Thanks to Arc System Works for the review code
Title: GUILTY GEAR
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Release Date: 05/16/2019
Guilty Gear is an arcade fighting game that was originally released on the Playstation back in 1998. When it comes to the story, there really isn’t much of it in-game save for after-round dialogue and the endings. It’s not really a big loss though, since it’s a pretty insignificant aspect due to this game being a fighter, and you could always look up scans of the manual if you really crave the backstory.
As an HD rerelease of the PS1 original, the game is thankfully displayed in the proper aspect ratio of 4:3, allowing for all the sprites to shine and look great on either the Switch’s portable screen or the TV. By default there’s a weird border around the game, but borders can thankfully be toggled off altogether if you just want to view the game as originally intended.
The audio presentation is fairly good as well, being accurate to the PSOne original for better or worse. The voices are kinda muffled just like on the PSOne, but the music is of really high quality, consisting of rock and heavy metal themes, though I found most of them to be pretty forgettable. It’s a little bit disappointing that they didn’t include a remixed soundtrack to make it more than just a straight port, but the original tunes are fine.
Guilty Gear is a one on one fighting game where you select one of ten characters, (which can expand to 13 in versus mode) who fight in traditional 2D Fighting matches. You have four main attack buttons, with a punch, kick, slash and heavy slash to use, with another button that can charge up a meter to unleash a stronger attack.
Like most fighting games, the main Arcade mode has you taking on one fighter after the other until you reach the final battle, in sets of best two out of three. Oddly enough, there’s only very few options for the Arcade mode, so you can’t increase or decrease the amount of rounds or adjust the difficulty, so you’re stuck with a default setting that can ramp up in difficulty very quickly. So insane, that the difficulty jump from round 8 to 9 is almost like the size of a mountain, with a CPU going from decently challenging to constantly being able to defend and block every possible move you can throw at them. It’s poorly balanced and stops being fun after a while, unfortunately.
There are a few other fighting mechanics that can help you through these tough moments, though. The Instant Kill move can be activated when super close to an opponent and can instantly drain their health, but you only get one shot at it per round and if it misses then you’ll be left open to attack, so it’s a very risky technique. Not that it stops the CPU from using it on you near the end of the game, though you can avoid it if you input a command, but so can they!
Besides the Arcade mode, Guilty Gear also has Training and Local Versus modes. Training is your standard practice mode, allowing you to choose any of the characters and practice all their moves to get used to them, while local versus has you battling another player. There’s no online mode whatsoever in this game, not even for high scores, which is a bit disappointing since the lack of a leaderboard makes the score-chasing aspect of this game pretty moot.
In conclusion, Guilty Gear is an OK port of a rough start for a classic fighting franchise. The characters are unbalanced, the arcade mode is really unbalanced and gets borderline cheap in difficulty, and the lack of much to do besides getting every ending and unlocking characters leaves this game to be rather lacking for the $10 price tag. If you have a friend over often who’s a fan of fighters, then this is worth it for the local multiplayer alone, but the overall lack of customization for the arcade mode and lack of much to do period leaves Guilty Gear as a starting point with not much to remember it by. It’s interesting to check out for the sake of curiosity, but you don’t need to start here if you’re a newcomer like myself.
I give GUILTY GEAR a 6 out of 10.