Sammy's most recent releases for the PlayStation 2 are sequels to two titles that I will admit I never played.
However, in the end I am proud to say that I didn't play one of the predecessors while I wish I did play the other one.
The following co-reviews will explain my decision even further:
Galerians: Ash follows up on the PS1 title literally. Six years have passed since the mother computer, known as Dorothy, was destroyed by the lead character Rion's psychic powers. Now her followers, named Galerians, are attempting to revive Dorothy. It is up to Rion to use a virus program inside his head to defeat the last Galerians and shut down Dorothy for good.
Most of the action in the game takes place in what could be described as a survival horror RPG environment, but compared to the other titles in the same vein, Ash just seemed to drag on. No matter how hard I wanted to get into the game, that in itself was a challenge. I will admit the concept of combat using psychic powers (reminiscent of great works such as Akira) is a novel touch, but when it comes off as not fun, what is the use?
Ash does have some unique features that did help. Aside from the unusual combat style (psionic powers) the game runs very smooth (60 frames per second) with no sign of slowdown at all. But in the end I just couldn't get into the game at all. Maybe if I took a glance of the original PS1 Galerians, I might have understood it a bit, but as of now Ash is slow, confusing, and just plain not fun. My final score of 1 + Gems shows my severe displeasure for this game.
GUILTY GEAR X2
Now Guilty Gear X2 on the other hand, is more up my alley. I will admit that I never played any of the previous GG titles, but after what I have seen so far, I wish I did. At first glance GGX2 reminded me of an SNK fighter, and upon closer examination the weapon-based fighting and zooming camera reminded me of Samurai Shodown. But as I got more into the game, the vast number of moves, cancels, one hit kills, and aerial combos feel like they've been taken straight out of Capcom's best 2D fighters.
However, GGX2 definitely separates itself from the SNK/Capcom breed with its unique characters (a guitar playing end boss, a spear fighter with a bag on his head, a modern day vampire, and a Grim Reaper wannabe, to name a few) and tons of game modes (arcade, story, mission, MOM (collecting medals dropped by enemies while fighting),2P, survival, and training).
GGX2 is gorgeous for a 2D fighter, going back to the classic hand-drawn characters we've grown accustomed to in the SNK/Capcom brawlers of years past with some 3D effects thrown in as well (a la Marvel vs. Capcom 2). I would have liked to see a little more animation in some of the characters, but that's me being picky. The soundtrack is also unique in its own way, mostly heavy metal guitar music and character voices (who sounded a little muffled on my 5.1 system).
I found Guilty Gear X2 to be a nice little surprise, a fun 2D brawler not coming from the usual suspects (SNK or Capcom) that provides tons of replay value, and also earns a 4 + Gem rating.
In conclusion, my advice is to forget about Galerians: Ash and use your hard earned money to pick up Guilty Gear X2. You will not be disappointed, especially if you are a fan of 2D fighters.
Developers: Polygon Magic
Platforms: PlayStation 2