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Old 04-06-2003, 03:20 AM   #129
Deal with it.
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,550
Guilty as charged

Guilty Gear X2 - Playstation 2 - Rating 7
When I think of great 2D fighters I think of Capcom and SNK. It's unusual to see another company come storming out of nowhere with a 2D fighter with higher resolution, more detail, some of the best animation seen in a game, and a strong fighting engine. But Arc System Works has done just that. Arc System Works? Huh? These days we're overloaded with piles of 3D fighters that are doing nothing for the genre, and there hasn't been a good 2D fighter seen in quite a long while.
Well, now there's reason to celebrate. GGX2, the sequel to the highly acclaimed original, is here in full force, thanks to Sammy Studios. It's quite a beauty, with sharp graphics running at 640 x 480 pixels and progressive scan capability. Quite an accomplishment. Once you see the results you'll want all future 2D games to do the same. In 2000, the original Guilty Gear X took the Japanese arcade community by storm with its hyper stylish graphics and gameplay. The characters were some of the funkiest ever seen in a fighter and were interesting to watch in action. That's not to say that GG bears no similarities to other games, particularly the Atlus effort Groove On Fight (Power Instinct) for Sega Saturn, Capcom's Darkstalkers series, and SNK's Samurai Spirits (Shodown). GGX2 takes the original and improves on it with more characters, better control, improved animation, and lots of extras.
There are 20 characters to select from and they're quite diverse. The entire cast from the first GG returns. Sol-Badguy and Ky-Kiske are this game's Ryu and Ken respectively (and both wield blades) and the others return (bosses like Dizzy playable, and Zato-1 renamed Eddie). Four new characters are added including Bridget, Zappa, Slayer, and the new playable boss I-NO.
As most anybody could plainly tell, a lot of the character names come from famous rock acts like Eddie (Van Halen), Slayer, (Frank) Zappa, Axl (Rose) Low, Testament, etc. Also, there's plenty of references to horror films such as The Ring (Zappa's 'destroy' move) and others. There's a lot to enjoy besides just the great visuals and gameplay. As I said, there are plenty of extras including a gallery section where you can earn and view various videos and drawings, including all the ending artwork in every mode. There's Arcade, M.O.M. (where you fight to earn medals), vs 2P, vs CPU, Survival, Mission (the most challengine mission mode you could ever come across), Story, and Training modes. You'll certainly have more than enough to keep yourself occupied for a long time.
The control is excellent but is riddled with a little too much excess if you ask me. You've got your double jump (triple if you're Chipp Zanuff), air-dash, high jump, recovery, combos and throws. Ok. But then you've also got dead angle counters, dust attacks, overdrive attacks, psych burst, faultless defense, instant kills (unless you're a certain character like Dizzy), jump cancels and roman cancels (phew). You've also got two meters to keep track of: tension and burst gauges. Sometimes, when all hell is breaking loose on the television I just can't help but think they've overdone it. The fighting gets a little too flashy at times, with 30-90 hit combos that make the screen look like it's going to explode. This does for fighters what Yuen Woo Ping does for movies; lots of flash and little substance. While there is a respectable amount of depth and fun to be found, you find that most everybody plays too similar with Ryu/Ken/Guile move commands, and once you memorize certain combos it becomes a button jam fest.
The graphics and animation are first rate but characters still share backgrounds like they did in GGX. Some backgrounds are nice but most of them are taken from part 1. I noticed the Anji Mito/Baiken background, where spirits are walking across a bridge, is clearly influenced by Spirited Away. I also noticed several other things, like the fact that Dizzy's attacks all look like Donovan Baine's special moves and that Faust looks like a ripoff of the Atlus fiend Joker from Persona 2 (they both wear a paper bag over their heads). The animation is impressive but not quite up to Street Fighter 3. In comparison to the original, GGX2 doesn't seem like a sequel so much as it does a 'champion edition' a-la Street Fighter because they really haven't added too much to the game.
The music is a mixed bag featuring rock songs that really do fit with the game's visual representation, but most of the music just dwindles because it's unimpressable and there aren't any memorable pieces (aside from one or two). The sounds are perfect and the voices are all nicely done. As a matter of fact, in story mode the characters have conversations before and after every match, and they kept the Japanese voice acting in and just added subtitles which was smart, especially seeing as they hired some famous voice actors in Japan to do the parts.
GGX2 is a great game with a few flaws here and there, but is well worth the invested time and effort. If you're dying for a good 2D fighting game, well, you really don't have much of a choice seeing as companies like Capcom don't seem to be releasing any as of late. GGX2 is pretty cheap at about $40 so it's worth the investment in my opinion. Arc System Works is a company worth supporting if only to see what they do next.

Last edited by Icarus4578; 10-10-2004 at 08:03 AM.
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