Guilty Gear X2


Review by Jeffrey L. Wilson

Sammy Studios


Graphics: 10

Sound: 9

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 9

Since the debut of Capcom’s groundbreaking Street Fighter II: The World Warrior in the early 1990’s, the modern fighting game has worn the mask of The Good (the aforementioned Street Fighter II and its sequels), The Bad (Primal Rage), and The Ugly (Wargods). Over the course of the past decade many a fighting game has arrived, with each, if they were fortunate, adding a positive mark to the history and evolution of the genre. Now seeking to contribute to the legacy is Sammy/ARC SYSTEM WORKS’ Guilty Gear X2. Upon booting the disc, one will be immediately floored by the visuals of GGX2. While other developers are content with their use of standard resolution when crafting graphics, Sammy/ARC SYSTEM WORKS have brought the future of gaming to the present by utilizing high-res sprites, which rids the graphics of visibly discernable individual color pixels. As such, the twenty playable characters (four new) and lush backgrounds bounce with superbly smooth color schemes which, when factored with the brilliant animation and heavily Japanese art style, transforms GGX2 into an interactive anime.

Fortunately, Guilty Gear X2 handles as well as it looks. Chains, cancels, counters, juggles, standard, special, super, and Instant Death moves are simple to execute and easy to assemble into deadly attacks. Gameplay wise, the title contains more flash than the serious Street Fighter III, but falls nowhere near the chaotic insanity of the Marvel vs. Capcom series. Combos are frequent and sometimes a bit over the top, but there aren’t any instant 30+ hit moves to be found. Combining these slick controls with the awe-inspiring visuals, GGX2 is one of the few fighting games that creates the aura of players becoming one with their onscreen counterparts.

Sonically, Guilty Gear X2 continues the series’ tradition of providing pulsating metal chords as the backdrop of the fighting experience. The soundtrack consists of guitars that scream and wail as well as plenty of Japanese dialogue from the characters whom chatter throughout the many bouts. Happily, there are subtitles in Story mode to allow non-Japanese speakers to follow the intertwining plots.

Fighting games as a whole offer great replay value as each match differs vastly from the one before it, however, Guilty Gear X2 takes it to the next level. Beating the game’s various modes (Mission, Medal, Arcade) will unlock items to be viewed in the Gallery, but it’s the unique Story mode that will keep players coming back for more. Consisting of one round matches, the tales of the fighters are told via static cut scenes which offer up to three endings per combatant; the ending received depends on whether or not certain criteria was met (i.e., finishing a rival with a super or Instant Death move).

Although Guilty Gear X 2 doesn’t do anything spectacular in terms of fighting game innovations, it’s an incredibly fun game that’s a joy to watch as it is to play. The disc’s sheer beauty blazes as a testament to how 2D, sprite based graphics should appear on modern hardware in order to wow the “if it isn’t 3D, it’s crap” audience. Both fans of previous Guilty Gear titles and newcomers alike should definitely give GGX2 playtime in their Playstation 2 systems.


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Last updated: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 02:25 PM