Like a bolt out of the blue, Guilty Gear X2 comes out this month and totally hits a player between the eyes. When one thinks of fighters on the Playstation 2 console, most think of the studios Capcom or Sega–and those titles popular to those particular production houses. Yet, Sammy Studios released a fighting title for the PS2 that is so marvelous, so fun, and so entertaining, that it almost completely redefines 2-D side scrolling fighters.
The game, of course, is Guilty Gear X2 and it must b… seen and played to be believed. Reveling in the old school 2-D fighter genre that many of us grew up on in those dark arcades of past, X2 is a fantastic mix of unique characters, interesting fighting arenas, classic arcade machine rock and roll, and a healthy amount of combos per fighter.
The visuals are really top notch in this title, and are great eye candy to view. Not only do the 20 fighters all have a unique look to them, but they are all well modeled and quite smooth. Impressive as it is to look at them though, it’s even better to see them in action. X2 moves along at a health frame rate and even though the action is 2-D, doesn’t mean that some serious special effects don’t take place. During power ups or when a combo move has been executed, colorful, vibrant effects take center stage.
The many environments are well created as well and are as unique as the fighters themselves. Of particular note is the fact that all of the fighting arenas demonstrate some level of animation and movement–and this is in addition to the action going on in the foreground. This adds a nice touch and it just makes X2 that much more fun to watch and play. Indeed, the graphical bar is raised and held in this game.
As previously stated, X2 has some of the best gin-joint inspired rock and roll heard to date on any arcade genre fighter. Squealing guitars, jamming riffs, and rolling drums all help to punctuate the mad action onscreen and, in essence, add to the overall arcade flavor of the title.
Speech is sparse, yet this is to be expected from a title like this. The focus is on the fighting action–not really so much on a plot per se. As a result, any pair of tv speakers will do the trick. No Home Theater setup required.
Six new characters have been added to the mix in this sequel to Guilty Gear, so players have up to 20 different fighters to choose from. Each fighter has his or her own attributes, and so a little experimentation may be in order for you to find the one that best fits your style.
It’s a nice plus that all of the fighters have some great combo moves–many which are unique to that character–so the results of finding the best fighter are almost endless. Players will also find a beefed up main menu with several different play options available at game start. Players can participate in any of the eight play modes such as the story mode, arcade mode, or a training mode invoked to get your moves worked out ahead of time.
The learning curve is somewhat steep–but only in the respect that if you switch fighters often, you will have to learn those combo moves over again. Once you have the basic button layout down however, the action starts to roll and getting through the arcade or story mode moves along quite well. The proof, they say, is in the pudding and when you land a devastating combo onto your opponent, a smile will cross your face.
Guilty Gear X2 has lots of life left in it after the first time through if only for the fact that it is a great game to look at. There are plenty of options and fighters to keep the mix fresh and this game should be kept around in order to invite other friends over to compete against.
Stunning graphics, great old school flavor, and solid control all make Guilty Gear X2 a great fighting title to add to your collection. I highly recommend it.