SEGA Ventures: Virtua Fighter 4 – Evolution [Part 1/3]

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SEGA Ventures is a series at The SEGA Source where one of the members plays through a SEGA game that is longer than just a few hours long, giving a summary of our thoughts along the way in a three part set of articles, a diary of sorts. This time we will be sitting down with Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution, the 2003 upgrade of the 2001/2002 arcade and PlayStation 2 release of Virtua Fighter 4.

Juunen Hayaindayou

I personally consider the Virtua Fighter series the highest quality IP made by SEGA, but I am in no way a pro. I like to play the series casually, and it shows. I had not played any version of Virtua Fighter 4 in years, and it was embarrassing how fast I fell when I popped the game back in an attempt to take down the whole cast in arcade mode. I did not do good at all. I had to get better.

Fortunately for me the Virtua Fighter series is the most supportive set of fighting games out there. Not everyone is going to be a pro with a few hours of play, but if you learn the basics and find a character that suits you best, you will be able to hold your own against even some of the professional players. With the help of the game’s career mode known as Quest, I have proven this.

Ever since the series started out, the AI has been designed in a way that it actually changes based on how you use characters. The games uses the statistics on what moves you do and what kind of angles you attack in, making it pretty much impossible to use the same kind of tactics over and over again to win. You also cannot get away with trying to block every attack because each character can only attack with how long their body is and they will just grab you instead. There literally are no crutches in this game. If you want to win, you need to learn how to play good. Virtua Fighter 4 especially, as it is the hardest in the series.

Even Good Guys Blow It segaventures

Most recently I had learned Akira Yuki and Vanessa Lewis in Virtua Fighter 5 pretty good – Or so I thought. I could not even beat the bonus boss Dural in arcade mode with Akira. The mechanics were not too different, but I figured I should just start over with someone else. I chose to start Quest as Sarah Bryant, who is all about quick action and combos, the later of which I really was never good at.

The first thing I remembered about Quest mode was just how different it all was compared to Virtua Fighter 5‘s version. In this, you unlock arcades to play in by beating the previous one’s tournament. Each one has different challenges and players of their own that you need to face. The optional missions in this really impressed me especially. With them you have goals like “Grab anyone 10 times” or ” “Break 5 walls by smashing your opponent into them”. All of these sound standard fare, but if you do try to beat them, you can get more items to change your character’s appearance. I also did not notice until much later on, but all of this was actually helping me improve my playstyles. It is stuff like this, how you are learning to play better when you really do not even notice that really make the game shine.

After I bested about 100 foes in Quest Mode, I figured I was ready to attempt Arcade mode again. What a difference! I made quick work of the first half of my opponents. It started to get a little tricky near the end and I did not defeat Dural, but I was satisfied nevertheless. It was even pretty interesting to see some of my old times… But something hit me about the save file I had been using. I rushed to the options menu to see if my fears were true, and they were. I was playing on Easy mode the whole time, not Normal! Once I changed it back I went right back in to see how I would do and I could not even defeat the fifth opponent. I was nowhere near where I wanted to be, I was just getting started.

Join me in the second part as I re-learn much about the game and give my thoughts on the changes from Virtua Fighter 3 and what was changed in Virtua Fighter 5.

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