Verdict Guilty is a 2D fighting game set in the streets of South Korea where we play as either an officer of the law or a criminal which range from a prisoner to a terrorist. There are 8 characters to choose from, each with their own individual quirks such as being able to stretch their arms like rubber or simply bringing an assault rifle to a fist fight. Regardless of who you pick, you’ll get the hang of them in no time since each only have four unique attacks and they are very simple to pull off. Do not go into this looking for an in-depth fighting system, it is more akin to a party game where anybody can pick it up and hold their ground.
For single player, you’ll have three modes to choose from, them being Training, Arcade, Survival and Story Mode. There is simply no need to ever go into Practice mode since if you have ever played a fighting game and can pull off a quarter-circle move, you have already mastered this game. Survival has you facing off against the entire roster on a single health bar while Story mode has a few uninspired quips of dialogue and a very specific requirement to win each fight, such as spamming a single attack or similarly dull tasks. Arcade on the other hand, allows you to fight without restraint and is the best choice to start with.
Oddly enough, there is no difficulty setting for any of the modes which can be a problem since the AI is very easy until the last few levels. The description for the game makes it seem like you can choose a side but that is not the case, regardless of the character you pick you will be fighting against the entire cast and the final boss. The main difference between the evenly split number of 4 cops, 4 criminals, is the effect of their grab attack. Cops will handcuff their opponent if you manage to grab them, leaving them defenseless for a brief amount of time. Criminals can sneak a bomb that detonates after 15 seconds or stab their foe with their grab attack. Defeating them with either grab attack will lead to them either being detained or wasted, neither having any effect other than a slightly different portrait of them after the fight.
From the character select screen, the UI and the move-set for some fighters, Verdict Guilty gives off a heavy Street Fighter 2 vibe. To be blunt and as to not set high expectations, it is simply not nearly as good as Street Fighter. Due to the sub-par animations that have very few frames and the extremely simple move list, it feels more like a Flash game than a quality fighter. It is also important to note that it is an inexpensive game that costs less than $3. With that being said, it still implements enough of its own ideas to have a unique flair to it. Aside from punching or kicking the daylights out of your opponents, you can also pull out weapons such as guns, vials filled with acid and grenades to keep you on your toes.
Weapons cause a fair bit of damage and most have to be reloaded as to avoid players spamming them. It gets pretty intense when you are playing with another player in the Versus mode. In one fight, there was a mine about to set off in between the two, causing neither of us to dare fight in close range which lead to shooting a hail of bullets at each other and unintentionally replicating a scene from The Matrix. Characters cannot take much damage before being down for the count. That does leave an advantage to Cop characters as being able to wail one an opponent for some time is a lot more effective than a bit of damage caused by a knife or the previously mentioned bomb with a 15-second timer. There is definitely a lot of room to better balance the characters.
I simply love the art style that features a subtle purple tint to further lend to the feeling of neon filled streets. The music is equally as enjoyable and I feel that this combination is what ultimately saves the game. It helps you to zone out and not mind the repetition that occurs from the simple gameplay and easy AI. Its tongue in cheek humor also adds some flair to it and I am unlikely to find another game anytime soon where I can summon a pigeon to wade through gunfire and have it nose dive to deliver
The Versus multiplayer is a local coop mode, there is no online match making so if there is no one around that is up for a match you’ll be stuck with the AI. This title is still being heavily updated however. Just recently the AI has been tweaked to make them a bit more proficient and a week before that there was an update to add more detail to the backgrounds. When I started playing the game the characters had three unique attacks but they later added another for everyone. It is not an Early Access title but to my surprise, as I kept pushing back and tweaking this review to reflect its current state, it has frequent & significant updates that will likely once again render this review obsolete in the near future. Be that as it may, as it is now I would still recommend it for those for those looking for a simple, cheap and constantly improving fighting game.