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Guilty Gear Strive (PS5) Review

July 1, 2021 | Posted by Marc Morrison
Guilty Gear Strive
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Guilty Gear Strive (PS5) Review  

Here we are with another year with another Guilty Gear fighting game. It’s kind of comforting, like seeing the groundhog to determine whether the spring is coming soon or not. To put it simple, it is basically the same for good or for bad, as the same previous games, Xrd, Revelator, Revelator 2, etc. There are a few differences, including one major one, but it really is a lot of the same thing.

Title: Guilty Gear Strive
Platform: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 [Reviewed]
Genre: Fighting Game
Publisher: Arc System Works
Developer: Arc System Works
Players: 1-2
Release Date: June 11th, 2021
Price: $59.99


Like the past few games, the “story” mode is a 3 to 4 hour long anime cut sequence/movie. That means, no actual fighting to make you care about it. You can just watch it and that’s it. Actually, compared to previous iterations of this, you don’t even get any in-game money to watch this.


So the roster, at first blush is a bit thin. There are the usual mainstays like Sol Badguy, Ky Kiske, I-No, etc. In total there are 15 characters to play as with only two, Giovanna and Nagoriyuki, being actual new characters.

Giovanni has a wolf spirit that surrounds her which she uses to attack the enemy. She’s very quick and most of her attacks are multi-hit, even if they aren’t particularly strong. She reminds me a bit of Chipp, just without the speed-clones.

Nagoriyuki is on the opposite end of the spectrum. He’s a fairly large character with a massive sword who can’t even dash. His attacks are fairly slow but extremely powerful. While he is fairly short-ranged, even one of his special attacks can take off about a fifth of an enemy health bar.

His real unique hook though is his “Blood Rage” mechanic. If you do special moves, it adds to a special blood meter on screen. Once filled, Nagoriyuki enters “Blood Rage”, which boosts his damage, allows one of his Overdrive (super) moves to be used but it also drains your health and doesn’t last too long. So he has a real unique gameplay mechanic about balancing this meter out.

Training and Mission Modes

There’s a bit of comedy when it comes to the other modes in the game. There’s a Tutorial mode that teaches the general basics of how to play. How to attack, burst and throw, which takes about 5 to 10 minutes.

Then there is the Mission mode is where you go to actually learn how to play the game. There are 5 areas in the Mission mode based on difficulty and each has anywhere between 16 missions to 37 missions for you to complete. In total, there are 121 missions for you to complete which is actually how you play the game. Also to complete a mission, you are given 5 chances to do it and have to be successful on 3 attempts or you have to re-do it. You don’t have to complete every mission, but you gain some money and experience for doing so. Some of this stuff can be easily ignored, but some of it, like the Roman Cancels or the Faultless Defense (perfect block) are a bit more integral to the game.

Everyone Was Kung-Fu Fighting

As far as the actual fighting system, I’m going to give it a hearty “meh”. The biggest thing they did was take out the Instant Kill thing. This was a Guilty Gear staple mechanic where if you pressed the 4 main attack buttons, you’d enter “Instant Kill” mode. If you then entered a specific command (down, forward twice, then heavy attack), you could do a one-hit kill move, assuming you hit the other fighter with it. It was a flashy and unique move, per character, that was pretty unique to the game.

In Strive, it’s gone. In fact, the only thing I can really see different, fighting game-wise, is the Blue Roman Cancel being a time-slow mechanic for a second or two and Wall Breaks. Wall Breaks is when you hit an enemy against the stage wall enough time for them to break through it and you go to a different area of the stage. Dead Or Alive, Injustice, and Jump Force (just to name a few) have all done this to varying degrees, so it’s not exactly new.

The thing is, Strive doesn’t really add anything fresh or exciting. It’s basically the same fighting engine, only less, since they removed the Instant Kill stuff. I’m sure there is extremely minute differences someone could notice between this and Revelator 2, but to the layman, I don’t really know.

Oh, also, the arcade mode is fairly worthless. You do get a bit of fight money out of it, but it has no custom story or endings for any character and is about as generic as Street Fighter 5’s.

James Cameron’s Avatar

Can someone please find the person at Arc System Works who keeps putting in these moronic Avatar systems, and fire them? PLEASE. I beg of you!

God, so, Strive has the same dumbass Avatar system as at least two other Guilty Gear games, as well as Dragon Ball FighterZ. You can dress up your 8-bit avatar in a variety of clothes or costumes, which you fish out of the slot machine. You can get different parts and colors for your avatar or unlock music to listen in the gallery. “OOOH, I unlocked Ramlethal Costume: color6? My life’s quest is now complete!” The funny thing is, you can’t even preview the crap you unlock in the fishing menu. You have to back out to the Avatar customize menu to see the garbage you’ve collected.

You can also “fish” up duplicate items. These get converted into “Rare Fish”, and if you collect 10, then “you will be guaranteed 1 uncollected item the next time you fish.” Hats off to Arc, they managed to find a way to make fishing even more boring than actual fishing. Good job.

Online Multiplayer

As far as the online multiplayer goes, it’s a bit laggy but mostly fine. You use your avatars to queue up to “Duel Stations” where you are challenged by other people. God only knows why there just isn’t a “Quick Battle” option, and you have to go through this nonsense. You can just be stuck waiting for minutes, if no one walks up to your station.

The fighting itself is fine, mostly. Certain stages seem a bit laggy than others but others have broken down that better than I have. It’s functional enough.

Graphics and Audio

The last thing I’ll touch on is the audio and visual aspects. The visuals are, of course, great. It’s still using the same 3D engine but locked to 2D, so the camera can spin around during certain Overdrive moves. Also, the character’s colors are great, especially the Tron lighting one.

From a soundtrack perspective, this might be the best that Guilty Gear has done. The menu’s still have the kind of gothic songs, but during fights, all the songs are very rocking and have a great edge to them. I’d actually consider picking up this soundtrack.

The final score: review Good
The 411
Far from being the “a complete reconstruction of the franchise”, according to Daisuke Ishiwatari (Guilty Gear Series Director), Strive is mainly just more of the same, only somehow, less of a package. It really isn’t a bad game, but they could have just called it “Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator 3” and it would have been more honest. It’s fine for new players but if you’ve been a fan of the franchise before, I think you’ll be disappointed that it has lost some of the charm the series had.

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Guilty Gear Strive, Marc Morrison