I recently wrote a piece on the Guilty Gear Strive Open Beta and my thoughts on how the game has progressed since the first beta last year. Despite some simplifications and the removal of some very niche mechanics, the game still holds onto the essence of Guilty Gear and retains the level of depth you would expect of a Guilty Gear title.
With that being said, I would like to go through some of my personal wishlists for Strive. This will include characters, additional mechanics or in-game options, changes, and so on. I’ve already praised the game a lot, so this wishlist will mainly consist of personal luxury additions; I think that the game is great as it currently is.
For some, mainly fans of previous Guilty Gear titles, getting used to the changes that Strive presents can be difficult. I was the same when transitioning from Street Fighter IV to V. However, it’s a new title rather than an enhanced rerelease, and we all need to treat it as such. Big names in the Guilty Gear scene such as KizzieKay say it best themselves: “learning a new game from the ground up? It’s fun!”
Mechanics and UI
When it comes to the UI of Guilty Gear Strive, I can only really complain about one single thing and that would have to be the growing combo-counter. I must admit that it isn’t as ugly or annoying as I thought it would be, but it still doesn’t feel necessary. The two biggest requests after the first beta were that the character portraits wouldn’t move along with the health — something that they did indeed change — and the combo counter remained one size.
I remember when they showed some of the first gameplay footage for Strive being worried that the huge “Counter” hit camera zoom alongside the wall-break would be somewhat disorientating, but after playing the game I think those mechanics are totally fine.
The Counter-hit camera zoom and slowdown are more of a buff that allows players to recognize that they have landed a hit that offers them a unique situation or combo route that otherwise may not have been able to react to. Counter-hits are commonplace in fighting games, the premise being that when you hit your opponent as they attempt to press a button, you gain a larger frame advantage against them.
This typically means that you can then proceed to confirm this counter-hit into an optimal, counter-hit specific, combo. Street Fighter V offers a similar feature in its Crush Counter system, but here the player also does more damage from the counter-hit alongside being able to confirm into the combo very easily. In my opinion, Strive has found a more balanced middle ground in their system that doesn’t introduce an overwhelming powerful system, but rather a slight visual aid.
Lastly, I think that the new wall-break mechanic could possibly use some balancing. As it stands at the moment, when you perform a particularly damaging combo in the corner, or that ends up in the corner, there will be times when the opponent sticks to the wall.
When this happens you have two choices: hit the opponent and perform a wall break; this will send both players to the middle of another stage and the advantageous player will receive a tension gauge bonus, or you can choose to not hit the impaled opponent and instead gain stage advantage by keeping the opponent in the corner. At the moment the positive bonus that a wall break offers is so good that it’s almost always the better choice.
Guilty Gear returning characters
This is always a somewhat touchy subject with every fighting game and I would say that it’s due to the nature of the genre. Fighting games are unique in the way that when you find YOUR character, that one character that fits you as a player, it’s hard to pull yourself away from them. Having a “main” in fighting games is almost like a badge of honour that you take a lot of pride in — especially if that character maybe isn’t all that popular or considered weak.
It’s because of this that new fighting games and their starting rosters will always gain a mixed response. For example, seeing people’s response to I-No being the final character of the starting roster might make you feel jealous. Seeing people so happy their character will be appearing makes you want “your” character to come back as well.
So, which character is that for me? I’ll be completely honest with you, I’m a total degenerate and as such, I was a Baiken (along with waifu Ramlethal) player in Xrd as soon as she was released. I’m a sucker for badass female characters and Baiken is the epitome of that character. To top it all off, Baiken is insanely popular in most regions other than Japan.
Why wasn’t Baiken among the starting roster then? Well, it’s because most Baiken players are too busy being horny for their character than they actually are playing the character — I played Baiken so I can say this with confidence. Jokes aside — even though there’s a lot of truth to it — Baiken’s popularity alone will sell a season pass and generate another surge of hype for the game further down the line.
This isn’t just a case of “well, Baiken isn’t the most popular in Japan so they didn’t include her” — according to a popularity poll in 2020, Bridget was the most wanted character to appear in Strive and there’s no sign of our favourite yoyo-wielding nun among the starting roster, either. I wouldn’t be surprised if both Bridget and Baiken make their appearances in Strive in the first season pass.
Otherwise, I would love to see Dizzy, Testament, and Jack-O. I would really like to see what they do with a character like Jack-O in Strive as she had one of the oddest toolkits in Xrd.
What would you like to see added to the final version of Guilty Gear Strive? Let us know in the comments below, or via the usual social channels!
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