Real fighting game combat can be experienced through the squared circles of Virtua Fighter. Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution is a sequel of Virtua Fighter 4. VF4 was the first-ever Virtua Fighter released on PlayStation consoles apart from its versions exclusive to Sega consoles. Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution is considered by many to be a great buy for the PlayStation 2 when it was released in 2003.
THIS is Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution:
^ from: giantbomb.com - American box art for Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution.
--- Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution at a Glance ---The Virtua Fighter series has been predicated on realistic fighting moves rather than the fantasy fighting game elements provided by series like Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat. There is only a little bit of fantasy to fighting in this game. Otherwise, get ready for realistic combat. The Kumite mode of the original Virtua Fighter 4 has been replaced with a new Quest mode. The Quest mode takes you all around the city battling fictional characters at arcade rooms. Apparently, the fictitious challengers are all based on actual data of Virtua Fighter 4 game players.
--- What Makes the Virtua Fighter Series So Different? ---Before I talk more about this game, let me pause and offer this section. Here is a look at what makes Virtua fighter games different from most other fighting games and fighting game series.
Basic Differences with Virtua Fighter Games.What the Virtua Fighter series may lack in a number of characters makes up for with more unique characters. You have to basically KNOW your fighters from EVERY perspective to win in Virtua Fighter games. You can even strategically get out of holds. All the controls are fairly basic and straightforward. All the various individual moves are for you to learn on your own. Most other games almost tend to treat all characters with the exact same weight. Virtua Fighter games actually have certain set weights ranging from lighter characters to much heavier characters.
Virtua Fighter Series vs. Street Fighter Series.Many people will easily take Street Fighter over Virtua Fighter because of the amount of action provided. Virtua Fighter is a 3D fighting game, though you don't really have the full range of motion. You can trap your opponents in corners and just go to town against your opposition in Street Fighter games.
Virtua Fighter Series vs. Tekken Series.While the VF games have far less characters than any Tekken, Virtua Fighter games more than makes up for it by including more character than characters. Both games deliver lots of realistic moves, but Tekken has a few really fantasy moves. Very few characters in Virtua Fighter games have seriously fantasy moves.
Virtua Fighter Series vs. Mortal Kombat Series.Simple- Virtua Fighter is more realistic all around, even if there is no blood from landing attacks in Virtua Fighter games as there are in the Mortal Kombat games.
Virtua Fighter Series vs. Super Smash Bros. Series.They both share a common bond- you could actually knock opponents off the screen and win. They just don't go flying sky high like in the Super Smash Bros. games.
Virtua Fighter Series vs. Dead or Alive Series.Virtua Fighter doesn't have overpowered fighters like in the Dead or Alive games. What DOA has over VF games is the fact that you can destroy the environments to lead fighters to other areas of each stage. Also, no sexy women in Virtua Fighter games.
Now let's move on!
--- Virtua Fighter 4 Characters ---This section concerns the characters to this game. Just about all characters from past Virtua Fighters are in this game. The two newcomers are Brad and Goh. Brad is a handsome kickboxing guy from Italy, and Goh is a freaky dude from Japan with an interesting array of moves.
Akira.I guess you could consider Arika Yuji the Ryu of the Virtua Fighter series. There is a "theory" I have for characters like him- any character dressed in a karate gi is tough. Akira is CERTAINLY tough. He is not very quick in delivering attacks, but he's certainly effective. The Japanese fighter practices Hakkyoku-Ken. It's a good idea to fear him if he's the guy you're fighting against. He's a true VF original.
Pai.One of my personal favorites in the game, Pai Chan is a very quick fighter with some great moves. The Hong Kong native knows how to put up a fight with her Ensei-Ken style. Some of her moves can put her in her Bakutai stance. She can be tricky to keep up with when fighting against her. Take full advantage of her speed and quickness to win matches. Pai is a true Virtua Fighter original.
Lau.Lau Chan can be thought of as the grumpy and evil old man of the bunch. This Chinese fighter packs lots of power in his moves. He fights with a regular stance and even in Kokei stance. Some of his throw attacks are powerful. Don't let him juggle you in the air with his uppercut! Perhaps his biggest weakness is that he tends to leave himself open quite a lot after powerful attacks have missed. Make him pay when you're fighting against him and he does this! Lau is a Virtua Fighter original.
Wolf.While the heaviest fighter in the game, Canada's Wolf Hawkfield certainly isn't a slouch. The pro-wrestling fighter is someone you want to avoid getting grabbed by. There's even a Tutorial section devoted entirely to his big swing. You're almost on your own as to how to beat him effectively. He's a Virtua Fighter original.
