Guilty Gear is an old series that started around 1998 that was developed by Arc System Works, Guilty Gear X2 Reload was released around 2004 for PlayStation 2 in the era of Fighting Game supremacy. Guilty Gear X2 Reload has been available on PC since around 2004-2006, but with the game being taken off some sites and gaming platforms it has not solidified a spot on Steam. The version on Steam isn’t much more than a port however, with very little changed.
Guilty Gear X2 Reload is set in a world recovering from a 100-year-war between Man-Made Bio-Organic weapons that were dubbed “Gears”. In a weird world of Pirates, hunters and religious fanatics you play a plethora of different characters, from each of the before-stated distinctions on top of Demons and yo-yo slingers. Depending on which character you follow, 20 to begin with and 3 to unlock, you will see different stories and sides of the conflict.
The story differs greatly between the protagonists, though they mainly consist of around 7 battles between the other characters in order to either hunt down a Gear or to simply survive in the world. Each story will take around 15 minutes to complete, if you’re competent with fighter games. With the beginning 20 characters the game will last up to 6 hours, though there are Survival and Arcade modes to be had to increase the game time.
Being such an old Fighter Game, Guilty Gear is very hard to master and its controls can be very confusing when first starting up. Combos take great concentration and memory to pull off, with you starting as low as 3-5 hits for the first few hours until being able to link up ground, air and special moves to hit over 10-20 hits. The control scheme is very archaic, with single punch buttons to 3-hit weapon attacks, you really need to read the move list to get anywhere in the damage department.
Besides the normal attacks you will also build up a tension gauge through offensive actions and decrease it through defensive actions. When the gauge is filled you will be able to go into Super mode by pushing the face buttons altogether, Circle, Square, Triangle and X. Whilst in Super mode the character has access to special techniques or their super move to cause devastating damage. Burst can be used to counter this which is unleashed in mid-air.
Guilty Gear X2 Reload has 8 modes of gameplay; Story, Arcade, Survival, M.O.M, Mission, Training and the 2 versus modes. Sadly there is no form of online fighting, due to the game coming from a year that lacked much multiplayer to begin with. Story mode is basically a 7 battle stream with a selected character as they go on their own quest. Arcade is a random battle mode whereas Survival is where you choose a character and last as long as you can. Mission mode puts you in different scenarios, for example a match that only allows special damage.
Overall Thoughts and Feelings
The music is still brilliant, combined with Japanese rock and metal tunes that fit the game’s themes and the fast paced action, to the slower pieces for the in-between conversations. Each song compliments the scenes they are played in and up the tension and energy for the following battles, the intro song setting the entire game up to boot. Guilty Gear has always had an amazing soundtrack, and having it ported to the recent years hasn’t diminished its quality at all.
The graphics are definitely dated, with upscaling making the game incredibly pixelated and even on the native resolution it still looks blurry and rough on the edges. Though this can be expected as this is merely a port of a port and not a HD remake at all. The flashy moves and fast paced action isn’t affected much by this however as you will be more focused on the battle then the prettiness of the game.
For a fighting game in today’s age, Guilty Gear X2 Reload is very lacking, in both terms of combos and special moves, in comparison to games like Marvel Vs Capcom or Injustice. Guilty Gear has no level destruction or items pickups, no partner moves or extreme finishers, there is a lack of Online and the controls can be very convoluted. The game holds more of a nostalgia feeling than anything else and if you own a newer age Fighting game you might be better off playing that, though that’s not to say Guilty Gear is a bad game, it is fun but with other games on offer it might deserve a miss.
Overall I give Guilty Gear X2 Reload a 3/5, it was good for its time but age hasn’t treated its gameplay fairly and there is too many games in the genre out recently that put it to shame. Fans of the game will love to hear it is no available on Steam, only if they didn’t’ get it from a previous site however. People who have never played X2 or any other Guilty Gear should stay clear of the game, as they may find a huge disappointment.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.