Guilty Gear Games Ranked From Worst To Best

Guilty Gear as a game series has been around since the first game launched on PlayStation in 1998. Since then, several sequels have been released and each of these sequels has received its own upgraded version. To someone who isn’t familiar with the Guilty Gear series, just reading through the names of all these games and trying to pick one is extremely confusing.

That’s why, I’ve made a list of Guilty Gear games ranked from worst to best. If you ask esports pros and streamers, their opinion on the best Guilty Gear game will vary between person to person. Each installment introduces a unique feature or character.

Veterans who have been playing these games for decades absolutely wipe the floor with you in online matches. So if you are expecting to buy a Guilty Gear game right now and start winning matches immediately, hold your horses. The learning curve is steep, and you’ll spend a ton of time learning combos/ timing. 

Why do so many people still play Guilty Gear when games like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter exist? After all, they are more popular and easier to learn for newcomers.

Well, this game has a lot of dedicated fans who have played Guilty Gear since the early 2000s. They prefer the art style and deep combat system of this game, plus it has some really amazing soundtracks.  

Ranking Guilty Gear Games From Worst To Best

Unlike mainstream fighting games, Guilty Gear is a series that only became better as newer titles were released. So let’s start off this list with number 7- the first Guilty Gear.

7. Guilty Gear

Developer Arc System Works
Release DateMay 14, 1998
Platforms PlayStation 1

Back in the 90s, fighting games were extremely popular- both in arcades and home consoles. Think of how successful the FPS genre is today, that was fighting games back then. Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat ruled the competition, but then came this extremely fast-paced game with flashy anime attacks called Guilty Gear.

Guilty Gear was unlike anything released before it. The entire game was oozing with style, and featured some insane metal/ rock soundtracks to pump you up. You see, most games back then had a punch and kick system. 

You’d also get heavy kicks and special attacks, but Guilty Gear brought in a new system called instant-kill. Instant kill required you to fill up your tension gauge by hitting people. Then you’d unleash an extremely dangerous attack which was hard to aim but once you landed this attack the other guy’s done for.

Not only would you win the round, but the entire match. This was considered broken, and was immediately rectified in future Guilty Gear games where instant kills only win you the round. Plus, each character in Guilty Gear has multiple special moves instead of just one. 

Oh, and you even have a taunt mechanism. Taunts can be used to lure your opponent into a false state of security because your taunts can be canceled mid-animation to attack. Taunts will also raise the enemy’s tension gauge.

6. Guilty Gear X

Developer Arc System Works
Release Date October 2, 2001
Platforms Arcade, Dreamcast, PlayStation 2

Many of the mechanics and controls have been carried over straight from the first Guilty Gear game. However, X feels exponentially better and works much better as a competitive fighting game. You have to remember; this game was released in 2001 and 3D games were common fare.

In fact, 2D games were the minority back then. Even fighting games had largely moved on to 3D. Like TEKKEN and Virtua Fighter, for example. But Arc System Works and Daisuke knew exactly what they were doing with Guilty Gear X.

The game retains its anime/manga-inspired art style and characters with weirdly awesome names. You also have the super-flashy special moves and instant-kill system making a return from the first game. A few new characters and special attacks are introduced in Guilty Gear X. 

In this game, you have a system called the “Roman Cancel” that lets you stop an attack mid-animation if you have enough points in the tension gauge.

By doing this, you can create some combo moves that are impossible unless you cancel attacks. Having enough points in the tension gauge will also make you invulnerable for a short period if you assume a defensive posture. 

5. Guilty Gear X2

Developer Arc System Works
Release DateFebruary 4, 2003
Platforms PlayStation 2

Also known as Guilty Gear XX, it’s the sequel to Guilty Gear X. Yeah, I know- these names are so creative. Anyways, how much better is the sequel compared to its predecessor?

Well, let’s start things off with the characters. Most fighting games back then had characters that either resembled normal people or were of alien/ mutant origin. However, Guilty Gear derives its designs from anime.

That’s why you’ve got scantily clad babes swinging ginormous melee weapons that probably weigh more than a small car. There’s a mysterious pirate woman who fights with an anchor, and some blonde British guy who looks and sounds androgenous.

Some of the cast looks skinny yet extremely well-built at the same time which… I don’t know how that’s even possible? 

But these weird and unconventional anime-inspired characters are what sell Guilty Gear. Each one of them has a basic backstory to get you engaged, and the dialogue/ taunts are awesome too.

Combine all these wacky characters with special moves that look like they could slice a mountain in half, and you’ve got one of the best fighting games ever. 

4. Guilty Gear Strive

Developer Arc System Works
Release Date June 11, 2021
Platforms Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5

The newest Guilty Gear at the time of writing this article, Strive is a very different game from every one of its predecessors. While previous Guilty Gear games stuck to the same general formula, this one is a big overhaul in terms of gameplay.

