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Platform

Playstation 2

 

Genre

Fighting

 

Publisher

Sega

 

Developer

AM2

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q3 2004

 

 

- The game has new, smooth graphics. which are greatly improved over the original

- The Original Virtua Fighter game is included as a love letter to the fans

- The deepest, most challenging fighting system on the planet

- The new Quest mode is deep and engaging, not to mention highly addictive

 

 

- I would have liked to have seen the A.I. mode of the original return

- No Online mode

 

 

Review: Virtua Fighter 4 (PS2)

Review: War of the Monsters (PS2)

Review: Guilty Gear X2 (PS2)

Review: Soul Calibur 2 (XB)

 

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Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution

Score: 9.7 / 10

 

Many 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 aliasing.  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.  

 

virtia fighter 4 evolution ps2 review          virtia fighter 4 evolution ps2 review

 

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.

 

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VF4 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 the game.

 

virtia fighter 4 evolution ps2 review          virtia fighter 4 evolution ps2 review

 

If 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 world.  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.

 

For old-school Virtua Fighter players who cut their teeth on the original arcade games or the Sega Saturn version, VF4: Evolution also provides an amazing treat.  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.

 

- Tolen Dante

(September 28, 2003)

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