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Because of the great combat system, there’s a lot of fun to be had with Overture when playing skirmish matches against AI opponents. But Overture really shines when you’re playing against other players online or via split-screen. The strategy elements will keep your brain buzzing with tactics and counter maneuvers, while the action keeps your thumbs busy with satisfying button mashing. But Overture still lacks the visual flair, polish, and pizzazz that Guilty Gear fans have come to expect. If you want to see an action/RTS hybrid that actually gets the strategy part right, then Guilty Gear 2: Overture will deliver the goods. Unfortunately, even though this one element is great, it’s the only gem that stands in this title.
Mixing genres in a single title is usually a no-no unless the title is epic in scale, and both elements are finely polished. Overture was already taking a risk by jumping the fighting-game ship, but took an even bigger one by combining button mashing and RTS into one B-grade production. As just a hack-n-slash, Overture would be worth a rental—and possibly a bargain-bin purchase for those really into the IP. But as it sits, the suspect RTS elements, when combined with the premium price tag, make it hard to recommend Guilty Gear 2: Overture as a release-day purchase.
After a brief glance at Overture you might mistake it for a Dynasty Warriors clone. You’d be wrong to do so. While Overture is largely a hack and slasher that sends you speeding across large battlefields and slicing through enemies by the dozens, the game also adds RTS elements. While this strategy twist could have made the title shine, it’s marred by too many problems. When your units cluster together it is difficult to select specific units. Your troops also don’t respond quickly enough, but that doesn’t matter since they don’t listen to your orders half the time anyway. With crawling load times and a story that reeks of awkward Japanese translation, a glance should be all you give this game.
With MOBA elements there is plenty of gameplay for MOBA fans to enjoy even if they haven’t played a previous Guilty Gear game.
To dismiss this as simply Guilty Gear meets Dynasty Warriors is to completely gloss over half of the game. In addition to the strategy elements, there are duels, exploratory missions, and plenty of button-mashing beat-'em-up action. There's even an odd nod to top-down shooters. But cramming all of this stuff into one game results in (wait for it) none of the parts being particularly polished -- which is especially hard to accept at such a premium price. Yet the game is not without charm and a handful of good missions. The Guilty Gear universe is accurately represented and the bizarro storyline may be tough to swallow, but it's no goofier than some of the anime that scores big on Adult Swim.
Guilty Gear 2: Overture is not exactly another fighting game from the Guilty Gear series. Overture takes the hack and slash formula and ruins it with its strategy flair. Fans of Guilty Gear may want to at least try this one out. For now I would at least wait for a price drop, Overture is just not worth the asking price.
Everything about Guilty Gear 2: Overture says wasted promise. The action is mindless and repetitive. Most of the strategy feels tacked on. And the storyline could have been written by a lunatic. Mashing a beat-'em-up together with tactics is a great idea, but the execution here has obviously gone horribly awry.
Problem is that neither the strategy nor combat elements are developed in any meaningful way. All but the most strategy-savvy gamers will regard the capture-and-hold mechanics as primitive, and as for the combat...well, I really wasn't kidding with the Dynasty Warriors comparison. Guilty Gear 2 tries to juggle two genres, executing both at only a fraction of their individual potential. The uneven, oddball fusion might be worth a quick peek, but don't expect it to hold your interest for long.
Guilty Gear 2: Overture is an interesting experiment, but one that ultimately disappoints. The combat system is too watered down to be compelling and the strategic aspect too simplistic. The only real challenge derived from the game lies in balancing these two aspects, which is satisfying for brief moments.