Review by SupaShinji
""When they expand, I retract. When they retract, I expand." - Bruce Lee"
I seem to be one of the few people who really enjoys psudo-sequels. I view them not always as a way for a developer ride thier recent success to make a quick buck, but as a chance to fine tune a good game and make it a great one. ''Virtua Fighter 4:Evolution'' (VF4:Evo) is a prime example of how good a console ''expansion'' can be.
Gameplay - VF4:Evo plays like your dreams. The controls are air tight. Your movement and attack couldn't be more responsive unless you were bare-knuckle boxing your opponent yourself. I still do not understand how people can hold ''Soul Caliber II'''s (SCII) ''8-way run'' system in higher regard than VF4's movement system. In SCII the movement feels cumbersome and a little inexact, whereas the VF4 system allows for evades as fast as your reflexes. None of the attacks are THE attack, forcing players to learn their players skills inside and out. And for every attack used against you, there is a way to use your opponent’s momentum to your advantage. Along with the two new characters added to the series by VF4, VF4:Evo adds another pair of combatants to kick some ass with (or vice-versa). Goh and Bruce, Judo and Muay Thai fighters respectively, are welcome additions to the cast, and on top of their introduction, the returning fighter’s arsenals have been tweaked ever so slightly in an effort to balance the game to perfection.
Story - Here’s the best addition to VF4:Evo. While VF4 has no story per se (Yes, I’m aware of the little character backgrounds in the manual. Go away), it instead has the best single player mode in a fighter since Street Fighter Alpha 3. The new “Quest” mode is unbelievably entertaining. Choose your representation and ride them to the top of the Tokyo arcade populous. You start at the beginners’ arcade and as you stomp the competition, you move up to bigger and better arcades. As you clear arcade tournaments and the random “Prize Fights”, you earn cash that you can use to customize your character’s gear and unlock videos, new stages, menu wallpapers, new winning poses and more. You’ll be playing for months trying to unlock all the extras. Your character also possesses a rank which will ascend along with your skill. The crown jewel of is new mode is the fact that the very distinctive opponent A.I.‘s are based on the fighting tendencies of Tokyo’s top players. This keeps single player gameplay interesting on a very new level.
Graphics/ Sound - The same sleek visuals as the last game with a few minor tweaks. There are a couple new stages, but the most noticeable change in the cosmetic area is the repair of the “shimmering” problem in VF4. This is noticeable only to those who beat VF4 to death, but it’s just another detail that makes this package shine like a light bulb. The sound effects are great, as is the music, but sound is where one of my very few complaints lies. The voice acting. Some excerpts of the voice acting sounds like it was written by a guy who learned English off of Japanese stationary. Otherwise, all the stimuli are rock solid.
Presentation - Interface, character design, gameplay, it’s all beautiful. All the fighting styles are very distinctive and the mastery of one character can equate to little with the use of another. You can actually feel yourself getting better as you progress, from the superb training mode all the way to conquering the final tournament. And there is always room for your skills to improve. The potential for stylish wins is so alluring it’s unreal. There is nothing like teaching a new player why not to charge you, with nothing more than a sidestep and a punch to the liver.
Final - There are few games that you can play for four hours straight and still hold on to your feeling of self-respect. The style, beauty, and overall entertainment factor of this title makes it THE best $20 you can spend on your PS2. Every game, and I mean every game regardless of genre, should take a look at this package and benefit from the lesson. Own it. Now.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 12/12/03
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