Jeffry.Jeffry McWild brings unique offense against all fighters. The Australian practices a very unique martial art called Pancratium (or Pankration). Pankration is a unique blend of kickboxing and wrestling. He utilizes his trade beautifully, utilizing vicious punches and kicks along with very strong wrestling-type holds. He has a regular stance, but can also briefly go into Threat stance. His throws even include a powerbomb and a chokeslam. Be wary of his diverse offense when facing him. When using this heavy fighter, use his power to make quick work of your opponents.
Kage.Kage-Maru is my personal favorite fighter in the whole game. He is a ninja who has that just right blend of speed and power and precision. The Japanese fighter fights with Hagakure style. He has two different modes. He fights normally, but then can go into Jumonji stance. Kage goes much slower in Jumonji stance, but he can still deliver hefty damage. Some of his regular moves can take him into Jumonji stance. If you think that just because he's a ninja that he's capable of using a sword and shuriken, think again. He doesn't need any weapons when he can wallop almost any fighter effectively. As a homage to Ryu and Ken, he has his own version of the Shoryuken, which he can follow up with with a mid-air kick. Kage is a Virtua Fighter original.
Sarah.The American Sarah Bryant fights with Martial Arts style. In the later stages, Sarah can be a pest to beat. Despite this, her moves are smooth and crisp, leaving no wasted motion in her strikes. You do NOT want to fight her when in Flamingo stance. That's where she is most deadly. Use her style to your advantage when fighting as her, and make sure to put her away early when fighting against her.
Jacky.It's probably fitting that Jacky is an Indy car racer because Jacky Bryant is the quickest of all fighters. His speed is unmatched against almost any other fighter in Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution. The American is tough to stop once he gets going. He doesn't have any stances, but he does sometimes switches up his foot position. Jacky provides some bigtime matchup problems if you're using a slower or heavier fighter. Jacky is a Virtua Fighter original who's been kicking butt since the very first Virtua Fighter.
Shun.Easily the oldest fighter in the game, Shun-Di is the king of Drunken Kung Fu. Part of his offense is predicated on taking sips of his drink. The Chinese fighter was born a two years before World War I. He may be old, but he's no weakling. Shun can be a very entertaining fighter to use and fight against.
Lion.Frenchman Lion Rafale has the fighting stance of a crane. He fights with Tourou-Ken style. Lion can be pesky if you let him tear you apart with his moves. While he's not very fast, he knows how to get on a roll if you're too slow to keep up with him.
Aoi.Sweet, but deadly, Aoi Umenokoji is actually my favorite female fighter. Part of the reason is because of her swift and precise attacks. She's the only fighter in the game who wears a skirt, but they are hakama pants for most of the rest of us (still a skirt, nonetheless). She sometimes can go into Tenchi In'you stance. The merits of her offense are in her defensive abilities. She always has an answer for almost every attack. There aren't really too many ways to beat her except to remain consistent on offense.
Lei.My brother's favorite fighter is Lei Fei. He has the most stances of any fighter in the game with three different stances- Hai Shiki, Koko Shiki, and Dokritsu Shiki stances. He can throw you off guard in a hurry. Try not to get confused too much with his attacks while using him. The Shaolin monk from China practices Shaolin Ken and is very dangerous.
Vanessa.Vanessa Lewis serves one purpose- beating people up. The silver-haired powerhouse She fights in Vale Tudo style. She has two difference styles rather than stances. Vanessa starts off in Defensive Style. Defensive Style is where she can quickly defend against any punching attacks by grabbing your wrists. From there, she could kick you in the gut or throw you down hard. She can go into Offensive Style where "shoot to kill" is her mission. Whichever style she's in, Vanessa is an absolute powerhouse.
Now, here ae the two new additions to the lineup of characters.
Goh.One of two newcomers, Japan's Goh Hinogami is a freaky zombie-like dude. He can be pesky and sneaky at times. Make sure to keep him at bay and don't let him go to town all over you. Take him down and keep him down. Don't let his Judo offense tear you apart.
Brad.The handsome Brad Burns is a talented kickboxer. The Italian practices Muay Thai kickboxing and can be a handful to keep down. He can be a very interesting fighter to use, but he's fearful when fighting against him.
Dural (cannot be selected).Virtua Fighter veterans know that the ultimate opposition is Dural. She is a vicious fighter mimics the moves of all moves. She can even mimic the drunken kung fu style of Shun by taking sips from her own drink! Dural is that girl you just don't want to mess with.
--- Virtua Fighter 4 Fighting ---The most important thing to know about fighting is understanding your environment.
