Guilty Gear Strive Review — Burning Like A Roman Cancel

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Guilty Gear Strive is, like so many of its predecessors, the pinnacle of a certain kind of fighting game. The series, known for its highly technical (read: complicated) set of systems, rewards players for investing time to master both its universal systems and the nuances of its individual characters in a way that few other series have. Strive maintains that tradition and throws in a couple new ideas that bolster its bold anime-inspired flash without making the game any harder to learn. While the core fighting experience has only improved, many of the game’s less savory tendencies remain in place, including its non-playable story “mode” and yet another set of kludgy Arc System Works-style avatar-based matchmaking menus. As in most fighting games, those problems are secondary: Players, particularly veterans, who want to put in work will find Guilty Gear Strive to be a wild time.

If you’re counting, Strive is the eighth primary entry in the Guilty Gear franchise, so its fighting style is something of a known quantity. Strive retains many of the nuances of recent entries in the series. There’s the tension gauge, a special meter that increases when you attack or move towards your opponent and fills more slowly when you play defense. There’s faultless defense, a strategic extra block that trades tension to prevent chip damage and help you get some distance from an opponent. For a newcomer or casual player, Strive will feel just like a Street Fighter-style fighting game. Most special moves feature quarter-circles and charge motions, and thus may feel familiar at a glance, but there are many, many small nuances for you to learn in order to get the most out of its particular mechanics.

There are two major changes that longtime players will need to adjust to. Strive removes the “Gatling system,” a sort of hierarchy for canceling attacks to sustain combos, and changes the series’ signature “Roman Cancel” system, which allows you to trade half of the tension meter to cut short the animation before or after an attack to more quickly recover. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not yet an expert on how to use these mechanics to great effect, but it seems that the combination of these two leads to more back-and-forth with shorter combos. I found that most of my fights, even against players way beyond my skill level, kept to a rapid tempo filled with short organic combos–flurries of light attacks anchored by a heavy or special. In theory, the Roman Cancel opens the door for high-level players to unlock longer strings with a precisely timed maneuver that keeps a combo from ending.

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Source: Game Spot Mashup