Pros: A fighting game with four player 2D fighting and gorgeous
characters? We love it already.
Cons: This game is a mere update of Guilty Gear XX.
video game series is going to push the 2D fighting genre, it's going to
be Sammy's Guilty Gear series. With a strong following in Japan and a
niche fan base in America the Guilty Gear series has made a splash in
saturated genre. If you haven't seen a Guilty Gear game before, try to
imagine giant anime characters fighting each other in dramatic 2D
battlefield. The unique fighting styles, excellent character design and
diverse types of attacks puts Guilty Gear in a league of its own. The
latest installment, Guilty Gear Isuka, adds a few new elements to expand
In Guilty Gear Isuka each character starts out with two
souls. Each soul fills up your life bar completely and you fight until
all of the opponent's souls are gone. Underneath the life meter is your
guard meter, after so many blocks it runs out and leaves your vulnerable
for a few seconds. There is also a tension gauge, which lets you use a
number of useful moves that are familiar to the Guilty Gear series such
as the Fortress Defense, Roman Cancels and Dead Angle attacks. At a
quick glance it doesn't look like there isn't much to differentiate
Guilty Gear Isuka from say Street Fighter 3: Third Strike or SNK vs.
Capcom Chaos. Although, if you do play this game and give it a fair
chance you will see that much like Tekken, Guilty Gear Isuka has much to
The Guilty Gear series has always been about perfect timing. In
Tekken advanced players use "just frames", exact animation frames to
execute powerful attacks. The precision timing required to do moves like
those are what Sammy requires players to do. Not everyone can execute a
False Roman Cancel, then again it is what separates a great player from
a moderate one. The sheer number of characters in the game is another
thing that players can spend months to master. Each character has an
entirely different style of fighting from Testament's grim reaper
slashes to A.B.A.'s enormous key throwing. Since each character is so
unique, with different move lists 27 different characters means there is
a lot of gameplay to be had here. Guilty Gear Isuka balances the some of
the exploited moves in Guilty Gear XX: Reload and Guilty Gear XX. These
minor tweaks change the Guilty Gear XX series just a little bit.
The most noticeable and welcome addition to the series is the
possibility of 2 versus 2 fighting. Fights now take place on two lines,
one in the foreground and the other in the background. You can only
attack opponents on the same line as you are and you can switch lines at
anytime. Having four characters on the same time can be a little
chaotic, but Sammy Studios have a few features that add polish. First of
all you don't automatically turn towards an enemy. Players need to press
a button to do this, which seems annoying at first. Although, soon
players will find it essential to do so. The manual turn button allows
you to focus on attacking one player and then quickly turn around to
attack an attacker from behind. Guilty Gear Isuka also has players share
"souls", instead of automatically eliminating a player that lost two of
souls. This means if you partner loses both of their souls and you have
one left it transfers over to your buddy. This system is works out well
when playing with other people since it poises a balance between good
players and excellent ones. If you want a real challenge you can do a 2
on 1 fight where two people can take on an expert player or computer.
The addition of four player support instead of a standard 1 on 1 versus
mode is brilliant.
Guilty Gear Isuka has excellent graphics and animations. Sammy has
always made sure that Guilty Gear games ooze with style. Of course Isuka
is no different from the other games in the series. The large sprites
mesh well on an animated two dimensional background. Each of the
characters look like they've been beautifully hand drawn. However, this
will fail to impress most gamers because Guilty Gear Isuka is based on a
graphics engine that is three years old. At this point the graphics just
can't compare to more recent games, especially 3D ones. Another
questionable graphic problem comes up in the four player mode. If all of
the characters attack at once or worse jump attack at once, you'll
notice slowdown. In a game where timing is everything slowdown changes
the premise of the game.
Guilty Gear Isuka is truly the pinnacle of the Guilty Gear series.
Take what you love from the series, the unique characters, excellent
animation and amount to master. Add to that four player action and
gameplay balances and you've got a hallmark fighting game.
A lot of the crucial menus are in English and it doesn't take
understanding another language to understand "fight".
We have a copy of the US game too and have been playing through it
looking for differences between the two games. For starters the US
version is obviously in English, which makes customizing Robo Ky II
easier. Other than that there are no special new characters to be
found and there doesn't appear to be any major gameplay tweaks. It looks
like the US version is essentially the same as the Japanese version of
If you've never touched a Guilty Gear game before you should give the
latest game, Isuka, a chance. The original two on two fighting and
intense number of moves to master will quench the thirst of players
looking for a good fighting game.