Guilty Gear -Strive- Review

As an outsider looking in, the Guilty Gear franchise was historically defined by three things:

  • Incredible anime art style
  • Rocking soundtrack
  • Gameplay mechanics so complex you needed a Ph. D. just to be competent

While the franchise’s core audience love it for those reasons, my limited time playing Guilty Gear Xrd was a real struggle. Even with my prior experience in other fighting games at a competitive level, its layers of gameplay systems and character-specific systems immediately overwhelmed me.

Complexity doesn’t necessarily make Guilty Gear bad. In fact, with fighting game design as a whole moving towards a more streamlined approach, Guilty Gear was one of the last bastions for 2D fighters with that level of depth.

As such, the reality of ArcSys streamlining the mechanics of Guilty Gear -Strive- in hopes of brining more players to fold is one that will ruffle feathers on both sides.

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The Guilty Gear -Strive- Beta Is a Mess, But One Aspect of the Experience Deserves Rave Reviews

During the last Guilty Gear -Strive- beta, I flagged a number of major complaints with the game’s online experience.

  1. The beta was wildly unstable. Outages happened for hours at a time, leaving many anxious fans out in the cold.
  2. The Habbo Hotel inspired lobby system was an absolutely horrible way of connecting with other players.
  3. Combat was driven by inferior delay-based netcode. Fights suffered from inputs getting delayed, which compromised the integrity of battle.

This time around, things are…different.

  1. The beta is again, wildly unstable. Arc System Works extended the beta to compensate for lost time.
  2. Despite overwhelming negative feedback from the community regarding the Hobbo Hotel style lobby system, Arc System Works kept it in the game. At least you can matchmake through training mode in the beta.
  3. Delay-based netcode was replaced with rollback netcode. And…

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There Should Be No More Excuses for Bad Fighting Game Netcode

For the most part, I’m loving Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[cl-r]. Having picked up the game a few weeks ago, its particular brand of anime fighter is deeply gratifying. I’m enjoying it so much that I’ve played dozens of matches through the game’s horrid netcode and will probably suffer through many more just to get a less-than-ideal fix. Even online matches against my brother – who is a 10-minute drive from me – feel sluggish. With everything going on, adequate online play would have been greatly appreciated.

It’s not entirely fair to bash Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[cl-r] for a problem that’s much larger than itself. Furthermore, with this game technically being the fifth update to an old game, one can argue that it’s hampered by delay-based netcode of the time.

Nevertheless, the subject of netcode in fighting games has recently hit a crescendo. As more games adopt better solutions to the fundamental problem, it’s become increasingly maddening to see major developers lean on inferior netcode solutions.

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Mortal Kombat X is Getting Enhanced Online Netplay

Recently, NetherRealm Studios announced that Mortal Kombat X was getting updated with GGPO-style rollback netcode. This is a huge win for the game and its fans, as the dynamic latency model currently used leads to a less-than-ideal online combat kombat experience. As far as I know, a complete overhaul of a game’s netcode this long after launch, at least in a fighting game, is unprecedented.

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