Fighting Arenas.There are three types of levels: open levels, breakable wall levels, and unbreakable wall arenas. The open arenas allow you to knock your opponent out of the ring. The winner wins himself/herself a Ring Out victory if this is the case. If both fighters are out of the ring at the same time, then the one who takes damage while out of the ring will lose. Breakable wall arenas allow you destroy the walls by having your opponent get knocked into them. Afterwards, you can knock your opponent out of the ring. The unbreakable wall arenas will not get you ring outs. So you'd might as well earn your knockout victories! Only one arena with unbreakable walls can still get you a Ring Out if you throw someone high enough. That level is the one with pool level (the one with the water surrounded by a fence. A Ring Out is only possible if you somehow throw your opponent over the edge too high to where they come out.
Evasions.There are multiple ways to evade attacks. Among other methods is to simply take backsteps. You can evade close attacks quickly by quickly rolling out of the way. Execute your moves properly, and you could go behind someone for a throw or a vicious combination attack from behind.
Learn the Reversal Techniques and Know When to Use Them.The more elite VF gamers know how to utilize each character's reversal moves and know when to attack with them.
Do the Tutorials.The same lessons are taught for each fighter. Use this mode to learn more ways to win your matches. It's recommended to try various tutorial exercises with all the characters. Remember, you have to basically KNOW your characters inside and out to win matches.
The most important thing to remember- practice, Practice, PRACTICE!!!
--- Virtua Fighter 4 Quest Mode ---Quest Mode in this game is what Kumite used to be. Rather than a quest to go from 10th Kyu to Champion, your task is to go from arcade to arcade challenging other AI fighters. Each of the AI fighters are somehow based on actual VF fighters' skills. So obviously, the weakest ones actually show WHY they are weak. There are eight different arcades to visit along with the Event Square fights. And for some reason, you can only play original Virtua Fighter 4 levels at the arena.
The first two arcades have a Best-of-3 setup while every arcade afterwards is Best-of-5. Earning bonuses can be done by clearing Quest Orders. These are things such as (not limited to) win a certain number of matches in a row, throw your opponent a certain number of times, and things like that. The toughest orders are marked with a star. The first of these is to execute a four-hit combo in the very first arcade. Credits and items can be earned to customize your character. No advantages in performance result from these. Instead, all you're doing is giving your fighter any number of items to equip to make your fighter look cool.
When you compete a certain task for a whole arcade (such as completing 50% of the arcade), you can take part in tournaments. There is no distinct seeding format. You're just placed against some other opponent, and your job is to beat that opponent and move on. There is a Third Place match if you fail to reach the Finals.
The Arcades.It's been a while since I've really been competitive playing this game. You start off at Sega World West, where you face the weakest opposition. You've got a long way to go to eventually get to the toughest of all the arcades- Sega World East. According to virtuafighter.com, one mega tournament awaits you when you're done with the last arcade. I've never gotten that far, so I won't discuss it.
The Items.You can unlock all kinds of items to customize your fighter. Remember that none of them give any kind of performance advantage. Those items are there for show. Characters can be customized with only one item for each of the following sectors: Hair, Face, Body, Feet. There are also four sectors for which colors can be changed. Only a certain number of colors are available early, but many more will be available later. You can also unlock videos and other bonuses. These videos feature a bunch of tricks you can use to deliver serious combos.
--- An Added Bonus! ---This game marked the tenth anniversary of the Virtua Fighter series. When you're done playing VF4 Evolution, you can play the special 10th Anniversary game featuring all of the VF4 EVO characters with a mid-1990s makeover! Only eight characters have been in every Virtua Fighter since its inception, and everybody else just has special mid-1990s remakes. The mode is simply there for you to play when you don't want to do VF4 Evolution. You can not save your progress in this game. And when you're done, you can just go back to VF4 Evolution.
--- My Opinions on This Game ---Virtua Fighter 4 is an excellent fighting game. So what if there are no spin kicks, fireballs, super combos, or fatalities (unless you count falling off of Lei Fei's stage as a fatality)? This is an old title, but it's a great one. The graphics are impressive even for a game of its time. It is a beautiful fighting game with intense combat. You owe it to yourself to play this game and enjoy what it has to offer. The game was just $20 USD when it was released. For that money, you got an amazing and true fighting game. Some people would say that getting Ring Out victories is cheap, but this game has always been a real style of fighting game. The game has complexity without being overly complex. What's not to love if you have a PS2? The only problem I have with this game is that I probably wished it had some kind of online multiplayer. But of course, you could always play Virtua Fighter 5 for the PS3 or XBOX 360 and enjoy online combat.
I wonder if Tekken 5 took some cues from Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution when it had its own customization system.
Old game, but a great one. Get your copy from Amazon (with the graphic below) if you liked my review and want to get this game for yourself. Thank you for reading!
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