Virtua Fighter 4 - PS2

Also known as: VF4', 'Virtua Fighter Four', 'Virtua Fighter IV

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Viewed: 3D Third-person, floating camera Genre:
Beat 'Em Up
Media: CD Arcade origin:Yes
Developer: AM2 Soft. Co.: SEGA
Publishers: Sony (GB)
Released: 10 May 2002 (GB)
Ratings: 11+
Features: Vibration Function Compatible, Analogue Control Compatible: analogue sticks only
Accessories: Memory Card


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Having only appeared on doomed Sega machines and in the arcades, Virtua Fighter, as both a game and a brand, had never been properly exposed to the new generation of PlayStation consumers. Tekken, without doubt an inferior series, received adoration and acclaim that was the rightful property of Yu Suzuki and his team.

Virtua Fighter players have always carried a certain weight in conversation, simply because VF was always seen as somewhat underground. People who did come into contact with it had often been exposed to Tekken, essentially a 2D fighter presented in 3D, and the inclusion of a truly three dimensional environment threw them (pun intended). Virtua Fighter 4 is the game’s first real bite at a mainstream audience.

The PAL version loads and shortly after the Sega logo evaporates, you are presented with a 50Hz/60Hz switch option, a feature for which Sega should be highly praised.

This is by far the most stylish version of Virtua Fighter yet, both graphically and in terms of gameplay. It has the standard features of all modern fighting games, including an exemplary training mode. This is revolutionary in that it trains you on each specific intricacy within the gameplay engine itself. There isn’t really any parameter in the gameplay it doesn’t cover.

Virtua Fighter 4’s gameplay is all about speed, reaction and being able to time and co-ordinate the priority of moves. It uses just three buttons: to punch, to kick and to guard. The vast majority of moves are performed by pressing two or three buttons simultaneously, along with directional movement. Counterattacking with efficiency is also integral to the gameplay.

As with so many games to come from Sega, the beauty of Virtua Fighter 4 is its simple control method. It gives you the tools to do the job and the rest is up to you. Once you understand how the game works, which doesn’t take too long at all, if you lose, it’s because you weren’t quick enough and didn’t think about the priority of your attacks.

The arcade mode has excellent AI, and pleasingly gets more difficult as fights go by. Sometimes it gets a little frustrating playing against a computer in a game of speed and skill. It has the ability to be both faster and better than you, an ability if often uses. But the whole point of this game is beating up your friends and loved ones in two-player mode, not your console.

If you have never played a Virtua Fighter game before, this comes highly recommended. It is easily accessible and far superior to the competition. Perhaps you’re waiting for Tekken 4? Perhaps it’s time to do something to stand out from the crowd.