What’s the weirdest reason why you decided you were going to get a game when it came out? I never really had an out-there reason for getting a game in the past. It’s usually because I heard great things about it, I just like the franchise or I enjoyed myself when I tried a small portion of it. That was then but that’s all about to change. That’s because I’ve made up my mind and I’m going to get Guilty Gear Strive, the latest entry in Arc System Works fairly long-lived fighting game franchise.
What was the linchpin which cemented my choice to get the game? It’s not because I played the beta. I have heard good things about it but I generally avoided the franchise in the past so I have no history with it. The reason why I’m getting Guilty Gear Strive is because I fell in a rabbit hole after listening to The Disaster of Passion, May’s theme song from the game.
Mind you, the video above is the complete tune. I didn’t even get that when I fell in love with the song! I only heard something like the first half and it was enough to cement my choice to get Guilty Gear Strive! Things, of course, aren’t as simple as that. The Disaster of Passion was more like a catalyst which got me interested in the game and, the more I learned about it, the more I wanted to try it out. So much so that I’ll buy it when it comes out!
This is pretty amazing since, in all honesty, I’ve always been super intimidated by the Guilty Gear franchise. I’ve seen the game played in fighting game tournaments and I could never follow a lot of what was happening. I could see the combos and the damage being done and all that but, while my eyes were watching, my brain couldn’t actually decipher the action. My only real memory of any Guilty Gear match would be Woshige’s premature “what are you standing up for?” popoff during EVO 2015. I mean, that’s memorable because I totally understood the context and it’s hilarious!
Even with that, I never really followed the Guilty Gear scene because of how much I don’t know about the franchise’s gameplay. It may be a fighting game but there’s just so many game mechanics I’m totally unfamiliar with. What’s a Just? What about a Roman Cancel? How about explaining what a Burst does? I could try to learn those terms and what they do but, since I’ve never played a Guilty Gear game before and had no interest in playing it before, it’s not like I could put that knowledge into practice. Because of that, I tended to just not watch the Guilty Gear tournaments or skip over them and straight into the other games I know like Dragon Ball FighterZ, Mortal Kombat, Tekken, Marvel vs. Capcom and Street Fighter. They were the big ticket items for me and Guilty Gear was just the opening act. An opening act I could skip.
Then the buildup for Guilty Gear Strive came about. Arc System Works released the beta for the game and, as expected, the big names in the fighting game community tried it out. Once again, I tended to avoid the videos as I wasn’t all that interested in it anyway. However, there was one video I did click on which I decided to see. It was Maximilian Dood rating the Guilty Gear soundtrack preview.
I’m a huge fan of Maximilian Dood and his content. He puts out a ton of content that’s just enjoyable for me and he just seems like a totally cool dude. He also puts out a series of videos called Rate the Super, wherein he gives a score to the Supers found in fighting games but he doesn’t limit himself to just that. The series has branched out to things like Rate the Costume and Rate the Fatality to name a few. The video had Max review the preview song snippets for the character theme songs for Guilty Gear Strive and, since I like his vids, I gave that a watch.
While I will respect his opinion, there are times when I don’t see eye to eye with Max. May’s theme is one of them. His reaction, while funny, was something I disagreed with. It’s more of a genre taste and, since The Disaster of Passion was J-Pop mixed with punk rock, it was right up my alley. It reminded me a lot of Paramore’s Misery Business in a way and I do love me some Paramore! So I just loved The Disaster of Passion. I loved it so much I had to know a little more about May herself.
I wanted to see how she played because I thought her song sounded cute and cool. It made me wonder if the character was like that. Lucky for me Arc System Works already put out a video illustrating what May can do in Guilty Gear Strive. What I didn’t expect was for her to be a charge character! I didn’t think Guilty Gear or any Arc System Works fighting game for that matter had any characters who uses charge motions! I love charge characters a lot so that immediately made me want to try out May!
However, that would be me putting the wagon in front of the horse. While I was interested in giving her a whirl, I still was unfamiliar with all of Guilty Gear’s core gameplay mechanics. What good is trying out a character if I don’t know the basics? Arc System Works got me covered there as well!
They probably figured out some players like myself who are intimidated by how alien Guilty Gear is and released a video tutorial on their YouTube channel explaining all of the core mechanics, such as what a Just block, Roman Cancel and a Burst move is and how they’re used. I do wish they used the fighting game community terminology though as they called things like the Just block something like Faultless Defense or something like that.
I am glad I watched the tutorial video, though, as it did a good enough job explaining how to play Guilty Gear Strive. Probably not as in-depth as it could be but enough so that a Guilty Gear novice can wrap his or her head around what the heck is happening.
This then led me to check out what the other characters can do and I was really impressed with some of the characters. Some of them, like Sol Badguy and Ky Kiske seemed very vanilla. Even May felt like that as well, if I’m being honest. However, characters like Axl Low with his sickle follow ups, Faust with his randomize projectiles, Zato-1 and his shadow attacks and Nagoriyuki’s Blood Rage state feels very refreshing and unique. Most importantly, all the characters looked like a lot of fun! This is in contrast with how I saw them before, which was just too complex.
With all of that, I finally saw what Guilty Gear fans saw in the game: it was fun! Yes, it can be complicated but different from my original impression that it was too complex to actually learn. It seemed a lot more simple than I thought. Of course, I could be wrong and, as this would be my first Guilty Gear game, I could be making a very huge mistake. I probably will never be really good at it, to be honest. However, the main point is it looks like a lot of fun, a drastic change from how I thought Guilty Gear was before.
I won’t let my doubts cloud my judgement, though. I will be getting Guilty Gear Strive the next chance I get. All of that is thanks to a cute little pirate girl’s bop of a song. That’s not to say the other songs like The Smell of the Game, the game’s main theme song, isn’t cool. I like it as well…
…it’s just not the earworm that is May’s theme song.
What’s your favorite song in Guilty Gear Strive? Let me know in the comments section below!