Guilty Gear XX #Reload is one of the best fighting games ever. Easily. And it doesn’t really matter which platform the game ends up on, because as long as it’s directly ported to something with five buttons, it’ll be an incredible game. However, there are a few things that push this game out of must-buy status for many PSP owners, though that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a great game.
Guilty Gear Judgment consists of two separate games. Firstly, it has Guilty Gear Judgment, a frustratingly mediocre beat ‘em up. The majority of the Guilty Gear cast is all present, though most need to be unlocked. Instead of having Slash, Dust, and the other basic attacks all mapped to the buttons as per usual, they were compacted to the Circle, Triangle and Square buttons and the X button is used for jumping. Since this is definitely the “other” part of an otherwise excellent game, I’ll be brief. Judgment just is not that great. It tries to take characters from an entirely separate genre and make some minor tweaks and get away with. And it simply does not work. To top it all off, the levels of difficulty fly from simple to ridiculous. This half of the game is not worth exploring in any depth unless there’s some ridiculous fascination with the Guilty Gear series’ plot that simply can’t be compensated with a plot summary off the internet.
What you probably plan to buy Guilty Gear Judgment for is the other, better part of the game, Guilty Gear XX #Reload. #Reload is pretty much a completely perfect port of the well-tuned Xbox game (it is not an arcade game if there are no arcades anymore). For the non-Guilty Gear lovers, Guilty Gear XX #Reload is an enhanced version of the original Guilty Gear XX. Since #Reload’s release way back in early 2004, two more enhanced versions of XX are available, being Guilty Gear XX Slash and Guilty Gear XX Accent Core. Anyway, the Judgment version of #Reload features all the greatness found in the original, from the very nicely crafted sprites (that put every other 2d game, ever, to shame), to the fast-paced gameplay, complete with the open-ended combo system that will keep you coming back for a long time to perfect. Much like Me and My Katamari it’s just plain baffling how great the game’s soundtrack is on the PSP, since both games rightfully take great pride in their high-quality music. Despite the fact the game is very effectively ported, the fact remains that the game is on the PSP. Playing a fighting game with the control pad on one side, the buttons on the other, and then the game itself in the middle is just difficult to get used to. Not to mention the fact that anyone who plays on an arcade stick will undoubtedly have an unreasonably difficult time re-adjusting back and forth between committed playing on the PSP’s control pad to committed play on, say, one of the promotional arcade sticks. Additionally, there is a noticeable zoom issue, where the game zooms in very closely when the two characters are in relatively close proximity. This can feel quite odd for Guilty Gear, and Faust players will not be able to see which of his randomly-generated projectiles is thrown, which can hinder their abilities, but as a whole, this does not do too much damage to the gameplay as a whole, and the sheer perfection of this port keeps it as a generally excellent game.
The main problem Guilty Gear Judgment has is that it is already outdated or replaceable in two key ways. Since the Judgment portion of the game is forgettable, the only real reason to buy this game is for #Reload. While this is certainly worth it, the game is available on its own on the Xbox for eight bucks! And even though the PSP version is nice, the Xbox version is the unchanged original (though it isn’t playable for the 360 yet…thanks a lot). For the Xbox-deprived, you can simply buy the newer version of XX, XX Slash off some import site. The game features many tweaks, and a couple new characters which makes it definitively better than #Reload. Because of this, there are two ways to upgrade over Guilty Gear Judgment, which makes it just not as functional.
Do not misunderstand, as this is still an excellent game. Definitely one of the best ones available on the PSP, in fact. But because of circumstances just barely out of its control, it ends up being not worth the money, which is hard to say for, as stated, an otherwise excellent game. Ultimately, though, it needs to be said that the Japanese version of Judgment, requires no modifications to play on a PSP. And also, the Xbox version of #Reload is just really, really cheap. So, it is a better use of money to buy either of these, instead. But once again, this one is still a great game.