Review by joec2003

"One of the better fighters out there. A Saturn gem"

Virtua Fighter 2 was one of the earlier games released for the Saturn. Adding a couple new characters to the previous cast and sporting some impressive graphics, it was one of the best games for the Saturn. You still see people today referencing the game and how impressive it was for its time. Over a decade later, the game still holds up well. Here's how my ratings go:

GRAPHICS: 8/10
Even looking at the game today, the graphics still could impress you. This score is based on present day, and it is still very good. Each character is made of a pretty substantial amount of polygons and even has facial expressions. In game you don't experience many problems, maybe some slight overlap but nothing glaring. The stages all look pretty solid, even if in reality they are all the same with a different rotating picture, but they hold up well. It still amazes me that Sega put this one out there in 1996, because it must have been way ahead of its time. Especially when compared to the first, which was blocky as all hell. There's replay at the end of the match, which can give some good views of different moves at times. This was one of the titles that really showed off the Saturn's 3D capability.

SOUND: 7/10
Overall, its good. Each stage features a lengthy audio track that fits each one well. But the sound clips, like many from this time, are muffled and distorted. Still, each character has a distinct voice and really make the character (think Lion). The punch and kick noises are spot on and do the job, but are nothing to write home about. One thing I really don't get is how the camera always seems to zoom away from the fighter's faces at the end of a match, because the lips actually seem to sync up with the voice. Seems like they'd make that more prominent.

GAMEPLAY: 7/10
The most important question: how does it play? Well, this and the first Virtua Fighter are the strong bases for a series that is still alive and kickin today. The combo system is pretty solid and each character has a very lengthy move list that could take any player a long time to master. On normal settings, the matches are pretty short because the amount of damage done for throws and even kicks is very high, but this can be changed in the option menu. The game also uses the ring out system, which is a good touch, because it can change a match in an instant. There is also some good parody in the game- you have your fast characters like Pai and Kage, but you also have the heavy hitters like Wolf and Jeffry, and the approach to beating each is very different. Controls are tight and responsive, especially having the X button set as throws. The matches are usually pretty fluid and move at a good pace and can get pretty heated. Like I said, the throws might do a little too much damage, because two of them can pretty much end a match (especially if you're fighting Jeffry), and the ground attacks can also do a lot. But it is fair for both fighters, so there is little to complain about, especially since it can changed in the options.

LASTING VALUE/REPLAYABILITY: 7/10
The game features a decent list of modes. You have your standard arcade mode, which on hard mode can be really difficult, as well as an expert mode which is a great idea. It tracks your most used moves and your tendencies while you are playing in arcade mode, and then once you play expert mode, the game finds the best way to counter those tendencies and moves. It's a cool idea, I'm not really sure it works completely because I think expert mode can be easier than arcade on hard, but it's good nonetheless. Ranking mode is also a nice touch, you play just as you would the arcade mode, but once you lose a match, you are done and the game grades your progress. They even suggest tips and give you rankings in style, etc. Last but not least, like most fighters, it can be good with a friend which adds to the replay. I see it as one of those games that you can pop in once in a while and enjoy some good fighting action. Give hard mode a crack, once you get up to the 2nd half of fighters the AI really kicks it up and can give you a hard time. Even if there aren't any unlockables, it will take substantial time learning all of the moves on a character.

WORTH BUYING? YES
You can get it for like 5 bucks on ebay, maybe less. It's one of the best titles on the Saturn and should be in every Saturn owner's library. It is a huge improvement over the first, if only for the graphically enhancement. It doesn't seem like a great score, but I try to grade realistically. It's worth picking up. In terms of the best fighters on the Saturn, I think it's probably just behind Fighters Megamix, which is basically just an upgrade of it with the Fighting Vipers.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 03/21/08

Game Release: Virtua Fighter 2 (US, 12/31/96)


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