Review by Wolf Feather

"Wonderful Game, but Definitely NOT for the Inexperienced Lacking Time and Dedication!!!!!"

Virtua Fighter 4 is an absolutely awesome martial arts fighting game. The graphics are beautifully stunning (although certainly not photorealistic, as in Gran Turismo 3), the locales varied (an aquarium, a temple, a rooftop with helicopters flying overhead, a beach, and many more fighting ''arenas'') and interactive (down to the footprints and snowflakes in reaction to the characters; some even have breakable items such as walls), the music mind-boggling and quite fitting to the game, and the fighting itself is definitely second-to-none with multiple fighting styles included in the game across a sizeable array of characters :-)

However, Virtua Fighter 4 has a fairly steep learning curve for inexperienced players, especially those unfamiliar with the Virtua Fighter series; such inexperienced players absolutely MUST have a large amount of time to spend on the game to really become proficient in its intricacies. Before the game's release, I had read repeatedly that Pai is one of the easier characters in the game; while I am not a complete newcomer to martial arts games (having played and enjoyed the DOA, Tekken, and Mortal Kombat series previously, although certainly never approaching the level of ''intermediate'' player in any of these fine fighting games), I never really felt as if I was able to execute a good number of moves or combos for Pai - it almost felt more like I was simply mashing buttons and hoping to happen upon the right combination or move at the right moment :-( Part of this is certainly due to the game's blazingly-fast speed, which means that timing is of the utmost importance, especially when playing against the CPU.

Virtua Fighter 4 does include a (somewhat cumbersome) Training Mode, and I did work through some of the tutorials. However, truly learning this game and performing well in VF4 requires a HUGE investment of time - something I simply do not have at my disposal - as well as a strong knowledge of each character's defensive repertoire - which is somewhat of a significant step away from other fighting games such as the DOA and Tekken series.

For experienced players, Virtua Fighter 4 certainly seems to be an excellent choice among the martial arts games currently available for PS2. In college, I often marvelled at Virtua Fighter 2 in the arcades and at my then-girlfriend's precision ability at playing. VF4 has certainly come a long way since VF2, but with its steep learning curve, only true veterans of the series and those diehard martial arts fanatics with a lot of disposable time will truly be able to excel.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 03/25/02, Updated 03/25/02

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