Developer: Arc Systems Work
Release Date: November 9, 2004
Buy 'GUILTY GEAR ISUKA': PlayStation 2
For those who never heard of the Guilty Gear series, it's quite the popular 2D fighter, and, personally, one of the most advanced. We're just starting to get releases of these games stateside, in the form of Guilty Gear, Guilty Gear XX, and #Reloaded. Guilty Gear Isuka, the newest addition to this series, is not utilizing the same system as the others, opting instead for a new approach. Let's see if this game can live up to the Guilty Gear name.
The first thing you must know is that it's no longer the basic one-on-one fighter. It's now a multiplayer brawler taking a similar path as Onimusha: Blade Warriors, which can be either good or bad, depending on your preferences.
The game plays identically to prior versions, with the addition of a few new buttons so if you have played Guilty Gear or Guilty Gear XX, the same combos that you have mastered will still work.
There are several modes available: Arcade, Training, GG Boost, and Factory. You might notice that it's missing the main mission mode that was present in other Guilty Gears, but it seems that the GG Boost mode is supposed to take its place.
Arcade mode is the same as Guilty Gear XX's survival mode; it's a continuous battle against the computer until you reach the final level or die, whichever comes first. You will experience first hand the one-versus-two battles, and boy, can the computer take some cheap shots. Thankfully, you can always avoid their attacks and hope one of them accidentally beats on the other. If at any time you are feeling too much pressure from an enemy, it's wise to change levels or use the new move similar to the dust move, but rather than kicking them into the air, it kicks them onto the next level. The default key for this would be R1 and triangle at the same time, with R1 and circle used to change levels.
For all players, I strongly suggest going into the training mode in order to get acquainted with the new fighting system. Even if you remember the same combos, the fact that you have to rotate your player to the right direction changes the entire feel of the game. If you can get a grasp of this new system, you can create creative combos, such as utilizing the wall to juggle an enemy in one direction and then getting behind them to juggle towards the other wall.
In GG Boost mode, you take a character through a wide variety of battles which aren't your standard fighter fare. In fact, these battles utilize a system identical to Final Fight, where you need to beat on a several enemies at a time. It's a very interesting mode, but it's just not Guilty Gear anymore. The primary objective is to defeat all enemies on the stage, and at the final area of that level, you will need to defeat a boss. To do so, you will have to first choose the player you wish to play (my favorite is Jam). You then take her into the mode and play her like you did in the older Guilty Gears, since the move sets are identical. It sounds easy, but don't get your hopes up because it's not as easy as it sounds, especially when you are completely surrounded by the enemy. Super and instant kills don't work as well as they did in the previous games.
In Guilty Gear, you are always facing your enemy, but in Isuka, you are not. In order to face the enemy when they run pass or jump over you, you need to tap a button to change the direction you are facing. You will see above your character an arrow button showing the direction that your character is facing. If you don't master this, you are the enemy's punching bag. I personally do not like this idea at all because the turning time is somewhat long and not as fluid as it should be, making me even more vulnerable during the turns. Even though I can't turn well, the fact that there are several levels in a stage -- a similar mechanism to Blade Warriors' system -- saves me. One thing that these two differ is the fact that Blade Warriors is 3D and completely different from its original genre while Isuka is still a fighter with its original 2D feel.
The game has almost the same graphics as you would see in any other version. There are no changes to facial features, no real change in costumes, and the only difference in this one is that there is at least one new character, “A.K.A.,” who seems like she would be Ino's sister, wielding a huge key instead of a guitar. Another major difference that separates this from the others is the background graphics, which feature more decorative items and dynamic movement to make the arena seem alive. Personally, I like the stage in space because the moving monsters and the moon atmosphere are great.
The icing on the cake, however, lies within the audio tracks. Guilty Gear always has a really good audio selection, and Isuka is no exception. With new rock/metal tracks, you can never hate the music in the game. Arc has also kept the original voices in the game so we don't have to deal with some of the horrid dubs that are heard in other games. They even kept the original Japanese names; some of the names are literally in their original Kanji form
With several levels per battlefield, you can add so much more to the game, and that is exactly what the developers did, adding in the multiplayer capabilities and allowing for two-versus-two battles, in addition to other configurations. The extra level also gives more room to fight, but probably the most interesting thing about the battle is the fact that everyone can hurt each other, even if you are a team member.
Overall, Arc did a good job staying true to the Guilty Gear name, but like I said, the several levels and changing directions can be cumbersome to gamers who have mastered the originals. However, if you are willing to take the time to master the new system, this can be quite a fun game. It is a lot faster paced than Blade Warriors and surprisingly you can somewhat button mash in this game (Usually doesn't work out though since the game requires a massive amount of skill). If you were looking for a replacement for Smash Brothers Melee, this is definitely not the game for you, but for those looking for a new fighting game, I strongly suggest trying this out, you may end up enjoying it because the game is pretty well planned out, with a great audio track and new backgrounds
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