Guilty Gear -Strive-‘s newest DLC character was just revealed in a trailer drop during the North American EVO finals. It may not be the biggest surprise; we already knew the next character would be someone familiar, and we had an inkling of who it was going to be when the game’s files were datamined. Yes, the next DLC character is the much-loved and much-loathed Jack-O Valentine.

Jack-O made her first appearance in Guilty Gear Xrd -Revelator-. She is an artificial construct made for the purpose of resurrecting Sol Badguy’s lost love Aria. I could go deeper into the lore than that, but it gets to be a bit of a mind-bender. The biggest thing to take away from this is that Jack-O originally was “broken,” split into a childlike and an adult personality. In Strive, only her adult personality was shown, along with a partially reconstructed personality of Aria. However, the trailer shows that her childlike personality is intact and ready to annoy fighting game players around the world once again.

But you don’t care about lore; you care about mechanics, so let’s take a look.

First to note, in Xrd, Jack-O didn’t have special moves in the traditional sense. Rather, all of her specials were mapped to her dust button and they powered up by spending 25% tension.

Guilty Gear -Strive- Jack-O

This system appears to be gone in her Strive incarnation. At 0:25 we see her do a standard Strive gatling, 5K into 2D. 2D in Xrd was an invincible uppercut. Here it appears to be a standard sweep, just like the rest of the cast. We see further evidence of this at 0:30, when she uses a standard 5D gatlinged from a 5K, again a pattern set by the standard Strive rules and not her standard Xrd moveset.

Another system from Xrd was her “minions” system: She can set down towers that would spawn minions that would advance on the opponent and attack every few seconds. The longer the towers stayed out, the stronger her minions became.

While she still has minions, it appears that the MOBA-esque tower system is completely gone. Instead of placing down towers that spawn minions, she can now spawn minions herself, even hurling them at the opponent in the process. We can see an example of this at 0:27. She appears to be able to summon up to three at a time and hurling, or in this case, kicking them at the enemy counts as a projectile.

Guilty Gear -Strive- Jack-O

0:32 further elaborates on her minion system by showing off several different kinds of summons: a low summon that only travels part of the screen, a bouncing summon that causes a minion to take off into the air, and an aerial summon where she picks up the minion and throws it at a downward angle. In addition, it appears as if the minions can collide into each other when thrown or otherwise used as projectiles, creating secondary attacks similar to Venom’s pool balls in previous Guilty Gear games.

In fact, she may have more in common with Venom than you think. At 0:48 we see her attacking I-No and her minion at the same time. Each strike causes it to lunge forward and attack as a projectile, again similar to Venom’s pool balls. However, the minions also seem to attack on their own.

We also get to see her ordering her minions to explode in the same series of moves. This is a holdover from her Xrd days. She had special commands that could tell her minions to attack, explode, or stay still. We actually see her use all three over the course of the trailer, attack at 0:26, explode at 0:48, and hold at 0:52 although it might be more accurate to call this a “defend” command, as it comes with a barrier that also seems to cause a guard break. It’s also worth noting that we see Jack-O summon but not launch her minion in this exchange, meaning she can simply place them and let them do their business without interference. Once again, shades of Venom there.

Guilty Gear -Strive- Jack-O

There are still a lot of questions left unanswered by the trailer. For example, will her minions level up? Likely not, as we did not see any trace of such a mechanic in the trailer. Does she have any of her older D specials? If so, how do they operate? We are not entirely sure, but it does seem as if she still has her command grab, a “Stone Cold Stunner” that puts the enemy in an iron maiden. However, we haven’t seen any of her supers yet, so it’s entirely possible that these specials were just converted into supers.

Overall, she seems to be much much simpler than she was before, but that’s not a bad thing. Every character in Strive is much simpler than their counterparts in previous Guilty Gear titles, but they are still quite deep, especially when they interact with the game’s core mechanics. I can’t wait to see what Jack-O can do with the Roman Cancel system, among other things.

Jack-O Valentine will become available to play for season pass holders on August 27 and will become purchasable individually on August 30. Stay tuned for a full breakdown from Arc System Works within the next few weeks.

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