Players: 1 to 2 Player Game | Release Date: 02/03/03 | Genre: Fighting
Sammy and developer Arc System Works delivers the fast and furious, anime style sequel to Guilty Gear for the PlayStation 2. While not a favorite genre of mine, I was intrigued to play this title since I didn't spend any time with the first one in the series. After spending some time with GGX2, I have discovered that this franchise delivers all the fun and excitement of Capcom fighters--but with a better overall experience.
Guilty Gear X2 begins with an awesome anime intro and provides you with enough action and excitement that you won't want to put it down. The graphics are excellent. Each of the 18 characters (14 returning, 4 new) fill up the screen nicely and have a ton of detail. The backgrounds, while they could use a few more animations, are done pretty well overall. The best part about the visuals is that they do not harm the gameplay. It runs at a steady 60 fps. I did not encounter any slowdown at all.
Once you get passed the introduction, there are a few different gameplay modes you have to choose from: Arcade, M.O.M., VS 2P, VS CPU, Training, Survival, Mission, and Story. Arcade is the standard mode that all games include. You fight through characters until you reach the bosses. The M.O.M. mode allows you to collect medals you knock off from opponents during fights. The VS modes allow you to square off against another player or a quick match against the AI. The training mode allows you to practice your moves. However, I found that Guilty Gear X2 doesn't provide you with much assistance in learning how to do anything. They leave it up to you to figure out the combos. However, there is a sheet you can bring up that shows you the moves your specific character can pull off. Survival mode puts you up against waves of enemies to defeat. The mission mode puts you in a series of 50 fights that range in different victory conditions such as a time limit or may even allow the enemy to regain their health during a battle. Finally, the Story Mode puts your character in the middle of an unfolding story where all the battles are tied together.
Despite the large number of gameplay modes available, the Arcade, Story, and 2 Player modes will probably be the only ones you spend much time with.
I was quite surprised to hear the music in GGX2. It has some great guitar tracks that really fit in with the upbeat tempo of the game. Also, all of the voices have been left like they were in the original Japanese version. As a fan of Japanese anime, I have found that the voices used in Japan are better than anything we can do 99 times out of 100. Besides the music and voices, the sound effects are also good--but they don't stand out as much as the music and voices.
Controlling Guilty Gear X2 is very easy with the PS2 controller. While the default control scheme turns off analog control, you have the ability to turn it on. However, I doubt you will have much success with it compared to the standard d-pad. If there is one thing I can complain about with Guilty Gear X2 is that you are rewarded for button smashing. Using movements and buttons familiar to me from other 2D fighters, I was able to win most of my matches against the AI without many problems. However, matches against another person can be much more competitive. While I understand developer Arc System Works was striving to create a fighter that was less serious than Virtua Fighter 4, I hope someone comes up with a way to stop rewarding the button smashing. It takes any skill out of the game and leaves it up to luck.
Overall, from what I have now seen of this sequel, Guilty Gear X2 is a more polished version of the first game. However, even for those of you who loved the first game, this is no reason to not take a look at GGX2. It may not be perfect--but if you are looking for a new 2D fighter, this is definitely worth picking up.