Review by KasketDarkfyre

"In-depth would be an understatement..."

Having come a long way through the ages, Virtua Fighter is a game that requires more skill than it does flashy moves and overall button smashing. Giving several different fighters and picking up where the last game left off, there are plenty of new features to deal with and a ton of new options to work through. Having been featured solely as a Sega game for years, it’s rather refreshing to see a game of this quality come to the Play Station 2 and keep a lock on the Tekken Series!

The storyline picks up where the last game left off, with Kage having defeated Dural {who turned out to be his mother} and saving her from an untimely metamorphosis. However, even after defeating Dural and saving her from J6, an evil conglomerate of world super powers, and his mother’s condition worsened and she is once again changing. Faced with an uneasy task, Kage sets off into the night to rescue his mother from a fate worse than death. Sounds pretty interesting, but what you’ll find is that the overall view of the story seems to focus on one character, when in reality, all of the characters are somehow intertwined.

The Game Play –

There are several new features to the Virtua Fighter world and you’ll be able to pick them out rather quickly once you’ve started the game. For the most part, the fighting requires precision timing and button presses as well as combinations that allow you to juggle and basically humiliate your opponent into submission! Even though this sounds like most fighting games that you’ll find out there on the market, what makes this one different is that in order to be successful with any of the characters, you must first study them and then the defensive capabilities that are present.

Where most of the game picks up in substance is in the fighting portion. There is hardly a way to bash on buttons and effectively make a combination out of random attacks. Everything that you see here can be linked, deflected, reversed and completely turned around as long as you’re willing to take the time to learn what all of the characters do. The tutorial mode allows you to train with any given character and use them effectively through a series of tests that brings out the more technical side of the game which is in turn reminiscent of Killer Instinct Gold and it’s training mode!

When you move into the game further, you’ll find that there is a new feature that allows you to train up the computer A.I and a character that you can use in Kumate Mode. The Kumate Mode is something that is different in which you have a basic survival game that has records and the ability to earn new items {for character creation} through successful fighting! The challenge really isn’t all that difficult to deal with, you just have to be quick on your toes and with your fingers in order to work with the game and all that it has to offer.

The Control –

As with most fighting games, control is always a factor when you’re playing or at least trying to play. With this particular set up, it really hasn’t changed much since the last few games in which you have a character that has a punch, kick and guard. In order to perform attacks you have to use the directional pad {assuming that you’re using the Dual Shock} and then hit the corresponding buttons. Chain combinations are done in the same fashion with the use of more attacks that link together. Again, if you’re having trouble, go through the training mode and learn what there is to learn.

The Audio –

First rate stuff with plenty of guitar and dance rhythms to get you through several of the different stages. For the most part, what you hear in the game is pretty good, with each stage having an air about it that allows you to get deeper into the game through the different themes. Probably one of the more impressive tracks comes with the coliseum stage and the high/low sounds that you hear there. The voice over that you hear throughout the game is nice as well, but it does tend to detract from the game with cheesy sounding one-liners when you’ve won or lost a match!

The Visuals –

Probably one of the more stunning features that Virtua Fighter 4 has to offer, the visuals that you find here are nothing short of clean and crisp. With the different stages all having something going on in the background, whether it is wind, lightening or explosions, or even a raging crowd that is cheering you onto victory, you’ll find that there is something here for everyone! One of the coolest features that I found with the visuals was the ground effects like the snow that parts when you move and the tiles that break when you slam someone down onto them.

The Verdict –

Virtua Fighter 4 has enough for everyone, although it can be considered a very technical game. If you like games that have stunning depth to go along with exceptional visuals and audio, then you’ll find everything that you’re looking for in this little title. However, if the mere sight of extensive move lists and a need to master a character completely in order to proceed seems a little too much, then you need to stick to Street Fighter and leave this title to the fighting game purists!


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 04/08/02, Updated 04/08/02


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