Review by Solidus

"The True 3-D Fight Experience!!"

Prepare to read a honest verdict on the first ''Sega AM2'' attempt at third party console dominance!.
Have sega accomplished what they set out to do?, 600.000 sales in ''Akhibara Japan'' within the first week speaks volumes!!

First of all I urge all the ''Tekken'' fans to form a orderly queue, ''Dead Or Alive'' fanatics please move on.. Nothing to see here!!

GRAPHICS

Here is why I have asked the DOA fans to move on, There are no Multi-Tiered arenas here with big explosions. What you have got though is the PS2 pushing a high end ''Middleware'' graphics engine with basic lighting and special fx yet maintaining a high polygon count. I will not go into the particulars of ''Middleware''(Search the WEB) but you cannot achieve the sort of Graphical genius of say ''MGS2'' through this game development medium. The results are solid ring based arenas with average FX. Yes I can confirm there is a Anti Aliasing(Jagged Edges) problem with VF4 but to a lesser extent than Ridge Racer V. This will be overlooked by casual gamers yet I can see the Hard core gamer raising a eyebrow at the jaggies around character lips or when a character pulls off complex movements on screen. Sega sadly have not aspired to the likes of ''Kazunori Yamauchi''(Gran-Turismo 3) or ''Hideo Kojima''(MGS2)by working closer to the metal to overcome this problem which plagues the PS2, Rest assured Sega are programming a tool as we speak to counter this on future Sega-PS2 games. I own a ''X-Box'' and DOA3 and can confirm the graphics of the latter are notably better but the graphical element of VF3 will still leave those not living in the X-box shadow with a smile on their faces. Overall the graphics do the job well allthough I know the PS2 is capable of a hell of alot more!!.
GRAPHICS- 7/10

GAMEPLAY

Here is where the ''Tekken'' hardcore will prevail!, cast your mind back to Winter 1994 when Tekken was released on PS1 & Virtua Fighter on Saturn. Tekken was chosen over V.F by the masses as it took the mechanics of V.F and improved them in almost every aspect such as easy controls & character moves. Spring 2002 and the V.F series takes back the crown by ironing out the small niggles such as floaty jumps & complex character combos. What is left is a game with a tight control system appealing to the novice and expert gamer while still holding a special place in every hardcore V.F fans heart. There is nothing as sweet as pulling off a simple five hit combo and knocking your opponent into a wall or even ''Ring Out'' depending on the stage. Stick with V.F4 and you will be rewarded with the most comprehensive fighting experience out there which the DOA series has always tried to aspire to. The gameplay offered by V.F4 to novices and veterans alike will soon overlook the small graphical niggles mentioned earlier.
THIS IS SHEER CLASS!!!
The Control system on the dual shock 2 is fairly good allthough maximum pleasure can only be achieved by using a ''Arcade Fight Stick'' further enhancing the gaming experience on offer.
Gameplay-9/10

SOUND

The sound achieves what it sets out to do even though one cannot help but feel that it is not quite as crisp as the Tekken series and is more akin to the DOA games. The character sound F.X are good with the usual thuds and smacks that beat em up offer but the DOA inspired tunes dont thrill your eardrums. Speech is average with ''Come On'', ''Fight'' & ''Go'' played with the usual V.F series conviction. Jacky and Sarah still sound as cheesy as ever but the oriental fighters sound good, possibly because you cant understand their remarks. So nothing new on offer in the sound department certainly nothing memorable.
Hands up those who think that V.F1 arguably had the best musical score of the series!
Sound-5/10

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

If you own a Japanese PS2 and the ''HDD''(Hard Disc Drive)unit this game is compatible with the afforementioned which is a good and bad thing. The good thing is that developers are beginning to utilise the extra 40 G.Bytes of memory offered by the add on. The bad thing is that there is no advantage of using the HDD with this game, neither can the game save files be stored on the HDD or the loading times between bouts improved. This begs the question what the use of programming V.F to take advantage of the HDD was?
loading times are still 5 secs between rounds with or without the HDD, the only difference is the latter prompts the console to read data from the HDD rather than the CD- Rom. Another additional feature not mentioned is the new ''Kumite'' game mode. I wont spoil this new and innovative gaming experience for you but will give you a sneak peek at the logic of it. ''Kumite'' is a ''Vs Tournament'' where you stand off against the CPU in a winner stays on affair as you aim to better your win ratings and unlock secret items for your character, Hats,Masks & new clothing are all in there with more besides!.

OVERALL

This game should be played by all that concider themselves Beat Em Up Fans to enjoy its unrivalled fighting experience.
Lay to rest the eye candy advantage of DOA3 and what awaits you is a game that rewards the player and has you coming back for more. Heed these last few words from a X-Box owner,''This game plays better than DOA 3!!.

OVERALL RATING 8/10



Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 02/12/02, Updated 02/12/02


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