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ups: Graphics and animation are phenomenal; fast gameplay; lots of modes; great soundtrack.
downs: Steep learning curve; maybe you don't like heavy metal music.

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Guilty Gear X2 Review (PS2)
review
game: Guilty Gear X2
five star
posted by: Eric Qualls
publisher: Sammy Studios
date posted: 09:10 AM Sun Feb 16th, 2003
last revision: 05:26 AM Fri Sep 23rd, 2005


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I think that I like Guilty Gear X2 a bit more than any sane person should. Any game that combines anime and heavy metal music along with an extremely fast weapon based 2-D fighting engine is everything I ever wanted from a fighter. The fact that the game underneath the seamless animation and blaring guitar riffs is exceptionally well put together is just icing on the cake. If you like 2-D fighting games, then Guilty Gear X2 is definitely worth checking out.

I think the reason why the fighting engine in GGX2 is so great is because it takes a lot of the best ideas from other fighting games and slams them all into one package. It combines the weapon based combat of Samurai Shodown with the flashy special moves of Marvel vs. Capcom, adds a level of depth I haven't seen in a fighter since Virtua Fighter 4, and turns the game speed up to 11. This combination of different styles really works well and creates an experience that is unlike any other fighter out there.

The comparison to Virtua Fighter 4 is a valid one because Guilty Gear X2 is hands down the deepest 2-D fighter you'll find, just as VF4 is the deepest 3-D fighter out there. Of course, GGX2 is easier to get into and you don't have to invest quite as much time into it as you do with VF4 in order to learn the more advanced techniques. In addition to all of the standard moves, there are reversals, reverse-reversals, fake out moves, overdrive attacks, psych bursts, and instant kill attacks. You have to learn how and when to use all of these tactics if you want to have any success on a difficulty level other than easy.

All of these moves are performed by surprisingly long command inputs. A common input for an overdrive attack- a special move much like the hyper combos in Marvel vs. Capcom- is two half circles on the D-pad followed by an attack button. Most of the more advanced moves require long command strings like this, so for people who don't really have 2-D fighter skillz, the game can seem overly complex and a bit intimidating. For fighting game veterans or for people who like a challenge, Guilty Gear X2 is a welcome change from the boring (there, I said it) matches in Street Fighter or the hyperactive insanity of Marvel vs. Capcom. Button mashing is still rewarded with some impressive results, but just like MvC2, experienced players will always dominate a button masher. Learning how to play GGX2 is fun and is well worth the time it takes.

There are several single player modes available in GGX2 along with the standard multiplayer mode. There is an arcade mode where you fight through all of the other characters in two round matches. The M.O.M. mode is a series of one round fights where you win medals and items based on your performance. There is a VS CPU mode that allows you to pick a character and an opponent and just have one match. Training mode is exactly like every other training mode in every other fighting game. Survival mode pits you against a limitless number of opponents in one round matches. Mission mode presents dozens of scenarios with variables such as enemy difficulty, clear conditions (you don't always have to drain an opponent's live gauge to zero), and combo damage (how many hits you have to land in a combo before it does any damage) that present dozens of unique challenges that are much more difficult than the other modes. Story mode is a series of one round fights where you can learn the story behind each of the characters. Of all of these modes, the most rewarding to play through are Survival, Mission, and Story. There is also a Gallery mode where you can view artwork that you earn by playing through the game. Overall, GGX2 offers a lot of replay value for solo gamers that other fighting games simply do not have.

There are twenty characters in GGX2 and they are fairly well balanced. Each character has a specific weapon, such as a sword or an electric guitar and even a yoyo. Since this game wasn't made by Capcom or SNK, the characters aren't going to be recognizable, but they are extremely detailed and offer interesting and unique enough stories that you'll learn to love them. Notable in the cast are characters such as Bridget, a boy whose parents raised him as a girl so he fights to show them how manly he is, and Axl Low, a character based off of Guns 'N Roses singer Axl Rose. The rest of the cast has equally interesting stories and all of the characters are a joy to play with. Ryu, Ken, and Cammy had better move aside because Axl, I-No, and Jam are coming to get them.

Graphically, Guilty Gear X2 is phenomenal looking. The game starts off with an amazing anime intro movie that shows where a lot of the visual inspiration came from. The character designs are all extremely detailed and look like they were taken straight from your favorite anime series. The silky smooth animation makes these beautifully drawn characters come to life with no sign of slowdown or the typical jittery animation that is often seen in 2-D fighters. Everything in this game is smooth and seamless. GGX2 has the best graphics and animation you are going to find in a 2-D fighter.

Likewise, the sound in Guilty Gear X2 is excellent. The voices for the characters in story mode are in Japanese and sound great. The typical sound effects of fighting, as well as the moans, groans, and screams of the combatants, are also very well done. The music is an area where you'll either hate it or love it. I happen to enjoy the heavy metal guitar riffs and I think that they add a different sort of feel to the game that make it stand out as more than just a Street Fighter clone. There are dozens of tracks and each one sounds very different from the one before it. If you don't like hard rock and/or heavy metal music, then GGX2 might drive you crazy. If you do dig that sort of music, then it just adds another item to the long list of things to like about Guilty Gear X2.

Overall, Guilty Gear X2 is an excellent fighting game that fans of the genre should definitely check out. I love everything about this game- from the music to the characters to the artwork to the fighting engine itself. The only way the game could appeal to me any more would be if there were zombies in it, but that is just a personal preference. GGX2, much like Marvel vs. Capcom 2, is a much deeper fighter than its button masher first impressions might show. Anyone who is the least bit interested in 2-D fighters should give Guilty Gear X2 a rental at the very least. It is a fantastic game that deserves a place in almost any PS2 owner's collection.