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Guilty Gear 2: Overture Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Released a decade after the original, Guilty Gear 2: Overture turns the imaginative 2D fighting game into a middling action/adventure game. Playing like a cross between Dynasty Warriors and Brutal Legend, this disjointed sequel offers a convoluted story and shallow gameplay. This is a bold decision that did not work out for Arc System Works. Rating: 40%
Guilty Gear 2: Overture
Guilty Gear 2: Overture Guilty Gear 2: Overture Guilty Gear 2: Overture Guilty Gear 2: Overture
  • Review Score:

  • C-
Gamers expect a few things from a sequel. No matter the genre or console, everybody wants a sequel to take all the best ideas from the original and expand on the theme. They want a bigger, more ambitious version of the first game; something that fulfills the potential of the franchise. Apparently the developers at Arc System Works have a completely take on what a sequel should be, because Guilty Gear 2: Overture scraps everything people liked about the 2D fighting game and transforms the series into a 3D Dynasty Warriors rip-off.

Of course, I suspect most fans of the series already know this. Originally released on the Xbox 360 in 2007, Guilty Gear 2 was a sharp departure that caught a lot of fans off guard. A decade later, the game is finally making its way to Steam in a brand new package. While everybody else may have already gotten over the dramatic shift in genres, I had no clue. I went into Guilty Gear 2: Overture expecting an old school fighting game, only to discover something much different.

You play Sol Badguy, a bounty hunter who has dedicated his life to destroying a race of magical bioweapons called Gears. Five years after the events of the first game, our hero finds himself hunted by a group of doll-like women armed with shop tools. What's more, the king is in desperate need of rescuing and the only way to save the day is to play through a series of repetitive strategy missions and beat back the invading forces.

Playing out like a cross between Dynasty Warriors and Brutal Legend, the average Guilty Gear 2 stage sees Sol Badguy fighting back enemies, claiming land to build up his army and then using his power to defeat the enemy's main base. Both sides spam the playfield with Masterghosts and reinforcements, so there's a constant push until somebody can gain the advantage.

What sets this apart from the typical Dynasty Warriors clone is that the player will need to do more than just beat back bad guys. On top of capturing strategic areas on the map, Sol will also need to assign troops to defend the seized land, giving this more of a real-time strategy vibe. In typical fashion, we're introduced to new units as we progress through the game's 19 missions.

Guilty Gear 2: Overture (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

As 3D brawlers go, this one checks off most of the boxes. It's easy to pick up and the fast-paced action leaves a good first impression. But as our hero digs deeper into the quest, the player will realize just how limited the gameplay is. While the basic set-up is sound, it doesn't do enough with the mechanics to keep the levels interesting for long. I compared it to Brutal Legend earlier, but at least that had a nice variety of unit types to tinker with. The missions in Guilty Gear 2 are nowhere near as diverse.

The gameplay is fine, but also on the simple side. No matter what character you play, pulling off the attacks and special combos are largely the same. It's simple and accessible to even the greenest fight fan, which is both good and bad news. Because the gameplay is so easy, veteran gamers will likely find that it's ultimately too limited. It's also weirdly bad about sprinting controls, making simple movement a real pain.

While I'll confess that it took me by surprise, I'm not necessarily opposed to sequels taking radical departures. Had this been a better brawler/strategy-hybrid, I doubt I would have any issue with Guilty Gear going this direction. But for a game so steeped in rock music, I found the designs of the world and characters to be wholly lacking. Instead of being defined by its influences, this sequel comes off looking like every other Dynasty Warriors clone.

Guilty Gear 2: Overture (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

This is especially frustrating when you look at Brutal Legend, a game that bleeds its heavy metal inspiration. Every story beat, visual flourish and character choice came from the culture surrounding music. All that is lost in Guilty Gear 2. The gorgeously realized 2D stages have been transformed into generic locations with no defining features. It's all so bland.

This is a franchise with so much potential for spin-offs and expanded story building, yet Guilty Gear 2: Overture flushes all that away with boring level designs, an indecipherable storyline and simplistic gameplay. As sequels go, this one doesn't expand on what made the original so good. Instead it ditches everything we liked about Guilty Gear and takes a huge step backwards. It's a bold decision that did not work out for Arc System Works.
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