Guilty Gear 2: Overture (PC) Review

By Brandon (Michael) Howard 20.04.2016

Review for Guilty Gear 2: Overture on PC

Guilty Gear has long been Arc System Works' original claim to fame. Long before the success of BlazBlue and the Persona fighting game spin-offs, Guilty Gear enchanted audiences with its unique characters, well-crafted fighting system, and absolutely insane storytelling. Guilty Gear 2: Overture brings a slightly different approach to the series, swapping out the traditional fighting game mechanics for something wholly new, making for a unique take on the series characters.

Taking place shortly after the events of the first title in the series, Overture serves as a bridge between the older titles and the newer Guilty Gear Xrd. The first and only in the series to make use of full 3D graphics, it's also a significant departure from the traditional 2D combat the franchise is known for, opting for a fast-paced, action heavy approach.

Specifically, it feels a lot like one of Koei's Dynasty Warrior games, though perhaps not quite on the same scale. The endless swarms of enemies, with smaller central leaders, definitely brings to mind those hack and slash titles, but Overture mixes it up one step further by adding in elements that give it a weird, almost RTS, feel.

Each controllable character (or master, for combat purposes) fights independently, but they also have servants that move along, capture enemy structures, and fight other enemy servants. There's a pretty big variety in servants each character can summon, and they all have different strengths and weaknesses, which can either define or hamper their master's overall playstyle. While main character Sol's servants require most of the fighting to be done for him, antagonist Valentine has units more geared toward a more supportive role, requiring a different approach when playing as her.

While the servants fit their masters quite well thematically, they are a little hard to control. Although it fits in well with the RTS direction the game seems to take, some of the rules governing them are a little aggravating. While they automatically seek out the opposing master and their Master Ghost (the main objective of each battle), servants are also the only thing that can take down certain barriers and objectives. Directing them isn't usually an option unless they're already moving that way, but they can forcibly be picked up and added to their master's inventory in a very clunky system.

Screenshot for Guilty Gear 2: Overture on PC

"Clunky" actually defines a lot of the gameplay in Overture, which is a shame for a series that has been excellent in its controls for so long. While the servant system is interesting, it's a little bit too deep at times for the level of strategizing required, and the mechanics take too long to master to feel rewarding. After all, "run and hit small enemy bases and then hit big enemy base" isn't really a complicated strategy.

Despite their dependence on servants for rather mundane tasks, the playable cast controls pretty well. Masters have broader, larger area of effect abilities during normal combat, which are good for taking out groups of small, easy to kill targets. They can also target specific enemies, which switches them to a more detailed, one-on-one style of combat. The marriage of these two systems isn't always a happy one, and it feels like there are three completely separate games that each mission demands, and they aren't quite in harmony with each other.

The combat itself isn't really complex, even if there's a lot to take in initially. It feels okay most of the time, although it is a little messy when the enemy master gets involved. Combat reaches between ground and aerial combat, not unlike the Devil May Cry series, but not quite as seamless as that comparison might suggest. Still, the mechanics are at the least serviceable for the main goal of defeating the enemy master, and there's definitely a fair bit of mastery to find in it, as well.

The plot is going to be pretty alien to those who haven't had much experience with the Guilty Gear series before, and even then, the writing and dialogue is… questionable at times. A lot of liberty is taken with explanations of the mechanics of the world, so it comes off as a little impenetrable for new players, and series fans might find the slow-moving plot a little pedestrian in parts. While newcomer to the series Sin does get some exposition that in turn fills in the player, it doesn't really make the already confusing lore of the series approachable for anyone.

Screenshot for Guilty Gear 2: Overture on PC

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 5 out of 10


Guilty Gear 2: Overture blends strategy and action in a way that ultimately diminishes both aspects. While the base mechanics of both systems are solid, neither really comes across as defining, making the entire experience feel a bit half-baked. A serious push to take the game in either direction might have yielded better results, but as it stands, it's hard to imagine an audience that would really enjoy the experience this title provides.


Arc System Works


Arc System Works





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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