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Platform

Playstation 2

 

Genre

Fighting

 

Publisher

Sammy

 

Developer

Arc System Works

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q4 2004

 

- Still pretty to look at

- Robot in RPG mode is a hoot

 

 

- Supporting up to 4 players greatly diminishes ability to do giant combos

- Beat 'em Up Mode is generic

- RPG mode is tedious

 

 

Review: Guilty Gear X2 (Playstation 2)

Review: Capcom vs SNK 2 (Playstation 2)

Review: Tech Romancer (Dreamcast)

Review: Super Smash Brothers Melee (Gamecube)

 

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Guilty Gear: Isuka

Score: 7.0/10

 

When Guilty Gear X2 hit the Playstation 2, it caught the attention of quite a number of fighting game fans.  There were a ton of characters, each with some very unique moves, which in turn opened the door for a huge variety of combos.  On top of this, the 2D visuals were phenomenal, and there was the soundtrack littered with more buttrock than anyone could shake a stick at.  Now, with Guilty Gear: Isuka, Sammy tries to take what worked in X2, and toss in some neat ideas for new modes of play.  The problem is that these ideas simply stay ideas, as the new additions to the Guilty Gear series have their heart in the right place, but the execution just doesn’t work.

 

guilty-gear-isuka-1a.jpg (39640 bytes)          guilty-gear-isuka-2a.jpg (48560 bytes)

 

The most readily noticeable new feature in Isuka comes in the game’s ability to support four people fighting at once, be it two-on-two, two-on-one, or three-on-one.  In some ways it is a fun new way to play, as it makes for some very frantic matches.  However, it also leaves players far more open for attacks.  While unloading a combo on one opponent, a player can be hit from behind by someone else.  As such, one of the best facets of Guilty Gear X2 is removed from Isuka: the ability to do huge combos.  If you’re looking to pull off absolutely gigantic combos like you did in X2, the chances of getting your hit count into the stratosphere on a combo are slim and none here.  On top of this, having to manually turn around to hit someone behind you feels a little bit awkward.

 

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Two new game modes have also been added, first being a side-scrolling beat ‘em up mini-game a la Streets of Rage called Boost Mode, where players take one of the games characters and pound away on hordes of mindless thugs.  The second new mode is a character-building, RPG-esque mode where characters take control of a robot that can slowly learn every move in the game.  The robot learns moves by going through the beat ‘em up mini-game and collecting experience points which 

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can be spent on learning new moves.  It’s fun slowly making the robot stronger, and the way it interprets the moves in the game is good for a chuckle, but ultimately the leveling process is very slow and time consuming.

 

In terms of visuals, the game’s graphics are on par with that of Guilty Gear X2, which is certainly not a bad thing considering the caliber of the game’s visuals.  Also still present are the copious amounts of cheesy heavy metal.  One area that has taken a dive is the story in Isuka, as playing through the arcade mode this time out more or less plows through the opponents, without going into much in the way of a narrative.  

 

guilty-gear-isuka-3a.jpg (34339 bytes)          guilty-gear-isuka-4a.jpg (41598 bytes)

 

By and large, Guilty Gear: Isuka hurts itself more than it helps, making it a weaker outing than that of its predecessor.  While it may look cool on paper to have four players fighting each other at once, it makes it very difficult to pull off big combos, which was one of the biggest draws of X2.  Compounding the problem, the two new bonus modes ultimately feel flat, as they are either just too generic (the side-scrolling brawler), or too tedious (the RPG-esque robot mini-game).  If you want a taste of fighting in the Guilty Gear universe, skip this title, and get Guilty Gear X2 instead.

 

Mr. Nash

December 20, 2004

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