SEGA Ventures: Virtua Fighter 4 – Evolution [Part 2/3]

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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.

You’re All Talk! You Can’t Win With That Technique!

With my recent defeat I figured that maybe I was just having issues with the physics or timing or that maybe just Sarah is not the right character for me to use. I decided to go with basically the opposite of Sarah’s style and try out Wolf Hawkfield, the wrestler. Grappling is another thing I am just not good with at all in 3D fighting games, so it was either going to be a frustrating or extremely frustrating journey, but I felt like I was ready!

I knew Wolf played differently than Sarah and I even remembered some of his moves, but at the Normal difficulty I had problems within the first few matches, it almost felt like a whole new game! Some of the Quest mode challenges I would attempt were just so hard for me to figure out, even basic ones like normal combos took me several tries. Who would have figured you had to slam someone up into the air with your shoulder and then do some basic punches into an animation that looks similar to opening up a treasure chest just to complete a three hit combo?!

Fortunately for me, these were optional and the AI was more helpful than basically every other fighting game that comes to mind, so the only times I came to frustration was when I just tried to accomplish everything as fast as possible. The worst of the lot was when I had to defeat three Shun Di’s. It seemed simple enough, but the characters you fight against are completely randomized and it seemed like it took over an hour just to see the third one. Little did I know that you could actually quit out of the match and keep revisiting the arcade in Quest mode until you saw that character return or until the mission on hand would have been easier/possible. That would have been useful information a few days ago!

Anata Niwa Kunfuu Ga Tarinai Wa

Looking back to Virtua Fighter 3 for a comparison was kind of rough. To those who do not know, Virtua Fighter 3 was the first fighting game to have arenas that were not completely flat. It also added an extra “Dodge” button to the already established Punch, Kick and Guard. This and unlevel playing fields were removed from later releases in the series as many fans did not like the changes. Virtua Fighter 3 should get extreme amounts of respect however, especially on a technical level.

Virtua Fighter 5 on the other hand, while still stellar in almost every category does not revolutionize the fighting genre as much as the first, second, third or fourth did. Revisions slowly have changed this, along with the Xbox 360 release of the game having quite good online play capabilities. It is likely that this being the first main Virtua Fighter game in the series without Yu Suzuki, it’s creator had hurt development in some way.

Virtua Fighter 4 was also ahead of it’s time in many regards, and while the console releases do not play any worse at all, it is obvious that the arcade originals just look much better. Some textures are compressed quite a bit, but still look great on the PlayStation 2 console. The only thing I can really complain about this release in the series is that I am not a fan of the new style of music they used, much of it being very heavy rock that was very different to the laid back style of the first three, and was partially revisited in Virtua Fighter 5. The entire soundtrack does it’s job perfectly, but I am just not as willing to listen to this one outside of the game as I would be any other release. Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution has a remixed soundtrack with dozens of new tracks, with the old ones being available too, making it hard to end up with even this as any kind of complaint.

Shut Up! Just Come On! segaventures

I had made slight progress with Wolf, but nothing I was proud of in any way. I assumed that I just was never going to be able to improve myself in this game enough to see the large majority of the extras, which is pretty disappointing because some of them are incredibly cool. Great nods to the series such as the ability to unlock the character’s original Virtua Fighter 1 models for instance just seemed out of my grasp.

I still found the game to be incredible fun however, so I continued on and slowly got a bit better. I thought that from there on out I should use characters I was more accustomed to in the past, such as Vanessa, but before I tried to move onto another character I figured I would revisit Sarah again. This time it was to see how much worse I had probably gotten with her in arcade mode.

To my shock, I completely destroyed the competition. In fact, I did not even lose a single round at all! Of course, I was only on Normal difficulty and that was no real achievement in itself, but I had learned how to play the game better just from casually picking up the controller every now and then for a bit of fun. I knew from there that I could finally beat Quest mode after all these years and that I would do it very soon.

Join me with the final part as I give my final opinion on the game, my time with it and attempt to finish Quest mode and see just how much better I can get.

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One Response to “SEGA Ventures: Virtua Fighter 4 – Evolution [Part 2/3]”

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