So… where do I start? You no longer have instant kills in the game. I know, it’s a massive shift because this was such a core part of Guilty Gear and one of the things that made it stand out from the crowd. The ability to execute a skill-based move that completely annihilated your opponent irrespective of their health was exclusive to Guilty Gear.

But it’s not there anymore in Strive. In its place, Arc System Works has introduced a brand-new mechanic called Wall Break. No, it doesn’t let you destroy any walls placed around the stage.

But here’s what it does. Pressure your opponent into the wall with combo moves at the edge of an arena, and the Wall Break system will teleport both of you into a different stage. This isn’t game-changing because the switch is more of a scenery change. 

However, Wall Breaks also increase the rate at which you accumulate tension and this is a significant advantage. Damage values for things like heavy slashes have also been increased. So now the fighting style has to be a more cautious one, waiting for your enemy to show an opening.

3. Guilty Gear Xrd

Developer Arc System Works
Release Date December 16, 2014
Platforms Arcade, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Windows

Apparently, it’s pronounced as “Guilty Gear Ex-Ard”. Unnecessarily complicated names aside, this is actually one of the best fighting games you’ll ever play. Xrd isn’t just a good Guilty Gear, but a breath of fresh air in the otherwise stale fighting game genre.

There are no generic karate guys or mercenary bros in here, the roster is comprised of pirates and space bandits. And it’s set in the year 2187, after the events of Overture. While all characters have a basic punch + kick + heavy attack move set there is much more depth than you think. 

The lore and unique looks of each character aren’t just for show. Each fighter possesses special moves that are radically different from one another. You’ve got a guy who can teleport around the arena to dodge and break his enemy’s defense. Then there’s another fighter who can unleash a barrage of flying swords.  

2. Guilty Gear 2: Overture

Developer Arc System Works
Release Date October 7, 2008
Platforms Xbox 360, Windows

Now, this is NOT a fighting game. Overture isn’t a game in which you and another fighter engage in combat while rock music plays in the background. Instead, it’s a strategy game with 3D graphics.

There are units you unleash into the stage, and you can command them to execute various moves. Gameplay isn’t like a top-down RTS though, it’s closer to something like Bayonetta or Devil May Cry combined with League of Legends.

And you as the master can enter the battlefield to weak havoc on your enemies with dashes and charge combos. Filling up the tension gauge lets you do Overdrive moves that deal tons of damage, a system borrowed from regular Guilty Gear games. 

1. Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator

Developer Arc System Works
Release Date June 7, 2016
Platforms PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Windows

As far as mainline Guilty Gear games are considered, I feel this is the best one you can play. And you’ll find that a lot of people agree with my choice. Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator rewards you more than any previous Guilty Gear game for playing aggressively and up in your opponent’s face.

However, it also provides you with a plethora of solid defensive options which means it takes real skill to stay on top of someone. On top of that, you have a brand new cast of fighters who each bring some very interesting skills.

Take, for example, Jack-o who is a girl with magical summoning powers that let her bring in minions to attack enemy fighters. 

Jam Kuradoberi is another excellent addition. She is a charge-attack- fighter who can take various stances to increase her attack damage. You also have Raven who’s basically immortal and gets pleasure out of letting others hit him while he stands there.

Raven’s powers let him absorb all incoming damage when he takes a defensive stance and converts that damage into health. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Are all the Guilty Gear games 2D?

A: No, the newer ones are 3D. Some Guilty Gear games use a combination of 2D and 3D graphics to create what’s called a “2.5D” effect.  

Q: How many Guilty Gear games are there?

A: A lot. Over 20 if you include all the spin-offs and updated versions of core releases. The mainline series consists of 7 games, which I have listed in this article.

Q: Are there any gameplay systems unique to Guilty Gear that you won’t find in any other fighting game?

A: Guilty Gear has an “instant-kill” system. Your character launches a high-risk attack that is hard to land but will successfully drop the enemy irrespective of their health if it connects. Using these techniques requires you to fill your “tension gauge”, which is done through offensive moves.

Q: How many characters are there in Guilty Gear?

A: Over 40 across the entire series, but each game contains anywhere from 13 to 25 unique characters.

Q: I have never played Guilty Gear before and just bought Strive, which characters should I select?

A: My top 5 character recommendations for newcomers playing Guilty Gear Strive are- Chipp, Ramlethal, Sol, Ky, and Giovanna.


If reading this article inspires you to pick up a Guilty Gear game, I’ll be extremely glad. It’s much deeper compared to Street Fighter and rewards player skill.

Sure, you’ll need to put in a couple of hundred hours before you learn how to string together moves. 

As for the rankings, I only went with mainline Guilty Gear games. I purposefully excluded the updated versions/ spin-offs as that would make the list far too long.

These rankings are representative only of my personal opinion, and your choice for the best Guilty Gear game might be different.