Release Date: August 12, 2003
Buy 'VIRTUA FIGHTER 4: Evolution': PlayStation 2
Deep under the superficial surface of every person, there is always a deep desire to prove one’s self. In addition to the normal methods, you might wish to prove yourself secretly, in the “underground,” which is often mentioned in stories and movies. Two things come to my mind at the mention of that word: a drug ring (I hope it isn’t your deep desire to be a drug lord, or I fear for your future) and a fight club. In Virtual Fighter 4 Evolution, you get a chance to prove yourself to be the top fighter.
If you do not already know, this game is a straight-out 3D fighting game; unlike Street Fighter, the moves are actually realistic. I mean, come on, who can possible throw a fireball? Even though the game revolves around pounding the other opponent into the ground, there is some style and skill involved. Each character has his or her individual fighting style or form, and if you are good enough, you can actually use the power of your form in combat. There are several different forms in this game, ranging from Drunken Kung Fu to Kick Boxing. Each form has a specific character assigned to it, everything from monks to street punks, and, of course, the girls (you definitely can’t forget about the girls).
Once you start up this game, you see a nice little intro movie showing most the characters. This is where you will truly see the characters’ forms in action, and they are quite impressive, if I may say so. Make sure you take the time to watch both intros. Once that is done, you are ready to head to the fights. There are several options available for play: arcade, versus, quest, and training. I would suggest that all new players start off in training to learn the basics, fine-tune your skills, and pick up advanced tactics.
Once you’re done with the basics, select your character and start quest mode, the heart of the game. As mentioned before, there is a wide variety of characters available, a total of 15 selectable characters and two new original characters. In this mode, you pretty much level up your character’s standings and fame. There are two arenas open to play at start: standard tournament fighting, where you pretty much just beat an opponents over and over nonstop, and the underground arena, where I like to spend most of my time. I prefer the latter because it offers a variety of non-standard events, such as Wall Death Match or Knockdown Clash, in which slamming into the walls or ground damages you more. My personal favorite is the Hyper Action Battle, where battles are so speedy that they’re practically a blur. Other non-standard underground arena fare are: Iron Fight, a one-round fight with 1000 life and one player must win, Survival Tournament, where you go through a series of fights and carry over the remaining health from your previous encounter, and Seesaw Game, where attacks steal health!
When you are playing any of these modes, you will notice one thing: the graphics are so amazing that they’re drool-inducing. The character models are very nice, their physiques are extremely detailed, and the body proportions seem fairly realistic. The backgrounds are another graphical perk: the environment detail is quite impressive. If there were an option to walk through the background, I would forget about the fighting and just take a walk in the park, especially in my favorite arena, the castle. Each time an arena is loading, you will see a nice little movie sequence which showcases the building details, and it is always a treat, no matter how many times you have watched it before. In certain arenas, you will have the ability to interact with the background, being able to destroy the fence and barriers, which are there to prevent you from getting a ring out, but with enough force, you can break these barriers.
The music in the game isn’t as impressive as it can be. There aren’t that many different songs available so eventually you will hear the music over again. You won’t really get annoyed with it because it fits the game well, but there is almost no variety. During the fighting, you probably won’t even hear the music because you will be more focused on the fighting sounds and the war cries. Unlike anime, the voice actors for VF4: Evolution aren’t that bad, and the voices actually fit the characters’ appeal. You just don’t want some tough-looking guy with a squealing girly voice, would you? However, with the endless battle taunts, these voices will also eventually start to annoy you because the same line gets played over and over, and you just want to stop the madness and skip the damn sequence. Other than these slight details, the music overall is decent for the average gamer. If you’re looking for a good fighting game with good music, then this isn’t the one, but GGXX is one of the better 2D fighting games and has an awesome soundtrack.
I would have to say that this game is nice and has a lot of replay value. There are a total of 1500 unlockable items, making it a nice and extravagant task to unlock it all. With the affordable price tag, I would say that this definitely belongs in your gaming library. The graphics are just too nice to not try at least once. As most gamers said, it is probably one of the best fighting games out there. Advanced players and crazy button mashers alike will most likely enjoy this game. So what are you waiting for? Go prove that you are an underground fighting king (or queen)!
Score: 9.0 / 10