Guilty Gear X2THE GOOD: Beautiful animation, killer soundtrack, and a very interesting cast of characters.
THE BAD: Some of the single-player modes can get downright frustrating at times.
SUMMARY: Who says there aren't any "great" 2D games left nowadays? Certainly not anyone who's had a chance to check out Guilty Gear X2. Although the tide of the fighting game arena seems to be flowing toward the third dimension (just take a look at the strength of the Tekken, Virtua Fighter, and Soul Calibur franchises), fans of 2D games will still have something to cheer about with this latest installation. I myself haven't had a chance to play any of this game's predecessors (Guilty Gear on PlayStation or Guilty Gear X on PlayStation 2), but after playing this game, I'm already a fan of the series.
As far as graphics go, GGX2 is easily one of the most (and best) animated games I've played. There are lots of frames of animation for every character, and there's rarely any jerkiness (although slowdown tends to be an issue when some heavy-hitting attacks are unleashed). The soundtrack is also very impressive, with a nice assortment of up-tempo heavy metal songs to set the fighting mood.
GGX2's fighting engine is pretty much your standard 2D fighting fare (special moves, counters, super moves, etc.), but it does have other specialties to help some of the more experienced fighters get ahead if used correctly ("Roman Cancel" lets you stop a move in mid-motion and follow up with an even longer combo, or you could end the battle in one fell swoop with an "Instant Kill" - everyone save Dizzy has a move like this). A multitude of play modes will ensure the player sticks to the game for quite a while, but a few of them can get downright frustrating to beat - especially Mission mode, which sometimes has you take on a super-powered character with some of your abilities taken away. It's a small price to pay, but the satisfaction of beating the challenges is worth it in the end.
If the era of the 2D fighting game has indeed come to an end, then Guilty Gear X2 certainly sends the sub-genre off with a big BANG!