Virtua Fighter 4 Evo
Written by John Yan
on 9/26/2003 for
Virtua Fighter 4 was a great fighting game for PlayStation 2 owners. The game has great gameplay and doesn’t rely on big breasted women to sell itself. And it’s a deep fighting game with balanced characters. Sega’s "upgrade" called Virtua Fighter 4 Evo continues with the great series adding a few new characters and cleaning up the jagged graphics that was apparent in the last game.
Now, I’ve been playing Virtua Fighter since the old blocky Sega arcade release about ten years ago. Virtua Fighter 2 was a great leap from the first one and that’s where I was really hooked onto the game as many of the hardcore fighters at my college scene played VF2 then the gimmicky yet fun Mortal Kombat series and Killer Instinct. The Virtua Fighter series has always been known for its large learning curve. Once you do master the game though it’s a lot of fun fighting similarly experienced players. When I picked up Virtua Fighter 4 after being away from the series for many years, I was surprised at how easily I was able to get back into it. The moves from Wolf and Akira seem to flow out easily. Having put down VF4 for a good six months, I tackled VF4 Evo and again found myself being able to pick up the game easily. I think if you’re an experienced VF player but haven’t touched the series in a while, you won’t have too much trouble picking the new one up and fighting with your favorite character easily again.
The basic fighting engine has been tweaked here and there with some new moves for old characters. The timing, on some moves, have been also tweaked but for the most part you should be able to perform the old ones pretty easily as you try and learn the new ones for each character. It’s a testament to the game to only use three buttons and have a very deep and rich fighting system built using those three. The timing of the moves takes a little more time to learn. And the number of moves for each fighter will keep you practicing for a while. I’ve always liked the feel the series and was pleasantly pleased with VF4 Evo’s feel.
The various levels offer wall-less ringouts, partial enclosures, and complete enclosures. Some moves has your character interacting with walls either jumping off of or even slamming your opponent into it. All of the levels are modeled well and feature some good textures.
Like Soul Calibur, there are some levels that can only be completed through certain conditions. This adds another level of complexity other than just taking the opponent’s energy bar down, ringing them out, or having more energy then them when the time runs out.
While the Kumite mode is gone from the game, it’s been replaced with a Quest mode. Also like in the Weapon Master mode in Soul Calibur, Quest mode lets you traverse various arcades in order to earn rank, money, and prizes. With money, you can purchase various items or features that enhance the game or your character. This RPG like aspect for VF4 Evo gives an added dimension to the single player game and makes the omission of the Kumite mode very acceptable.
The two new characters add to an already good variety of fighting styles available. A judo fighter named Goh Hinogami and a Muy Thai fighter named Brad Burns are the two new ones. When I first used Goh, I was a little frustrated as there were many combos and he seemed slow. After fighting against Goh though, I saw how effective and strong he could be. The judo master has various throws that can really do some damage. He also has a face that kind of looks like the bad guy in Die Another Day with the botched face job.
Muy Thai is Brad’s style and watching him reminds me of the guy that Jean Claude Van Damme fought in Bloodsport right before the main bad guy. He has some similarities to Vanessa but there are differences there that really set Brad apart from her. Brad’s another character that takes some time to get used to and one that I would only suggest experienced fights take a stab at.
Virtua Fighter 4 Evo’s graphics have been cleaned up from the previous game and the jagged elements that were predominant in the original release has been taken care of. While it’s not the most pretty fighting game to date, the graphics are clean and well done. The models have a lot of attention to detail and move very fluidly. It’s not the flashiest looking title with the likes of Soul Calibur 2 giving you incredible visuals such as colored dynamic lighting and sweet looking weapon effects from swinging. No, Virtua Fighter 4 Evo focuses on realistic movements and is not overshadowed by special effects from characters. The game lets the motions of the characters be the star and as a fan of well choreographed martial arts fighting, Virtua Fighter 4 Evo shines in having the characters actions be the main eye candy. The fluid motions of the characters combined with the good textures and great dynamic lighting make Virtua Fighter 4 Evo a solid looking title.
There are not many ambient sound effects but the hits have a great deep sound to them if you’re a heavy fighter and a quick sound to them if you’re a finesse character. As Wolf, any of my throws or power moves produced a bone crunching sound that any player from the original series will recognize. Using a fast character like Kage or Pai will have you hearing a wind whistling sound as your punches and kicks connect.
One of the greatest features for fans of the original game is the ability to play Evo with the graphics and sounds of the 10 year old arcade classic. The basic character model and textures gives the game a very nostalgic feel. It’s kind of cool to see how characters not featured in the original would look if they had been. Even the gameplay is modeled after the original with high floating jumps and 2D movement. Being a fan of old arcade games, it’s great to see a new one being playable on “old technology”. It brings back great memories of me at my local mall, hanging out with friends, and having some grand time with the Sega classic.
At a price of $19.99, this game is really a steal. A solid fighting title that has a long history, Virtua Fighter 4 Evo is a great addition to your PlayStation 2 library. Sega’s done a great job in offering some new features and at a reduced price. It’s too bad the release of Soul Calibur 2 combined with the steep learning curve of the game will probably not make this title as popular as it deserves to be. Virtua Fighter 4 Evo will take some time to master but it’s all worth it in the end. Grab a nice arcade style stick and some friends and enjoy one of the best fighting titles out there to date.
You really can't beat what you get at a price of $19.99. Virtua Fighter 4 Evo is a cream of the crop fighting game that's a great addition to your PS2 library.
Rating: 9.2 Excellent
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
I've been reviewing products since 1997 and started out at Gaming Nexus. After writing for a few different sites that went under, it's nice to bring back a site that's not dependent on revenue and just wants to deliver news and reviews of products.
I'm married, and enjoy first person shooters, sports games, and real time strategy games.