Guilty Gear Strive, impressions: the present

You may like more or less the game mechanics of ArcSystemWorks, the hud and the lobby, but its rollback system to end online lag is simply differential.

The first of the Guilty Gear Strive betas left a lot of doubts. It was the return of one of those mythical sagas that has always had a prominent place among the most hardcore user in the world of fighting games. The saga was being somewhat forgotten with the emergence of BlazBlue in the past generation and, despite getting a great game like Xrd and its derivatives, it was others who took the glory. But Strive has made a strong comeback with the current beta, available for a few more days, and it has done so for several reasons. Of course, the main one is the netcode. The present and future of online gaming in the genre is here.

There are several reasons that have led us to think that what we had was not enough for more. On the one hand, a core community that focused its efforts on face-to-face events and face-to-face tournaments. The essence of the FGC was in those places, and that was precisely one of the successes of the ‘boom’ of the genre that has been experienced in Spain with Dragon Ball FighterZ. But the pandemic arrived and they forced us to always play online, even if we didn’t want to. And there the problems surfaced. Capcom canceling tournaments because of poor netcode. Bandai Namco limiting regional fighting for the same reason. Was that really the only solution for the classics of Japanese 2D fighting?

Many of us think, and with good reason, that this would wake up companies, especially the Japanese. At this point, NetherRealm has already proven to be steps forward. The network problems in the two most important games of this era of 2D fighting (Street Fighter V, which has improved over time, it must be clarified; and FighterZ) were not worthy of the sales or the expectations of the players. Not to mention Smash Bros. Ultimate, of course. And ArcSystemWorks has put all the meat on the grill with Guilty Gear Strive. Rollback, a system that has proven to work like a charm through the GGPO middleware, allowed us to play classics of the genre online without lag.

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The Japanese company got down to work with it, and instead of using GGPO as an intermediary to offer a decent online experience, they have created their own rollback system from scratch adapted to the needs and particularities of Guilty Gear Strive. The result: a beta that when you are playing on the ring, leaves you surprised. There is no lag, no downtime, the game compensates for any ping issues on the fly to make the experience smooth and satisfying. It looks like witchcraft. But in reality it is neither magic nor should it be an exception: it is what we should always have demanded of the greats of the genre.

It is not easy to explain the rollback system and how it affects, but there are some videos (like the one you see below) that define it. It should also be noted that if there are bad connections, there will be no miracles but it always helps to make everything much more stable. And the Guilty Gear Strive beta has been a great example of this. And a turning point: without such a system, any game, no matter how big its name, will have to be penalized significantly.

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