Learning to Love Guilty Gear Strive in 2023

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Learning to Love Guilty Gear Strive in 2023

Guilty Gear Strive steadily approaches its 3rd year of service. We checked out Arc System's Fighting Game love letter to Rock'n Roll and clarify if it's still worth getting into it.

Guilty Gear Strive is probably the best example of a game released at the right time in the right place.

With all other major Fighting Games slowly winding down and getting ready for the generational leap, ArcSystems swooped in and released what might be their best title yet.

The new Guilty Gear looks amazing, plays fantastically, and is easy to grasp for players. Add to that a soundtrack that slaps harder than a fullscreen combo and you have yourself the fighting game that mainevented EVO in 2022.

But with a new Street Fighter and Tekken right around the corner, how does the most stylish fighting game stack up in 2023?

Guilty Gear Strive Fighting Game

The Smell of the Game(Play)

Talking about fighting games is always difficult because eventually, every newcomer will run into an impossible information brick wall.

Frame data, 15-hit combos, and all those characters that have their own quirks to work out and react to. It's too much of a mountain to climb before you even get to a point where all of this makes sense to you.

And just like Dragon Ball FighterZ, Strive tries to lower the barrier to entry by making all those concepts a little more digestible.

But unlike Dragon Ball FighterZ, you now have options now that lower the frustrations of getting your ass beaten.

It's still not perfect by any means, but Guilty Gear Strive is relatively easy in execution. And once you learn a few combo setups and how to punish, you can focus more on honing your craft without getting absolutely destroyed.

All of this is just a longwinded way of saying, Guilty Gear Strive is a great game if you want to get into fighting games but offers enough for veterans to stick around.

Especially since it foregoes the usual trappings of the anime-fighter subgenre. Characters with mechanics and gimmicks are so complex, a degree and extended training course are required to get a baseline understanding.

Guilty Gear Strive Fighting Game

Love the Subhuman Self (and Content)

The amount of content in Strive is absolutely insane. After all, it is a love letter to the long-running series and feels very much like the grand finale for most of its characters.

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There is a story mode, which is more or less two seasons worth of anime rendered in ArcSystem's beautiful art style that you can watch at your own convenience. And you don't even have to fight in between major story beats.

And if you're not familiar with the Guilty Gear franchise, don't worry. Strive comes with an exhausting glossary that includes the history of the entire franchise since its inception in 1998.

An excellent training mode that comes with all the bells and whistle's you want in a fighting game, minus the actual frame data. And expensive list of missions that in egregious detail explain everything you need to know about the gameplay.

Even how to handle certain characters and their super annoying abilities, so you can spend more time practicing what you need to practice instead of trying to figure out what you did wrong in the first place.

A great addition is also the combo lab. Here you can practice and save your own combos and upload them to the games server. You can also download other peoples combo's for each specific character to practice in a self-made mission mode.

As for ranked play and online play, Guilty Gear Strive really loves to shove people into its various lobbies. You can create and decorate your own, or attempt to climb the tower.

It's not perfect by any means and as of writing, playing online and matching up with other players can be a little rough. But the matchmaking itself does a great job of putting you up against players of your skill level.

So generally, Guilty Gear is bursting with combat if you're here for cutscenes and or online play. For singleplayer there is your bog standard Arcade mode.

But outside of a number of bot fights with some little voiced cutscenes in between, it'll get dull really fast.

Guilty Gear Strive Fighting Game

Find Your One Way (And Character)

Guilty Gear Strive features a diverse roster of characters that only expands as the game's lifecycle progresses. And there is enough variety here to please even the hardest of critics.

I mean who doesn't want to play an artificial doomsday device with two gigantic swords or the world's most excitable, buff 5-year-old?

Characters in Strive ooze charisma, be it unique voice lines and animations depending on who they're up against.

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And that doesn't even scratch the surface, especially with those bangers they call their theme songs. Guilty Gear has always been a love letter to Rock n' Roll but Strive's soundtrack takes it to another level.

Just look up the 1-year anniversary music video they showed at EVO last year.

Mechanically, they all distinguish themselves from each other. Every single character still offers that signature Guilty Gear depth while also being relatively easy to pick up.

Be it Ky Kiske's take on the Shoto-Archetype (He has a Sword) or Bridget's Yo-yo that makes for an excellent tool for spacing and lets her pressure across long distances.

It's really hard to recommend anyone since all the characters promote their own playstyle, and with the Roman Cancel's the possibilities for combos and big brain plays seem endless.

The best way to pick a character is probably just taking whoever you fancy into the dojo and messing around with them. Get a really good feeling for their individual attacks and practice their special moves.

Guilty Gear Strive Fighting Game


What Do You Fight For (In Guilty Gear Strive)

If you want to get into fighting games or are just looking for something to cut your teeth at before Street Fighter 6 and Tekken 8 roll around. Guilty Gear Strive is probably the best fighting game to pick up right now.

The community is still extremely active with a very healthy competitive scene so it won't be hard to find people to play and practice with.

If you're coming in with no experience in 2D fighting games, Guilty Gear Strive is probably one of the most accessible ones out there.

You'll spend more time learning and honing your basics instead of trying to hit extremely dodgy multihit combo's that'll send your opponent across space and time.

With a fantastic roster of characters, plenty of support from the developers, and extensive effort put into the tutorial.

So if you're looking for a game you can play for hundreds if not thousands of hours, only to get stomped at your local tournament in pools.

There are worse options out there and at least you're playing the most stylish Rock Opera in Gaming.

For more on Guilty Gear and all things Esports, visit us here at ESTNN

Learning to Love Guilty Gear Strive in 2023
Timo Reinecke
Has once claimed that FSH is the only job in FFXIV worth playing and stands by that firmly. Top Guy, Smart Guy, Educated Speaker. (sometimes) Writer of all things FFXIV, FGC, News, Reviews and More