Baiken is back, and this time… she’s packing heat!

baiken starter guide guilty gear strive

Samurai Shootdown

In just a few short days, the wandering warrior woman will make her presence felt when she returns to the star-studded roster of Arc System Works’ excellent fighter Guilty Gear Strive — This new iteration of the Baiken has a somewhat overhauled fighting style, boasting more than a few new twists, even for her most ardent followers.

So let’s check out the newest edition of Guilty Gear Strive Starter Guide and see hwhat’s hwhat.

Right off of the bat, the starkest change to Baiken is the almost complete removal of the majority of her Guilty Gear Xrd arsenal, with this iteration of the samurai rolling out only a handful of specials… Some of which are entirely new. Her encyclopedic array of Guard Cancels have been scrapped, mostly consolidated into a single counter known as “Hiragi”.

This, at its very core, almost entirely changes the Baiken gameplan, which might be a tad frustrating for those who have already put in the hours to master Xrd‘s complicated defense system. Conversely, it will open the doors for newcomers or GG amateurs (like yer boy Moyse) to get off to something of a running start. To offset the loss of her cancels, Baiken has some intriguing new tricks up her sleeve. Literally.

The first is a fascinating mechanic that sees Baiken literally tether herself to her opponent, forcing them to remain at close range for a few seconds as she mixes them up with brutal close-quarters attacks. This results in a bizarre “bungee” situation, where the two fighters recoil and retract toward each other until the tether finally breaks. In 30 years of playing fighting games, I can’t really recall anything quite like it!

And, if that wasn’t wild enough, THE HAND CANNON RETURNS.

baiken guilty gear strive gun starter guide

Well, okay, it’s not quite a gun, but Baiken’s first new super “Kenjyu” sees her draw her mighty blunderbuss from her sleeve like Travis fuckin’ Bickle, before letting loose with a powerful firework projectile. You can light up the night and your opponent’s noggin. Kenjyu works both on the ground and in the air, giving Baiken some much-needed assistance when distanced from her prey, or when putting the icing on a devastating combo.

When it’s time to end the fight in style, Tsurane Sanzu-Watashi will see Baiken lurch forth with three devastating slash attacks, causing major damage while closing out the fight with some exceptionally dramatic visuals — recalling the cinematic samurai legends of yore. It’s not like you need your legs.

From this video, it’s clear that Baiken’s arrival is going to be quite polarising. While many will be pleased at her more rounded “stripped-down” approach, and even long-time players will be excited to get to grips with her odd and exciting new mechanics, some Baiken veterans might be left grumbling at the lack of recognition to her classic playstyle — one that was particularly tough, and therefore rewarding, for them to have mastered in the first place. I’m the former. But then, I’m an awful GG player.

Baiken joins the battle on Friday, January 28, for all Guilty Gear Strive season pass holders. For everybody else, she will be available to purchase from January 31. As a quick refresher, here are the links to the previous Guilty Gear Strive starter guides for May & Axl Low, Sol Badguy and Ky Kiske, Chip Zanuff & Potemkin, Faust, Millia Rage, Zato-1, Ramlethal, Leo Whitefang, Nagoriyuki, Giovanna, Anji Mito, I-no, Goldlewis Dickinson, Jack-O Valentine, and Happy Chaos.

Chris Moyse
Senior Editor - Chris has been playing video games since the 1980s. Former Saturday Night Slam Master. Graduated from Galaxy High with honors. Twitter: @ChrisxMoyse