Fighter 4: Evolution
Score: 9.7 / 10
gamers considered Virtua Fighter 4 to be the greatest fighting game of
all time, at least on a console.
The appeal of the game could be summarized in one word: depth.
With each character having over a hundred moves to master and
virtually unlimited ability to create various combos, the fighting
engine was the very definition of depth.
Deep too was the game’s Kumite mode, which allowed players to
advance through twenty levels of rankings and offered a tremendous
amount of challenge.
The only real flaw with the home version of the game was the
dreaded aliasing problem inherent with many PS2 games.
VF4 wasn’t ugly, by any means, but it had easily noticeable
Rumors out of Japan reported that the follow-up, pseudo sequel
Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution took care of the aliasing problem, so I was
hoping for at least a smoother looking version of the original.
The product, though, as it arrived on these shores, proves to be
much more than a polished version of the original.
It is, to my mind, truly the deepest, most rewarding 3D fighter
of all time.
The biggest change returning players will notice with VF4:Evolution is the tremendous amount of polish that has been given to the graphics. Gone are the jagged edges that marred the first game and in their place are brilliant anti-aliased graphics which look comparable to the VF4 arcade machines. Now, it is not a game that compares favorably to Soul Calibur 2 or Dead or Alive 3, but it is sharp looking. I especially like the realistic character design and the well-detailed combat arenas. Most importantly, VF4:Evolution’s graphical polish shows that Sega is learning to master the complex PS2, which can only bode well for the future.
Just having a number of gameplay options available does not make a good game. A game must have the most basic necessities of gaming – control, graphics, music – to be considered great. Wakeboarding Unleashed does an excellent job of meeting these basic requirements. Control, while a little on the loose side, is very easy to master and does not hide any frustrating glitches. For some unfamiliar with the basic principles of wakeboarding (ie. careening off the wake for air and pulling
already had the deepest, most complex, and rewarding fighting system
ever designed, so it is a good thing that not much has changed here.
Even experienced players might not notice the changes, which are
limited to a few new moves for returning characters that basically get
lost in the multitude of moves that characters already had.
On top of those new moves, the game features two new characters,
neither of which look particularly like VF combatants and instead seem
to be borrowed from the more over-the-top Tekken series.
Still, these fighters, though they look out of place, fit right
in when it come to the actual fighting and one of them, Goh, quickly
became one of my favorites because his fighting discipline is judo, a
martial art that has always fascinated me and which is very effective in
any of you remember my Virtua Fighter 4 review, you’ll know that I was
really fascinated by the Kumite mode.
It remains to this day one of my favorite bonus modes in any
fighting game as it just about begged to be replayed over and over.
Well, it is gone from Evolution.
Though that sucks on a certain level, at least it gives players a
reason to not trade in their original.
Better than that, the new game offers a mode called the Quest
Mode, which allows players to take on the best arcade players in the
Players of the original will remember the A.I. mode which is also
missing from this version, but which has been used to capture the moves
and play styles of Japan’s best arcade Virtual Fighter 4 players.
As much as I loved both the Kumite and A.I. modes of the
original, VF4:Evolution’s Quest mode might be better than
both—especially considering that there are over a thousand un-lockable
items and features tied to the mode.
These range from new wallpapers for the menu screens to clothing
to pimp out the fighters.
And even the un-lockable items have been given a tremendous
amount of love and polish.
The hair dyes, for instance, fade slowly over time until the
fighter’s hair returns to its original color.
It is truly amazing how much attention has gone into this mode.
old-school Virtua Fighter players who cut their teeth on the original
arcade games or the Sega Saturn version, VF4: Evolution also provides an
Available right from the outset VF4: Evolution allows players to
play the original game with its original graphics and sound, but with
the VF4 fighting engine.
It is marvelous fun.
Taken together, with its hundreds of moves per fighter and addictive modes and polished graphics, Virtual Fighter 4: Evolution is a marvelous game. This, combined with the fact that VF4:E is being released directly into the bargain Greatest Hits series, should make this a must purchase title for any fighting fan. I’ve played a lot of great fighters over the past two years, but Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution is the best of the lot.
(September 28, 2003)
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