| paleface [sys=PS2; cat=Fighting; loc=NA]
|Reference added: 108
"Guilty Gear Isuka is a four-player offshoot of GGX2."
Before I forget to mention it: this game supports progressive scan, which is nice if your viewing device can handle it. Hold Triangle and Square as the game loads up.
I like GGX on DC, I like GGX2 (see entry 108) on PS2, but I don't much like Isuka.
The main deal with Isuka is that you can have four people fighting at once. In principle this is awesome. Each person has a tag over their head for identification, and you can all jump around and fire supers and do whatever all at once. You can set up 1 vs 3 battles and so forth. In single-player you'll sometimes have to face tall odds to progress. All excellent, in theory.
But it's really the controls that bug the heck out of me. In addition to the four attack buttons, you now have a Turn button and a plane-shift button. Besides these there are various other button combinations to keep track of (there are three plane-shift variants, for instance) if you really want to master the thing.
Having to hit Turn constantly to keep facing your opponent as fighters change sides really makes the flow of a fight annoying. I'm sure that you can get good at it so that you hardly ever have opponents jumping past you to nail you right in the back, but I don't see why I should put up with this when there are tons of great fighting games, GGX2 high among them, that don't make you press a Turn button. And depending on your character's animations it isn't always obvious right away which way you're facing in a quick-turny exchange, and this can just get downright frustrating.
And then the plane-shifting. What the hell? I guess they figured they needed the additional room (basically a second fighting plane a step farther back into the screen) to fit four fighters comfortably, but... this isn't the way, people. Didn't anyone learn from the early Fatal Fury games (entry 612, for instance)? Plane shifting or "sway line" or whatever is a huge arbitrary pain in the whumpus. You go to sock someone and OOPS, they've suddenly skipped backwards into the screen, and now you have to find the plane-shift button and chase them back there, and by that time they've probably shifted back for the fore-plane, and you have to chase them again... UGH. Put that together with the Turn issue and it is just a massive pain in the bum to target people. Fighting games should be about knowing when and how to attack, not about trying to target the opponent.
Now, you may be thinking "okay, that sounds like a bit more trouble than a standard fighting game, but at least you can play with three or four people at once, that should be amusing, right?" Well, what with the targetting troubles, adding additional players just makes everything more confusing, and then they did something else that is just plain dumb: friendly fire. That's right, your attacks are dangerous to friend and foe alike in team matches. Thought a three-on-one with your buddies against scaled-up CPU opponents would be cool (ala the two-on-ones in Street Fighter Alpha)? Well guess what, you're much more likely to be hitting each other than the badguy. Stink.
Isuka doesn't even have a standard 1-on-1 arcade mode in which you battle through a dozen or so opponents to the boss. Instead, Arcade has become what was "Survival" mode in previous GGX games, where you sort of level up as you fight random opponents, and they get tougher. This goes on and on farther than I'm good enough to get. Now in Isuka, though, they'll throw multiple opponents at you at once, and unless you've bothered to master the turning and the plane-shifting, they'll quickly make a GG sandwich out of you.
They've also for some reason taken out the instant-kill attacks, which were rather a staple of the series in the past. Maybe they just made four-player matches too quick and nasty, I don't know.
The one bright spot for me here is the "GGBoost" beat-em-up mode, where you can play the regular GG characters in an isometric beat-em-up mode, Final Fight (see entry 78) style. Since you can move up and down on the background you don't have plane-shifting here, thank goodness, but you do have a separate Jump button. I find it kinda hard to pull off the supers and specials in this mode, but plowing through waves of chumps is pretty fun. For some reason this mode is only two-player though, I really wish it was four-player like the rest of the game. I also have to admit that I'm frustrated by certain of the bosses who regenerate health pretty quickly, and have to be defeated within a fairly tight time limit: they just dodge around a lot and I always time out (and thus lose). Hm.
There's a "Factory" mode in which you can sorta "build a fighter" by playing a robotic character through Boost mode to earn points to buy moves (a selection of moves from other characters in the game). This seems possibly kind of interesting, like the "Making" mode in KOF R-2 (see entry 415). I suppose that if I meant to keep playing the game solo, I would try this more. But I don't know, the darn Boost bosses are damn shifty when you've only got one person chasing them.
So overall I find Isuka really disappointing. The control is "wack" (is there an "h" in there when used in this context? ah, who cares) and the friendly-fire just sucks. If I have four fighting friends together, it'll be much more fun just to have little round-robin tournaments in normal two-player fighters. There's got to be a way to do four-player fighters in a fun way, but Isuka isn't it.