MEGATech Reviews: Guilty Gear 2 Overture for PC (Steam)
Based on the title, you'd assume this was another fighting game in the Guilty Gear series. And you'd assume incorrectly. You'd also be wrong to think it's a new game.
  • Familiar Guilty Gear characters
  • Bold genre-defying crossover
  • Retro beat-em-up appeal
  • An identity crisis
  • Lackluster combat system
  • Really short missions
5.5Overall Score

Initially released on the Xbox 360 way back in 2007, the nearly decade-old Guilty Gear 2: Overture has now made a surprise appearance as a PC port via Steam. It might not be at the top of your gaming wish list, seeing how there are so many new titles being released all the time, but does that mean you should ignore what Arc System Works is bringing to the table? Or should you be like Futurama’s Fry and exclaim for them to take your money? Slash!

Not Your Grandma’s Guilty Gear

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The first thing you’ll need to know about Guilty Gear 2: Overture is that it doesn’t fall into the genre of so-called “anime fighters” occupied by titles like Skullgirls or other entries in the Guilty Gear franchise. It’s not a “fighting game” in the traditional sense at all, nor is it in 2D like all the other GG games.

Instead, what you get is a game that plays more like an action-adventure title with inspirations and influences coming from a number of other genres. You roam around a three-dimensional map, hacking and slashing your way through enemies. There is a little bit of the fighting game element here, since there are “moves” that you can perform with the different characters, including the ability to link together multiple attacks into combos. That includes air combos too, complete with some air dashing for good measure.

The visuals are clearly inspired by the other Guilty Gear games, but the characters are modeled in 3D. It’s not quite as jarring as when we played Street Fighter EX back in the day. This still very much fits in with the aesthetic that Arc System Works has developed for this franchise.

A Genre-Busting Button Masher

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To pigeonhole Guilty Gear 2: Overture into just a single genre is to do it a significant injustice. Yes, there are certainly elements of a 3D action adventure title here. You go around, explore a map, collect items and kill enemies. It’s mildly reminiscent of Devil May Cry or God of War, except not really.

As you progress through the story, which has some clear JRPG influence, you gain some gameplay elements that are reminiscent of the real-time strategy (RTS) and multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) genres. Just as League of Legends has champions, Guilty Gear 2: Overture has masters. You’re not offered much control over the minions that follow you around, aside from telling them to proceed or retreat.

Meanwhile, you continue to mash those buttons — I highly recommend playing this with an Xbox controller rather than with a keyboard/mouse combo, as it is understandably a very console-oriented title with a console-oriented control scheme — to kill the waves of enemies. You don’t have to worry about performing quarter circles for fireballs, but there are moves involved like tilting the left analog stick at the same time as hitting the attack button. That’s similar to Smash Bros., but not. You also get simple combos like X, X, X, X or X, X, X, Y, plus their airborne equivalents.

Busting Ghosts for Fun and Profit

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Following the mini map that’ll hover along the right side of the screen, you’ll explore different stages where there are “ghosts” planted in strategic open areas. These “ghosts” are where the bad guys will emerge and you can take over these “ghosts” by attacking them.

Meanwhile, the RTS part of the equation comes into play in that you have to monitor the movements of other enemies spawning from other ghosts. These NPCs can go after and attack your own ghost, which is typically some sort of statue, and the destruction of your ghost results in your failure of the mission. The point is that you’re supposed to manage your minions, guard your ghost, and defeat your enemy.

Mash Until It Works

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The crossing over of genre elements sounds like it could be novel and fun, but it ends up feeling more unsatisfying and tedious the more you play it. The cut scenes feel dragged out (maybe I’m just not an RPG guy) and the missions feel comparatively short and simple. I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing half the time, aside from running around and mashing the X button.

Arc System Works has layered on some complexity with the management of “tension” and “mana” in order to perform special moves or to use certain items, but they ultimately feel tacked on to a combat system that’s simultaneously too simple and unnecessarily complex. It becomes cumbersome and repetitive, all in a fit and flash of remarkably dated graphics.

MEGATechie Warrior of Dynasty or MEGATechie Strategy in Real-Time?

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I didn’t play Guilty Gear 2: Overture when it first came out on the Xbox 360. Perhaps I may have enjoyed it more then as a fun little diversion from the other titles I was playing at the time. The challenge with re-releasing it on the PC now is that it’s not quite old enough to tap into the nostalgia factor and it’s nowhere near new enough to compete against more recent releases.

It seems like any time a fighting game franchise attempts to cross over into action-adventure, the net result is unsatisfying for either audience. You don’t get the fighting game mechanics of something like the new Street Fighter V and you don’t get the polish of a proper RTS or action title either.

If they had priced this game as a sub-$5 impulse buy, I might have said there are worse ways to spend your latte money. As it stands, Overture is listed at $20 on Steam. And there are far better ways for you to spend that cash… like getting in on the freemium fun of the Killer Instinct Windows 10 port.

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