With the last core entry in the Guilty Gear series dating back to 2017, it’s probably fair to say that few of us have forgotten just how good the Arc System Works one-on-one fighting series actually is. That’s all set to change this year as Guilty Gear -Strive- touches down on PC and PlayStation consoles and, if the recently released open beta is any indication, we could really be looking at one of the best brawlers in a very, very long time. So after spending a good few hours with that shiny new open beta over the last week-end, here are five reasons why I believe that Guilty Gear Strive is set to be the best fighting game of the year.
A Truly Next Generation Looking Fighter That Oozes Style From Every Pixel
The first thing that absolutely blasts you in the face like an ‘Iron Mike’ right hook is just how good the visuals of Guilty Gear Strive are. I mean honestly, just look at it. While all of the previous games in the Guilty Gear and BlazBlue franchises have always been gorgeous-looking affairs, Guilty Gear Strive truly takes it to the next level. From the jaw-dropping three-dimensional, pre-match and post-match animation sequences, to the dislocated camera which pans and shifts around the fighters during special attacks, to the blissful, retina-stroking character designs and animation, Guilty Gear Strive is easily one of the best looking fighters on the planet.
An Ear-Busting Soundtrack That Deftly Accompanies The On-Screen Action
Leaning hard into its heavy metal overtones, Guilty Gear Strive’s thunderous guitar riff laden soundtrack does a fantastic job of complementing the on-screen action. A world away from the usually mundane and easily forgettable soundtracks that often seem to accompany brawlers these days, the soundtrack of Guilty Gear -Strive- is as effortlessly stylish as the rest of the package.
Sophisticated Combat System That Appeals To Newcomers And Veterans Alike
Like the Guilty Gear games before it, Guilty Gear Strive embraces a sophisticated combat system predicated on combos, counters and cancels which helps to cement its place as one of the most rewarding fighters on the market. More than that, not only will Guilty Gear Strive appeal to stalwart series veterans, but also to newcomers as well, boasting a supremely accessible tutorial which helps to ease Guilty Gear rookies into the folds of its delectably advanced fighting tapestry. Then there’s the new wall stick mechanic to consider too, which allows players to essentially ‘stick’ their opponents to the edge of the screen, before punching them through it and opening up a new part of the stage to brawl across. Top stuff.
Unique Characters With Depth And Mastery To Spare
Perhaps more than in any other fighting game on the market today, each fighter in the Guilty Gear Strive cast feels appreciably unique. With nary a palette swap to be seen, each character has their own distinct feeling, timings and moves that make them feel utterly bespoke. Whether it’s the lumbering, mid-range powerhouse strikes of the hulking robot Potemkin, or the swift, melee focused arsenal of Chipp Zanuff, Guilty Gear Strive quite literally has a fighter to suit everyone’s playstyle.
The Best Netcode You’ll See In A Fighting Game
Now this is especially important. So many online multiplayer fighting games live or die by the quality of their netcode, as this after all can mean the difference between a win and loss for players across the globe. By using rollback netcode for its online matches, Guilty Gear Strive delays the inputs of players by a frame or two in order to mitigate the latency which exists by varying internet speeds. In short, this means that more players than ever before can lock horns online without having to worry so much about the quality of their internet connection. A good thing, I think you’ll agree.
Guilty Gear -Strive- launches on PlayStation consoles and PC on April 9th, 2021 and you can find the Steam version on the Green Man Gaming store, right here.