Games that push an entire genre forward are a rarity, but that's what Guilty Gear Strive has done for fighting games. It may not be as mainstream as Street Fighter, Tekken, or Mortal Kombat, but in its visuals and its online netcode, Strive has set the bar for all future brawlers.
Developer Arc System Works has been hitting home runs for a while now, and especially since the release of Dragon Ball FighterZ, the Japanese developer has firmly established itself as one of the big boys — perhaps the big boy, given how consistent its output has been across the previous console generation. But it's Guilty Gear Strive that showcases the studio at its best. Incredible character designs, stunning graphics, an immense hard rock soundtrack, and, of course, an excellent gameplay system make Strive a joy to experience.
It also manages to walk that increasingly fine line between accessibility and depth. Strive is easily the most accessible Guilty Gear game to date — a series that's always been hardcore, to be fair — but with genius mechanics like the ridiculously versatile Roman Cancel, there's still so much to learn and master. What's more, the diverse character roster ensures that every match up feels distinct.
That netcode, though. Released in a time when in-person tournaments were near impossible to organise, Guilty Gear Strive flourished thanks to the peerless quality of its online network. Against opponents in your own region, you might as well be sitting on the couch together. And against players across the globe, connections can be shockingly smooth. Simply put, there's now no excuse — every fighting game needs netcode like this, and Guilty Gear Strive is leading the charge.
You can read our full Guilty Gear Strive PS5 review here.
Push Square's Game of the Year list is primarily decided by an internal staff vote. Our community Game of the Year poll is also taken into account. Feel free to agree or disagree with our list in the comments section below!
You can check out all of our Game of the Year coverage by clicking the link.