Guilty Gear X
For the first time in history, mankind had discovered the ability to control the power of magic. Through this ability, a limitless source of energy could be harnessed, creating a society that even outlawed scientific thought. This newfound capability had a price, however, as warring nations still battled and soon new biological weapons of incredible power were developed. These new weapons, which blindly followed orders, became know as Gears. As battles raged using these new biological weapons, one Gear stepped out of the ranks and demonstrated a capacity for independent thought. Named only as Justice, this supremely powerful being quickly recruited Gears from across the world and declared war against mankind. To combat this menace, a group called the Sacred Order of Holy Knights was formed and ultimately defeated Justice and his renegades. Now there is a new Gear that once again appears to be capable of independent thought. Although apparently peaceful, its tremendous potential for destruction cannot be ignored and a bounty of 500,000 World Dollars has been placed on its head. Guilty Gear X is a 2D fighter that gives Capcom a run for their money -- you’ll have a difficult time finding one better. Excluding some minor gameplay issues as small distractions, GGX will keep you hungry for more, as it throws some of the best graphics seen in 2D fighting in with well balanced fighters and new innovations that set it apart from the rest.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
Guilty Gear X offers four different modes of play: arcade, vs., training, and survival. Most of the different modes of play are fairly routine, functioning like the majority of 2D fighters with only a few points worth mentioning. When in the survival mode, for instance, you can build up experience points as you battle opponents, giving you the opportunity to beat the game once your level reaches 100. Although not overly exciting, it does add a different dimension to the game other than simply beating it through the arcade mode. In addition to the different modes, there is also an extensive options menu you may want to visit before starting. In it, you can adjust various settings ranging from game options to screen adjustments to controller settings. As you’d expect, the difficulty, time limit and how many rounds that are fought each match (one, three or five) can be easily adjusted. There are some options that were unexpected, helping the gameplay quite a bit. For instance, there is a short cut option that allows you to skip the cut-scenes in between matches to move the game along and also a medal mode where medals are awarded for score. The short cut option in particular really comes in handy when you’re more interested in playing than having the drama of each match built up.
The question now becomes how does the game hold up when actually playing? Well, since spending years playing Capcom 2D fighting games and using them as a benchmark, Guilty Gear X easily holds its own. You’ll find the AI to be solid with only a few minor issues and an increase in strategy, not offensive and defensive strength, when the difficulty setting is increased. The cheapness factor, or ability to use one move or strong attack continuously to defeat an opponent, is present. It’s not a strong force however, mainly due to the AI preventing it by counterattacking while you’re setting up for same attack. The fighters are also properly balanced, keeping one or two of them from dominating or getting slaughtered. This allows a certain strategy to the game as each player should be able to use their selected fighter’s strengths and defend against their weaknesses when battling. It also gives more motivation to learning all the fighters and helps make the game more re-playable.
Besides the AI and general balance of the fighters, there are some other parts of the gameplay that add a different twist to 2D fighting. For instance, a tension gauge is used for certain moves and fills up as you attack your opponent. It will also deplete however, by resting too long or failing to attack. Although the tension gauge itself isn’t terribly new, some of the uses for it are and they add new dimensions to the game. One example is the Dead Angle Attack, which allows the fighter to guard and then quickly counter-attack. This permits you to surprise your opponent, but uses 50% of the Tension Gauge in the process. Another example is the Roman Cancel, which allows you to return to the normal standing pose in the middle of an attack, allowing for original combos while depleting the Tension Gauge again by 50%. Special moves are also available using the Tension Gauge but don’t compare to the Instant Kill ability. This Instant Kill technique allows the fighter to immediately eliminate its opponent. There is a price, however, as unleashing the move is time consuming, leaving your fighter open to attack and if you miss, you loose the ability to use the gauge completely. The controls are straightforward and since 2D fighting is fairly simplistic, Guilty Gear X could only hurt itself here. It doesn’t, however, and keeps the controls simple, not attempting to overcomplicate anything. This was pulled off using the d-pad to move the fighter, leaving the analog sticks out. The square punches, the triangle performs the slash, the circle is the heavy slash, and the X button kicks. The R1 allows the player to taunt and most of the rest of the buttons are not used. This was a wise move as all of the available buttons must have been tempting to incorporate, but were thankfully left out.
Where this game shines is its graphical capability. The fighters especially are extremely smooth due to the screaming frame rates and are heavily detailed. You’ll watch their clothes ripple in the wind as the animated backgrounds give a sense of depth and seem to have a life of their own. It’s even fun to watch someone else play so you can see all the activity you don’t pay attention to while playing. The backgrounds are also crisp and help define each fighter’s personality. Overall, Guilty Gear X is visually stunning and greatly increases the game’s longevity. You’ll be hard pressed to find superior 2D graphics anywhere.
The audio definitely holds its own and, although the sound effects are not fantastic, the soundtracks are. The majority of the sound effects are appropriate but not overly notable, like swords clanging, bodies hitting the ground with a solid thud and electricity crackling when fired at an opponent. One nice touch is the voices of the fighters before each match. Often they’ll speak a few words in Japanese and, although you'll likely have no idea what they’re saying, it adds to the overall feel of the game. The soundtracks, however, are skillfully done and set the mood of the match. Each background also has its own soundtrack which helps keep the music from getting old.
Guilty Gear X is one of the best 2D fighting games available on the PlayStation 2. With stunning graphics and solid gameplay, you’ll be hard pressed to find flaws that take anything away from this game. The only complaint I have is after building a unique stor line, it would have been nice to see finishing animation at the end, different for each fighter. Other then that, Guilty Gear X won’t displease and it’s a must buy for any 2D fighting fan.
Download Guilty Gear X
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP