It was a happy moment when I caught this out of the corner of my eye in the local Game store. Having not touched my DS in some months, I was almost beginning to forget that I even owned one.
Then I spied Guilty Gear: DS. I’m a huge 2D beat-em-up fan and whole-heartedly believe that the Guilty Gear series contains some of the most pure and fluid experiences the genre had to offer. So naturally, I had to pick this up.Dust Strikers does things a little differently to the others in the series. Rather than having a one-on-one match in a simple flat arena, you now have up to four characters going at each other, across multi-tired environments. A double-tap up or down drops you down or launches you up a level and the X button allows you to attack one tier above or below where you’re standing. While this new feature adds some life into the somewhat lifeless beat-em-up genre, I personally find that there’s just too much going on.
The Guilty Gear series has never been the most straight-forward to play anyway. There’s always been giant flying dolphins, flashy neon stuff and the like to confuse you. But now you’ve got all this as well as an extra two characters hungry to cause you pain, as well as an extra dimension to play with. Some people may really enjoy the chaos that ensues during matches (at some points I’m almost reminded of a game of Power Stone for the DC, which is by no means a bad thing), but most of the time, I personally found it to be a bit too confusing.
As for content, all the Guilty Gear characters are there (including the fantastically mad Faust) you’ve also got your story modes (with brilliantly insane Engrish storylines), which will kill a bit of time, along with an arcade mode if you just want to have a quick ruck. However, the single-player options aren’t particularly engaging and only really serve as a quick diversion if you’re a bit bored.
Fortunately, also included is wireless multi-player, for up to four players. This is where the game (as is the case with any beat-em-up) begins to really shine. Having three of your mates together and kicking the gooey bits out of each other is very, very fun (as is the inevitable cursing and smack-talk that any multi-player fighting game should produce from its players).
Graphically, it’s everything that you’d expect from a new DS release. While the characters aren’t that great to look at on their own, the backdrops are pretty enough and the animation for all of the characters is top-notch (I’ve always felt this to be one of the Guilty Gear series’ main strengths).
Basically, if you have a few friends who fancy some fun, get them to grab copies and you’ll have a blast. If it’s only you buying it, you might want to reconsider. You’ll be spending £30 on an hour’s entertainment.