Guilty Gear 2: Overture - first impressions

Guilty Gear 2: Overture isn't a 2D fighter. Our first big look at the game has shown us that the series is going in a totally new direction for GG2, which is now a hybrid between the action and strategy genres. There are still elements of a fighting game, but it's not what we expected. You control one of six heroes with the ability to deploy servant units while zooming around the battlefield in real-time and helping your growing (or shrinking) army fight your opponent. There's still a flair for using fantastically powerful attacks, summoning fierce behemoths but still throwing in oddballs - like the banana peel traps - in the same way the GG series has always done. The fast style and myriad of attacks makes the game an assault of awesome on the eyes, but on the other hand, that'll probably mean sinking in some serious gameplay time before being able to wrap our heads around what the heck is going on. Oh well, we'll give it a shot anyway.

There's a campaign mode (that much we know for sure), but we didn't get to see it. Luckily, the game is designed to be primarily played 1 vs 1. Battles are waged across maps sprinkled with control points that feed your hero a steady flow of mana. You'll jet around using that mana to summon an army, use items and employ special attacks in an attempt to gain control of even more mana. With a large enough army, you can move in for the win by capturing your opponent's base or killing the enemy hero a certain number of times.

Every battle will be different whichever of the six heroes you choose; you'll have a unique army to summon as well as your own attacks. Some heroes can cut through most of an enemy army on their own, others will rely on servants for most of the shoulder work - each hero has different strengths and weaknesses. Although most of the heroes are new to GG2 (because the nature of the game is so different, the creators wanted to try mostly new character), there are a couple returning characters that have been adapted for RTS.

The game has been out on Xbox 360 for several months already in Japan, so we know that swapping back and forth through command menus while engaging in real-time fights can work. Some players have already reached an extremely high level of play, so this could become a seriously competitive game here, too. On Xbox Live, up to four players will be able to engage in free-for-all matches, which should be flat-out insanely paced action. There are plans for DLC being released after the game launches, but we don't have a release date yet, so we can't say when or what that'll be. We'd imagine there will be additional maps. There are only 5 right now, but maps are customizable in terms of layout, weather and useable items.

Guilty Gear 2: Overture left us wondering exactly what was going on, but it looked like a lot of fun. There were bright flashes, huge swords and monster armies of weird shapes and all sizes. The franchise has gone a long way from its animated fighting roots (although, we've heard rumors of something called GG Blaze Blue - that's all we can say). Overture still retains the feeling of the GG universe - It's fast, it's flashy and it's freakin' insane to watch.

Apr 22, 2008