Shock Value: Guilty Gear XX The Midnight Carnival #Reload

By Kenneth Richardson

February 26, 2011

[Shock Value is a bi-weekly segment which runs down inexpensive titles that are more than worth the money spent.]

  • Title: Guilty Gear XX The Midnight Carnival #Reload
  • Developer: Aksys
  • Publisher: Sammy Studios
  • Genre: Fighting
  • Release: September 2008
  • Platforms: Xbox 360
  • Pricing: Download Only, 1200 MS Points

If you are a fan of fighting games and you aren’t drooling over the newly released Marvel vs. Capcom 3 then something is definitely amiss. Maybe you’re part of the crowd who thinks that the game is just too easy to play and as a result can’t enjoy it, or maybe it is a little too popular and you enjoy games with more of a cult status.

If you’re that fan, then Guilty Gear X2 #Reload for the Xbox 360 might just be the game you’re looking for. Being a fighting game fan, you’ve definitely heard of BlazBlue and furthermore have probably heard people compare it to Guilty Gear more than a few times. This is because the games are from the same developer, Arc System Works.

It’s true that many of the game play mechanics in GG have simply been refined and brought over to the critically acclaimed BB, which means that the game play in this fighter is also deep and varied. The learning curve is extremely high in this game, so the more complex you like your fighters, the more you’ll enjoy this game.

Unlike BB, it makes very few attempts to walk new players through the intricacies of combat. Some players may count this as a bonus and some may dislike it. Even though it isn’t as pretty or functional as its HD younger brother, it is still a fighting game unlike any other.

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They’ve taken the less is more approach with the roster. While twenty three may not seem like many characters next to newer games, you’d be hard pressed to find a fighter in which the characters are this different from each other. You’ve got a female samurai with a mechanical arm and an eye painted onto her forehead, a gypsy possessed by a demon and a ninja who fights using her hair.

In terms of how each character plays, you’ve got the fighting game staples: the glass cannon who can dish damage but can’t take it, the tank who is immobile but can dish and take damage and so on and so forth. The game play is so fast it is frightening. Characters fly back and forth on the screen in a mirage of bright colors and effects and the action is so hectic you’ll have a hard time keeping up with it.

The best way to play is offense based, though you’ve still got tools like the bursts to regain some space when your foe starts pressuring you. There are also instant kills in the game, but the method needed to activate them is pretty stringent, so don’t worry about just getting murdered by them outright.

The visuals are crisp, anime and colorful. Again, it doesn’t reach the level of euphoric eye candy like BB, but this is a pretty old title. The metal and clash soundtrack is contributed by Daisuke Ishiwatari, who was also responsible for the music in BB. Isn’t it shocking how many similarities the games have?

It has a satisfying number of game modes. The standard arcade, survival, versus and training modes are all in tact and it also has a neat score attack mode called Medal of Millionaire. On top of that, it has a story mode, mission mode and a gallery.

Unfortunately, the game doesn’t feature online play anymore because MS closed down the original Xbox Live. If they hadn’t though, you would have been able to play against worldwide players. Does the game feature enough content to warrant a purchase without online play? I think so, even though many hardcore fighting fans will disagree with me. In truth, you wouldn’t have done much playing online anyways. The players, especially the Japanese ones, were so good that the fight had barely began before it was over.

I say that at a price of $15, there is no reason you shouldn’t experience an awesome entry in perhaps the biggest cult fighting series of all time. It has never had the following of Street Fighter, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t just as storied. This figher is no cake walk. The inputs are stringent and concise, the mechanics are deep and complicated and the game play is fast and intense. If all that sounds good to you, then you should be downloading this title right now.

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Kenneth Richardson

Kenneth is a Graphics and Game Design student who's worked as an author for since June of 2010. His favorite gaming genres are Fighting, Role Playing and Sadistic Action games like Ninja Gaiden and Bayonetta. In addition to gaming, he is also strongly interested in music, fashion, art, culture, literature, education, religion, cuisine, photography, architecture, philosophy, film, dance, and most forms of creative expression.

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