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Guilty Gear Strive beginner’s guide: Essential tips and tricks for newcomers

New to Guilty Gear? Here’s some tips for getting up to speed with veterans and where to begin.
Guilty Gear Strive beginner’s guide: Essential tips and tricks for newcomers

Guilty Gear Strive might be the most accessible entry in the series, but there’s still some hurdles for those unfamiliar with fighting games.

There’s a lot of terminology in Guilty Gear games too, whether Roman Cancels or Psych Bursts which can become pivotal techniques in overcoming opponents.

Once you boot up Guilty Gear Strive, you’ll be thrown into a quick match to learn the basics of movement, attacking and blocking. After that, it’s up to you to learn extra techniques or simply jump into Arcade or online matches.

So what should be your next steps after the opening tutorial? Here’s some tips on learning the essentials for Guilty Gear Strive. 

1. Go through the missions in Dojo

It’s the obvious starting point. These bitesize missions essentially act as the real tutorial to Guilty Gear Strive’s mechanics, with different sets offering varying levels of difficulty. Here, you’ll learn the different Roman Cancels, overdrive moves, air-dashing, how to escape being trapped against the wall, and other mechanics which show how much depth the combat has.

Some of these missions can also be tailored to certain characters. So if you fancy yourself a Sol Badguy main, you can learn some effective combos here too. The missions gradually become more intricate and difficult (especially in the four and five star lists), but working through the first few is an entertaining crash course in getting up to speed. 


2. Pick one of the beginner-friendly characters

Giovanna is a great starting point (Picture: Bandai Namco) 

It’s another obvious one, yet Guilty Gear Strive has a handy star system telling you which fighter is easiest to get to grips with. According to this metric, Ky Kiske is the easiest fighter to jump in with, being a healthy all-rounder swordsman with few quirks. He’s Guilty Gear vanilla.

Everyone will have a play style they prefer, but we’d recommend new character Giovanna as a starting point. She has few special moves which can be easily understood, and generally feels designed for newcomers to the franchise — especially as her movement is super satisfying and there’s less tricks to play with, on the surface.  


3. Practise pulling off overdrive moves

When your tension meter hits enough charge by being aggressive in matches, you’ll be able to pull off overdrive moves which essentially act as the flashiest attacks in the game. These trigger brief wind-up cutscenes, with each character having two variants to mess around with.

It’s worth taking some time to practise simply executing the button combination to unleash the attacks, and working out at what distance they’re effective. Some like I-No’s work at any range, although easily blocked, while Leo Whitefang requires you to be in close range. There’s nothing more frustrating than struggling to get the attack to work because you’ve forgotten the input, or wasting your energy gauge on a poorly timed special.

Another tip is you can execute these inputs during an opponent’s overdrive cutscene, which gives you breathing room to pull off the move. Not every fighter’s overdrive works as an effective counter, but it’s definitely worth experimenting with to figure out the optimum moments. 


4. Faultless Defense, use it

Faultless Defense is useful for getting out of trouble (Picture: Bandai Namco) 

There’s other ways to use your tension meter. By holding back and two attack buttons (except Dust) at once, you’ll trigger Faultless Defense — a blue shield which envelops the character and acts as a defence against all attacks no matter your stance. It’s use quickly depletes your meter, yet it can be extremely useful in blocking surprise special attacks or moves from behind.

It’s not an essential tool in every match, but it’s a defensive secret weapon which is an excellent last resort when you’re up against the ropes. 


5. Use Gold Psych Burst to fill your tension gauge

You’ll be at a far bigger advantage in matches with a healthy supply of tension gauge, whether for Faultless Defence or pulling off overdrive moves. The game fills up the gauge pretty generously, although there’s other ways to give you a quick dose of energy. 

One of these is tricks is using the Gold Psych Burst (pressing R1 and any other attack button simultaneously) which transfers your burst energy into the tension gauge. It’s a good quick fix for digging yourself out of a tight spot, especially if your opponent is charged to the max. 


6. Dust attacks are your friend too

Guilty Gear Strive doesn’t shout about them much, but Dust (holding R1 and following up with the up direction) can be a great tactic when blended into a combo. The move essentially catapults your enemy into the air, opening them up to an aerial combo unless blocked.

They can backfire if your opponent is quick to shut down your combo, but even so, they’re a good way to reset the match if someone’s getting too far up in your face. Just make sure you have a game plan once you come crashing down to earth. 


7. Experiment with characters

Once you have a grasp on one character, make sure to experiment the rest of the roster. There’s some incredibly unique and rewarding fighters to discover, especially oddities like Faust and Zato-1, who can be deadly in the right hands. 

You won’t get along with everyone, but by understanding what other characters can do, you’ll have more information when you face them in other people’s hands. 

Guilty Gear Strive releases 11th June on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4 and PC.