Review by steve D

"Hands down, the greatest 3-D fighting game ever!"

The Virtua Fighter series has always been regarded as the forefront of 3-D Fighters. The bar by which all others are measured, you could say and Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution is no different. Featuring an abundance of new modes and features, and a cost-friendly $20 Manufacture’s Suggested Retail Price, Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution is a Fighting Game fan's wet dream.
As its name implies, Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution isn't a direct sequel, but rather an ''evolution'' of Virtua Fighter 4. The Gameplay remains relatively unchanged, some moves have been added, some issues have been addressed, but otherwise the gameplay is still identical to Virtua Fighter 4, but now wait a minute, that sure isn't a bad thing as Virtua Fighter 4 is one of, if not the deepest fighters ever.
What is new is the addition of two new fighters, Goh and Brad Burns, both of which bring about a whole new style. While they both look a little out of place, their addition is a welcomed one.
For those of you who have never played Virtua Fighter 4 or its predecessors, the Virtua Fighter series is all about depth, the likes of which no Fighter came before could match. Learning about all the techniques, moves, combos, and styles of an individual fighter (there’s 15 all together) can take months, if not years! Luckily Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution sports one of the best, ifs not the best training modes ever seen in a Fighter. After a few hours in the tutorial it’s easy to see how deep, rewarding, and most importantly, fun Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution is.
A Fighting game can't rely on its Fighting engine alone, it needs something that can engulf the player in it. For Virtua Fighter 4 it was the wildly addicting Kumite mode, and true to its title, Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution has the mind-blowing-ly addicting ''Evolved'' form: Quest Mode. In this mode you chose a Fighter and then travel to different arcades, challenging the local players their till you can enter a tournament. Unlocking and beating the tournament for each arcade not only unlocks more areas, but also nets you cash, which in turn can be used to purchase a staggering amount of virtual memorabilia. Theirs everything from video's of real life Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution top tournament players, to clothing items that can dress up your character, giving him/her some distinction. What really buts this mode over is the AI, it's very smart, hardly predictable, and modeled after real life players! No two fighters in Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution's Quest mode fights the same. In addition to the realistic AI quest mode offers up different goals, like get a 15 hit combo off an opponent or defeat a certain character a certain number of times. Not only that but most tournament feature distinct ''gimmicks'', like extra damage for slamming your opponent into the ground, or my favorite, the vampire matches. In this type of match both participants start with half their health for every hit you connect with your health goes up, and the same for your opponent, creating a sort of tug-o-war. It variety like special goals and match types that keep quest mode fresh, despite the time put into it.
When Virtua Fighter 4 was first realized it was a great looking game that was unfortunately held back by some very bad Anti-Aliasing, which gave the game's graphics a jagged look. Thankfully AM2 (the game's Developer) fixed the problem and boy-howdy does it look better. Featuring crisp detailed graphics and easily the most fluid animations seen in a game, Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution is head and shoulders above the rest.
The in game music is most comprised of generic rock that's generic at best. Even though its mediocre at best, it gets the job done and fits in with the game. The sound effects are also nothing special, but they too, get the job done.
There are some drawbacks, most notably the removal of the AI learning feature from Virtua Fighter 4. In this mode you would teach an AI ''dummy'' how to fight by using the best possible method: beating the tar out of it. It was a fun little mode that sadly has been omitted from Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution. Another problem is the save method. Rather than save each quest mode data separately, it saves them all together in one file, meaning the only way you can face other friends/foes with quest characters is if they saved their data on your Memory Card, which more often than not, they didn't. The omission of said features isn’t major problems, just the little I could find wrong with Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution.

Virtua Fighter: Anniversary Edition Mini Review
A neat bonus for US gamers is the Addition of Virtua Fighter: Anniversary Edition. This mode is available right from the start and is featured in the options menu under special. This is the original Virtua Fighter that was released with the Sega Saturn when it launched in 1995, now updated with all the characters from Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution, as well as sharper resolution and now sporting a 60 fps speed. Virtua Fighter: Anniversary Edition lacks sidestepping, tech rolls, and counter attacks amongst others. This changes the way you play the game significantly and the additions of all the Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution characters only further confuses things. In one aspect Virtua Fighter: Anniversary Edition is Virtua Fighter ''evolved'', in another it’s like a whole new game. This feature definitely lengthens Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution's already long expected life span.
Unfortunately Virtua Fighter: Anniversary Edition is a little lacking, mode wise. There's the basic Arcade and versus modes, that's it. Then again the original Virtua Fighter didn't even have a Versus mode! Virtua Fighter: Anniversary Edition was never meant to be anything more than and side show and quite frankly that’s all it needs to be (because of that i've opted not to give it a score).

Closing Comments:
Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution has countless hours of fun at your disposal. Between learning the ropes and the extensive quest mode, it'll be months before you exhaust everything to do in this game and if you got friends (you DO have friends, right?) the two-Player modes will only extend the life span of Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution. Simply put, Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution may not be perfect, but it's as close as it gets.

Scores:
Gameplay: 10/10
Graphics & Sound: 9/10
Control: 10/10
Lasting Appeal: 10/10

OVERALL: 10/10 (Not an average)





Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 09/02/03


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