Guilty Gear -Strive- has taken the fighting game world by storm, enthralling us with engaging gameplay depth, popping art design, intricate battle systems, and its ever-expanding story. On August 24th, 2023, Arc System Works celebrates the official release of Season 3. Not only does the purchase of Season 3 (at the cost of $24.99 USD) come with four new characters and two new stages (of which Johnny releases right away, with the other three characters and two stages being unknown at the moment but coming in the future), but it reworks each of the existing characters in interesting ways while adding two new mechanics: Wild Assault and Deflect Shield.
Wild Assault is a wild lunging attack, usable out of a cancel, that can catch an opponent off-guard while also damaging some of their Burst Gauge, even on guard. Depending on the character using a Wild Assault move, additional properties apply, such as invincibility frames, a Guard Crush effect, or additional combo paths. And for some extra defense, the Deflect Shield will allow characters to put some distance between themselves and their attacker, working on lows and overheads alike. However, if Deflect Shield misses, it leaves its user wide open to a punish. Time will tell how each of these new universal mechanics are utilized in strategies, especially regarding their impact in major tournaments.
Every character also receives some tweaking and balancing, with some gaining completely new moves, and others having new properties added to existing moves. Along with these individual updates, an interesting new twist is that weight no longer applies differently, but rather evenly. What this means is that smaller, medium, and larger characters will all be impacted equally regarding knockbacks or blowbacks and the like. Weight has mattered as a regular function in Guilty Gear for some time, so it will be an interesting adjustment for experienced players used to this difference between characters.
Beyond these battle system and character balancing changes, the UI has been reworked, with a much less confusing title screen set-up. It’s still very attractive, but everything is in order, and there are more links to get straight into the modes, requiring fewer button presses to get to the content that we want. Regarding the modes, I still miss the M.O.M. mode from previous entries, which is still absent here. But while I am still hopeful to see it appear in the future, the content on offer is already fantastic.
What are you hoping to see regarding the new characters and stages to come, and who are you most excited to jump into this new season with? Many of us have been excited for the arrival of Season 3, and now that it is finally here, we’ll see you on the battlefield!