Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution
The update to one of last year's most popular beat 'em ups crash-lands at Kikizo. Join us as we scour the wreckage in our full review.
By Mo Imran
It's Wednesday 12th March 2003 and I could have sworn Adam just told me he had Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution for PlayStation 2. "It's not even out in Japan yet" I inform him. Well thanks to the wonders of early deliveries, and the brilliance of our friends at top importer The Computer Exchange, Kikizo just happened to have some copies of said game.
Everything is put on hold, as we set up a detailed plan to meet up and collect the software ("I'll see you for drinks in an hour"). Before I set off I ring up Ryan Hart, one of the best Virtua Fighter players in the west. It's all secret, I tell him, so keep it under your hat, I advise. Before I leave the house I suddenly have to answer a dozen phone calls, so much for keeping it under the hat, never one to keep a secret, that Ryan...
"This is probably the most balanced roster of digital martial artists ever compiled in a fighting game."
Eventually the game's intro fires up, and so do the arguments! "That's not the graphics, it's FMV" one ill-informed caveman mutters, someone else grunts in agreement. I beg to differ, "look at the resolution, that's being rendered by the hardware". I'm proven right, as I always am, when we start to play the game. Although the intro is a very high quality FMV file, the games graphics do it justice. Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution looks sensational. And it plays even better, so that's it. Full marks. Ten out of ten. Goodbye.
"The all-new Challenge mode tests your knowledge with CPU exam-style battles."
Now before we dig deep into the new features lets get one thing straight, Evolution is NOT VF5, think of it more as a stop gap, a VF4.5 if you like. But as you'll discover, it's so much more than a mere sequel-come-upgrade. The most obvious new addition is the two new characters. Sadly no new female fighters this time around, but we do get the hilariously named Brad Burns, a slightly camp looking kick-boxer, and Goh Hinogami, Judo maestro and ruthless assassin... nice.
"Money can be used to enhance your character, and there are hundreds of new items to unlock."
All the fighting arenas have had minor to drastic cosmetic face-lifts too. Some stages are set during different times of the day, others have atmospheric effects added like rain and fog. Some stages have even been re-modelled to add more variety, for example a lot of the low walled areas now have the corner segments removed - you have to be careful where you are, or you might fall out of the ring. Also, stages that have no walls have been increased in size meaning 'ring-out' orientated characters like Kage and Wolf have a harder time getting a cheesy win.
"Once unlocked, 'Hyper Action Battle' speeds up the moves and timing, allowing you pull off insane combos."
Lastly we have the Quest mode. Best described as a fighting RPG, you begin by selecting your character and than find yourself staring at a map of Japan with various gaming arcades highlighted. Your task is to visit these arcades and challenge opponents, winning money in the process. This mode is very similar to the Kumite option in the previous game. Every once in a while you may have to participate in a 'special battle' whereby you'll gain a higher rank, extra cash or a prize upon winning. All the accumulated money can be used to enhance your character and AM2 have crammed hundreds of new items to unlock.
"Put simply, this is finest beat 'em up ever created and should be snapped up by any fighting fanatic."
Quest mode is huge and we've only scratched the surface, it's a great addition and an excellent way of beefing up the single player game.
The original Virtua Fighter 4 was arguably the best fighting game available on any platform, and it seems only Sega has the ability to better it with this sequel. AM2 has taken an already near-perfect beat'em up and done the impossible by making it much better.
The simple three-button system is easy to get to grips with for 'newbies', but offers the depth of control needed to pull off astounding attack combinations once you start mastering the game. And herein lies the beauty of VF4E, the game is simple to pick up and play with 'button-mashing' friendly characters like Lei-Fei and Brad, but also offers very complex and detailed characters like the expert level rated Akira and Shun.
No matter if you are a casual gamer or hardcore fan-boy, you're well catered for here.
(See Latest Videos & Video FAQ Here)
|PLEASE DO NOT DIRECT LINK TO ANY MEDIA FILE ON KIKIZO|
|The first of two stunning intro sequences - the 'blue' version for Goh.||1.20min||11.7MB||MPG|
|The second of two stunning intro sequences - the 'red' version for Brad.||1.20min||11.7MB||MPG|
|See all the characters like you've never seen them before, in new clothes and styles.||0.32min||4.81MB||MPG|
|All the new features in the training modes demonstrated in this vid..||1.01min||8.07MB||MPG|
|The Quest mode revealed - and a sneak preview at what it entails.||1.08min||10.0MB||MPG|
|A short clip showing the insane things possible in Hyper Mode.||0.22min||3.31MB||MPG|
|Goh VS Goh in a three round fight.||1.39min||11.3MB||MPG|
|More crazy hyper fighting, this time with Akira showing Vanessa a thing or two.||1.44min||12.0MB||MPG|
|Mo almost shows us how Kage is meant to be played.||1.03min||6.88MB||MPG|