Review by ZachKaiser

"Worth a rent, probably not a buy"

Well, considering this game didn't have any reviews, and I've got the time, inclination, and hopefully talent, I figured I'd give Joe Gamer the lowdown on Virtua Quest.

First thing to clarify: despite the presence of characters from the Virtua Fighter series (none of which I've played), this is definitely not a fighter. It's more of an action RPG with a couple of fighter and platformer elements thrown in. It's not necessarily a *bad* thing, but those who walk into this expecting a in-depth fighting experience will be sorely disappointed.

Visually, the game is alright. It's nothing spectacular, doesn't incorporate much for fancy CG, but it's far from terrible. The sound is another matter. The music truly is background music; you don't really notice it, although the attentive may notice that the tempo increases whenever a battle starts. No complaints there. The voice acting, however, is sub-par. The characters feel like they're just that: characters, not actual people. It doesn't help that the movement rarely matches the voice. Makes me wish they had an option to turn on the Japanese voices.

What's important, the actual gameplay (IMHO), is done fairly well though. The movement is a little blocky, but it's not too bad and you won't notice it most of the time. (Then again, that may be just me because I just got done playing Red Ninja.) The jumping, in particular the wall running, can be awkward at first, but it's all fairly simple and easy to get the hang of. The fighting is much better. Offensively, you have a basic combo as well as the 'Virtua Souls', powerful special attacks that cost SP to use. No worries, though; when you run out of SP, it starts recharging automatically, although you won't be able to pull of any SP-draining attacks until it's full again. The Virtua Souls are divided into six categories: Charge, Throw, Floater, Strike, Dash, and Jump. Although each type serves a unique purpose, the different moves in a type generally don't vary much, so it's more a matter of personal preference than anything. In addition to those, you have the Synapse Break, which helps you pull off huge combos on the enemy but slowly drains your SP, and the Synapse Blow, which damages all the enemies around you but drains some of your HP as well. For defensive options, you can block and (if you buy the upgrade) roll, but both are essentially worthless. Enemies (in particular the bosses) will just throw you if you block, and the roll doesn't really carry you far enough away to actually *get* away. It's generally better to just jump away. There are a few RPG mechanics thrown in, like HP, SP, defense and attack stats, as well as being able to buy upgrades for your character, but they're relatively minor.

The story starts you off as a boy named Sei, who's been goaded into becoming a Treasure Hunter (someone who searches the Nexus, which is like a virtual reality internet, for data chips)by his friend Hayami so that they can earn enough money to build an airbike. Conveniently, Sei's father has just given him a custom-made Hunter's Glove, so Sei agrees. He soon becomes wrapped up a plot by the criminal organization Judgement Six, and must collect the Virtua Souls, data recorded of legendary fighters (read: the characters from the Virtua Fighter games). Although the unfolding plot is nother spectacular, it should be enough to keep you mildly interested as you traverse through the levels, beating up hapless baddies. It would no doubt be a bit easier to swallow if the voice acting was a little better, but oh well. The Virtua Fighters themselves are involved little in the plot, although they'll each explain their story when you first collect them.

The game itself is short by RPG standards, and will probably take you less than 20 hours to beat. (I'm less than 10 into it and I'm already at the last stage). Once you get the hang of it, things remain relatively easy for most of it, but pick up during the last couple of stages. There are some puzzles in it, but nothing too challenging to the brain.

Although the graphics suggest the game is aimed at little kids, it's challenging enough (as you get into it) to keep older gamers like myself entertained for a bit. Although it received a Teen rating (I'm not sure why), you won't find any swearing or real mature themes in the game.

The good things this game has going for it are that it's a fairly original concept, with aspects of RPG, fighting games, and platformers thrown in. The fighting itself is fun, and you get to see some of the Virtua Fighter characters.

The downsides are that while the game performs all the aspects passably, it doesn't do much more than that. It's also really short by RPG standards, and the graphics may make some older gamers shy away from it. Also, the Virtua Souls, which are supposed to be the game's shining point, don't offer much variety in actual effect.

Overall, I'd give the game 6/10. As the title says, it's worth a rent if you're interested, but it's probably not worth buying.


Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 06/08/05


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