I've seen this game get a lot of negative feedback, most of which says that the hybrid doesn't work, is sloppy, or is uncomplimentary. This is simply not true. Granted, the game is difficult to play, and there isn't really any solid basis of comparison to help pick up its mechanics, but the action and RTS mechanics flow seamlessly into one another, so well in fact, that one is easily lost between the spectrum of the two.
|The Organ screen.|
As you can see, there is a lot going on.
Guilty Gear 2 essentially has two playing fields, the Organ, (where most of the RTS elements are carried out,) and the field, (where the game takes place.) In the Organ you can buy your troops, send them into the field, and purchase items or abilities for your character. The game makes the RTS element's a little bit easier by allowing you only to send your units to specific points on the map (known as Ghosts,) seeing as you won't be sending your units anywhere else, this doesn't hinder the game at all, and you can even pick alternate routes to every ghost, making the progression slightly more non-linear. The RTS element's do not end with the organ however, your master (player-character) has the ability to pick up and transport his troops, allowing you an even greater element of strategy: quick-retreat, blocking off choke-points, bypassing enemy defence, are all possible. Not to mention the various items or master-skills which can help aid your units, forcing your opponent to change his strategy.
For the action element of it then, Guilty Gear 2 comes complete with a full 3D fighting game integrated into its system, and despite only having two buttons, the series manages to move gracefully from it's four (technically five) button 2D counterpart. Your master is your army's strongest unit, and so its extremely important to be active all the time. This is where most of the discrepancy comes from, I think, because this means your time in the organ has to be FAST, (as with any RTS really,) because your master is simply a vital part of your game. And of course, there will always be the enemy master in the same position, who's actions must be watched carefully.
One of the only things that Guilty Gear 2 has to turn people away is it's difficulty, it can be hard to see what's going on with the constant frantic action of the battle-field, and it's easy to neglect certain areas of the map in the ensuing chaos, especially during intense master VS master battles. On top of this, some of the maps are huge, and frankly, confusing. Twisting paths lead to an ensemble of different routes, and it's easy to lose yourself and your army within them. However, at the end of the day, this is Guilty Gear we're talking about. Already known for being one of the hardest 2D fighters to pick up and play, the profound difficulty of Guilty Gear 2 is only to be expected. And just like its 2D predecessor, the learning curve is well worth the intensity of the gameplay, and as the only game of it's kind (it's far too different than the few other action/RTS games,) it's well worth checking out.
The only negative thing about this game then is its focus on multiplayer, (which can’t be helped, I suppose.) If you don’t have anyone to play it with (and I’m so glad I do,) then unless you’re willing to browse around forums and try to get a game together, it’s unlikely you’ll give this game it’s deserved time. That being said however, this game’s singleplayer is a good deal too. It’s been cited as too short, but really, compared to games that come out now, there’s tonnes to do. (Anyone who complains that it’s too short clearly hasn’t beaten the missions on hardmode.) Plus the singleplayer doesn’t end at the story mode, there are a heap of missions to do as every character, and on top of that, probably due to the inherit difficulty of the game on its own, the AI can potentially keep one amused for a very long time. (A word of warning though, hardmode single player is very hard, bordering Old school Nintendo Hard, (well, maybe not that hard, but that’s where the fun is, right?))
All in all, my only gripe with this game is it's music. ITS AMAZING. But it doesn't play nearly so often enough. Most themes only play when your character is winning the match, and some of the best tracks only play during certain master VS master fights, most of which do not last long enough to really take advantage of the song. Also, THE DLC IS NOT AVALIABLE IN EUROPE!! Although I have learnt to live with this, (the game is amazing anyway,) ever since I saw Raven in this game I have wanted to play as him, and yet, he is exclusive to America and Japan...
But I guess that's what Guilty Gear 2 Overture 2 is for. (Finger's crossed!)