Game designer Daisuke Ishiwatari conceptualized and created the Guilty Gear series for Arc System Works. Several sequels have been released since the original game came out in 1998. It has branched out into manga and drama CDs. Reviewers have praised Guilty Gear’s technical gameplay, aesthetics, soundtrack, and characters. BlazBlue, another fighting game series by Arc System Works, is often seen as a sequel to the series.
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Guilty Gear Game Gameplay
Competitive one-on-one duels are the mainstay of Guilty Gear. Each playable character has its own set of attacks that players can use to slowly drain their opponent’s health bar. A winner in a timed match is the participant who has the most lives remaining when the clock runs out. With its focus on speed and intricacy and introduction of novel mobility choices like an “air dash,” the series laid the groundwork for the “anime” subgenre of fighting games.
At its core, Guilty Gear Isuka included a battle mode for up to four players, with the option to split up the characters into separate teams. Each player was given a finite number of “souls,” instead of the usual unlimited supply used in games with numerous rounds.
When a player’s life gauge was depleted, they were temporarily disabled and had a smaller stock of souls; however, for every soul they still had, they might return to battle with a full life gauge. If their life bar and souls were depleted at the same time, they would be out of the game. All later games have lacked these elements.
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The player’s “Tension Gauge” fills up as they engage in offensive actions like getting close to the enemy or attacking them in each game in the series. Several approaches make use of the Tension Gauge’s expendable parts. Overdrives are unique attacks that each character has access to at least once.
These attacks can significantly increase the user’s damage output or speed, among other things. By expanding Tension, players can use “Faultless Defense” to avoid taking “chip damage” from blocking strikes. More complex uses of the Tension Gauge were introduced in Guilty Gear X and subsequent games, such as the “Roman Cancel,” which allowed players to abruptly halt the remaining animation of an attack, and the “Dead Angle Attack,” which allowed players to perform counterattacks while guarding.
Using “instant kill” techniques (Ichigeki Hissatsu Waza), which are high-risk attacks that are difficult to connect with but instantaneously kill the opponent regardless of the amount of life remaining, is similarly linked to the Tension Gauge.
Originally, a successful strike with one of these attacks would result in a complete game over in Guilty Gear, but later games toned it down by finishing the round instead. If the method is not successfully connected, the user loses access to the Tension Gauge and its associated abilities for the remainder of the round.
A “Burst Gauge” was implemented in Guilty Gear X2 that fills up gradually throughout the course of a match. If a player’s Psyche meter is full, they can use a “Psyche Burst” to temporarily halt their opponent’s attack and potentially knock them back if they’re in range. This mechanism has also been seen in other fighting games like Skullgirls and in other titles from Arc System Works like BlazBlue and Persona 4 Arena.
There are several differentiating mechanical aspects among the characters. For instance, Zato-1 makes use of a shadow-like parasitic entity named Eddie, which can be detached and controlled independently for a short period, allowing for complicated tandem attacks.
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Venom’s arsenal includes armed billiard balls, which can be launched in different directions based on how the player strikes them. Johnny only has so many coins at his disposal to use as projectiles. Even though the coins themselves aren’t very damaging, he may build his “Mist Finer” method up to devastating levels with each blow.
Guilty Gear Game’s Reception and Legacy
Many gamers hold the Guilty Gear games in the highest regard. The visuals, fighting engine, soundtrack, and character and attack variation have all received high praise from fans of the franchise. The Dreamcast version of X has the greatest score in the series (89.33%) according to review aggregate GameRankings, while X2 on PlayStation 2 has the highest score (89%). However, Guilty Gear 2: Overture receives the lowest scores from GameRankings (58.19%) and Metacritic (56/100).
Ultima was always my fave, outside of HardEdge and Apocalypse… though I have to say the Fusion Swords (First Tsurugi) topped them all once I saw how it worked. https://t.co/QAzv2dkg4i
— It's 2023 and Guilty Gear is still LEGIT. (@Gear_Project) January 19, 2023
From what I’ve read, Guilty Gear is universally regarded as the best 2D fighter. Both GameSpot and Eurogamer have praised Guilty Gear, with the former saying, “If 2D beat-em-ups are headed into extinction, they really are ending on a high note with stuff like this.” The sequels were equally as favorably received. About.com called Guilty Gear X2 “certainly the best 2D fighter to come around in a long time,” while GameSpy proclaimed that “Guilty Gear X is hands-down the best 2D fighting game to date.”
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Frequently asked questions
Is Guilty Gear a good game?
Even without the additional single-player content that would have been appreciated, Guilty Gear Strive remains a fantastic fighting game that you should definitely pick up if you enjoyed Dragon Ball FighterZ or any of Arc System Works' prior games.
Is Guilty Gear for beginners?
Thankfully, the latest installment, Guilty Gear Strive, is the most beginner-friendly and approachable in the series' history without watering down the series' signature fighting game depth.
Why is Guilty Gear so popular?
Critics have praised Guilty Gear's technical gameplay, aesthetics, soundtrack, and characters. Arc System Works's BlazBlue fighting game series is often recognized as a worthy successor to the series.