel Ecks Thu, 24 Nov 2016 17:27:00 (comments: 3)
Fri, 25 Nov 2016 00:07:40

My first introduction to this franchise was on the original Xbox game. It really wowed me with its impressive artwork, animation, frenetic gameplay, and rockin' soundtrack. I still very much enjoy the franchise but Blazblue quickly moved up in front of it for me.

Fri, 25 Nov 2016 01:40:24

I always feel like I should give Guilty Gear another chance. I played one of them many years ago on the PS2 (possibly this one, I really couldn't tell you). It was fun, but it just wasn't clicking with me as I was still too stuck in Street Fighter style and couldn't break out of it.

Fri, 25 Nov 2016 09:14:23
robio said:

I always feel like I should give Guilty Gear another chance.

You have guilty gear guilt.

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