Shacknews Best Art Style of 2021 - Guilty Gear Strive

In every match, every stage, every character design, and every animation, Arc System Works crafted something truly beautiful in Guilty Gear Strive.


Much can be said about how Guilty Gear Strive shifted the genre-wide direction of fighting game netcode design with its masterful implementation of rollback. However, that’s far from the only thing that makes Guilty Gear Strive impeccable. It also has some of the most delicious visuals in all of gaming right now thanks to the absolutely amazing work Arc System Works has poured into all of its art and animation.

ArcSys was always top notch when it came to the design of their fighters, but in Guilty Gear Strive, they’ve taken it a step further. All of the characters have fantastic redesigns to them, looking like they’re ready to grab the mic at a rock show. The stages also look amazing in the game as well with transitions adding more to the typical Guilty Gear background than ever before. You’ll find yourself blasting from a vast mountainside cliff to a shadowed cavern as you fight it out with the opponent in one stage or battle between a castle’s steps and garden in another.

Guilty Gear Strive’s lush use of color is already present in these previous conversations, making everything pop all the more, but it’s the reactive nature of shading and shadows in Guilty Gear Strive and their effects on the characters that make it truly jaw-dropping. That is to say, the stage background have actual effect on the lighting and shadows of the characters. We’ve seen plenty of 2.5D fighting games already where there’s light and dark staging, but it never reflected on the characters like this. It means that between the same characters standing in that castle or a snowy forest stage, you have entirely different shading and color adjustments on the characters showing on the characters as they move.

Arc System Works’ fighting games have always been strikingly brilliant, but Guilty Gear Strive goes beyond what anyone would likely expect out of a fighting game. The use of color, adaptation of light and shadow, and sheer cool designs of both characters and the backgrounds they fight in make Guilty Gear Strive a cornucopia of visual delight. That’s why we’re giving it the Shacknews Best Art Style of 2021.

Watch the Shacknews Awards 2021 YouTube playlist or read our Year of the Games: 2021 article for all of the awards in one place. We wil be announcing our Shacknews GOTY 2021 on December 31.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    December 29, 2021 1:00 PM

    TJ Denzer posted a new article, Shacknews Best Art Style of 2021 - Guilty Gear Strive

    • reply
      December 29, 2021 5:03 PM

      The only character design I don't like as much as the older games is Chipp. I think they overdid his muscles a little too much for the hit and run type of play style and look he's always had.

      • reply
        December 29, 2021 8:01 PM

        I agree. Everyone looks beefier in this art style, including Chipp, which is a silly decision. At least he has a cool-ass ninja otter though.

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