The Guilty Gear Strive open beta has been live for a couple of days now and players are getting a feel of the game before it releases in April. Although the open beta was filled with many server driven issues during the first two days, the issues have been fixed. Additionally, the beta has been extended to the 23rd so there’s more time to play. It’s given me a glimpse of what we should expect from fighting games going forward. Thankfully, there’s a lot more good than bad and improvements are bound to be made. Guilty Gear Strive is set to be an amazing game that helps put forth the standard for future fighting games.

Rolling it back

I was curious about how Strive’s online play would be affected with implementation of rollback netcode. Luckily, the results are amazing as matches have very little input delay caused by connections. Matches are smooth and responsive with ping and rollback frames being displayed. In previous fighting games, delay-based netcode would hinder someone’s ability to react thanks to added input delay. This varies in severity with an opponent’s connection but bad connection hiccups dramatically affect a match. Fortunately, the Guilty Gear Strive’s netcode ensures online runs properly and immediately. Players rely upon rollback netcode to simulate the game consistently even if inputs are missing. By doing so, the netcode makes calculations in the background and ensure players don’t feel the adjustments being made. There are more technicalities to rollback netcode that make Guilty Gear Strive a great experience but the main takeaway is the smoother, more precise online experience.

Online Feature Suite

Guilty Gear Strive has a base roster of 15 characters, 13 of them being playable in the open beta. Although some favorites like Baiken and Johnny are missing in this new entry, the current launch roster feels varied and unique. Newcomers like Giovanna and Nagoriyuki add interesting archetypes to the game, both being playable in the beta too. The beta includes access to the new online lobby system for Guilty Gear Strive. It’s a level-based tower where 2D pixelated player characters are placed based on their online match performance. The weird lobby system is not favorable for many players including myself and the design is lackluster. The quick start feature is available for queuing into matches while in training mode so it’s a great alternative. The beta provides gameplay and lobby tutorials so players both new and old got caught up before entering the fray.

Final Beta Impressions

After days of playing online and labbing in training mode, I’m impressed with how great Guilty Gear Strive’s online play feels. The good rollback netcode ensures matches are played smoothly. Even after losing, the gains of playing a solid match outweigh that of winning in a lagfest. It’s very promising for the full game and community upon release in April. There’s a lot of potential in Guilty Gear Strive, the standard of future fighting games and online play is here. April 9th can’t come soon enough and thankfully, there’s still a few more days left to play. Once again for all the fighting game developers, please implement rollback netcode! Your future game communities depend on it.

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