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Title: Guilty Gear 2: Overture
Players: 1 - 2 (Online)
Platform: Xbox 360
Developer: Arc System Works
Publisher: AKSYS Games
Price: $59.99
Release Date: October 7th, 2008

One of the most popular underground fighting games returns in yet another strange, dynamic and kick-butt adventure game. Featuring multiplayer support for Xbox Live, new characters and all new 3D stages to traverse, Guilty Gear 2: Overture aims to succeed in territory usually dominated by the Dynasty Warriors franchise.

Having its signature cast of freakily cool characters and a robust fighting system, Guilty Gear 2: Overture is shaping up to be a fairly good expansion into the beat-e’m-up genre that Koei usually dominates with fervor. Arc System Works is bringing a whole new flair to the competitive army battles that Warriors Orochi and Dynasty Warriors has worn out with stale repetition. As players can once again take control of kick-butt characters like Sol Badguy – and he’s still one of my favorite characters of all time, for any game – Ky Kiske, Azuna, Raven, Sin, Dr. Paradigm, and Valentine, as they battle the forces of evil.

The story can be a bit confusing, but rest assured that the paper-thin version of the saga’s plot falls within the lines of protecting a kingdom from an unknown force. The main thing gamers need to know is that the focal point of the gameplay retains many of the moves from the 2D Guilty Gear games. So while engaging 3D enemies in a 3D environment, players will be fighting with the same kind of moves from previous GG games, including the dynamic finishers and special attacks that fans of the series love.

Progressing through the stages requires players to dispatch the main enemies’ (or opposing player’s) base, or Masterghost. It’s exactly like Dynasty Warriors when capturing/dispatching the main officer in order to win the round. But before getting to the main base, there’s a series of servants, small bases and petty officers that must be done away with first. One thing that must be noted, is that when fighting the simple soldiers it’s like stepping on ants...or playing Dynasty Warriors. I think Arc System has done a slightly better job, though, in making even the simplest encounters slightly more dynamic than their rival, Koei. But the true elements that make Guilty Gear what it is only shines through when battling other players, or bosses. Still, huge props to Arc System Works for having the one series in the history of video games that has flexed its genre to the absolute limits (and nearly beyond). It’s tough to even consider Guilty Gear as a fighting game anymore.

Regardless of what Guilty Gear has become, surpassed, or hopes to achieve, the game at least has kept hold of its multiplayer features. I was really impressed with the multiplayer cooperative feature for GG: X2 for the PS2 that had the 2D side-scrolling action. And it’s kind of the same way with GG2: Overture, only that it’s in 3D and pretty much exactly like Koei’s Warriors games. The only difference is that this game can either be played split-screen or via Xbox Live, in competitive or cooperative modes.

You can look for Guilty Gear 2: Overture to hit store shelves on October 7th for the Xbox 360. Be sure to stay tuned in with Blend Games for more updates and info on all the latest games, or drop by the Blend Games Forum for discussions and topics on your favorite games.

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