Virtua Fighter Cyber Generation: Ambition of the Judgment Six (Virtua Quest)

Could this be the long awaited Virtua Fighter RPG that Sega has been promising?


The Lowdown

Pros: The virtua fighter engine is deep and allows for a wide range of combos.
Cons: Sloppy control system and a rigid camera distract from the action.

Purchase at Play-Asia
Sega's latest game Virtua Fighter Cyber Generation: Ambition of the Judgment Six (soon to be known as Virtua Quest in North America) stars a young boy named Sei who enters a cyber world known as Nexus. Nexus, similar to the NET world in the Rockman EXE series or the World from .hack, is a common place virtual reality network. Originally, Sei enters the world in search of a hunter's license (a nod to you Phantasy Star Online players out there) to pick up some treasure. Soon though he runs into a young girl named Toka and realizes there is more in Nexus than meets the eye.

Since this is a Virtua Fighter themed game you would expect a solid battle engine. Right from the start of the game Sei is equipped with a good amount of moves that will please fans of action and fighting games. Sei has two buttons to dish out attacks, one is a light attack that can do a quick combo with a couple of presses. The second button makes Sei perform a more powerful attack that can launch an enemy into mid air. After you launch an enemy you can jump up and attack him with an air combo. Sei can even unleash a bullet time like move called "Synopsis Break" to keep an enemy floating in the air longer. This lets Sei make an even longer air combo, but the catch is using Synopsis Break drains Sei's SP meter. If you want to get really technical you can unleash Sei's cyber rope by tapping the C-Stick (right analog stick on PS2) to catch an enemy that you've launched and pull him towards you for a larger combo. While Sei already starts out with an uppercut, a dash attack, a throw, and a couple of combos, Sei can learn even more moves.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the game is customizing Sei's fighting ability. The main way to do this is to find Virtua Souls scattered throughout the levels. Once found, Sei enters a cyber battle arena with a member of the Virtua Fighter cast. You'll be able to meet Akira, Vanessa, Pai, Shun Di, and the rest of the Virtual Fighter 4 cast in the game. Although when Sei first meets them he'll need to prove himself by battling them one on one. Once Sei beats them, he'll be able to learn a signature move from the character he just beat. Eventually, you'll be able to get a wide range of moves from different characters to make a powerful and fully customized Sei. However, you won't be able to equip every move you get you'll have to choose between different moves. Therein lies the challenge of making the "perfect fighter" for your style of play. All of the special moves Sei can learn, like Akira's stun palm, use SP when you use them, which means you will still have to rely on Sei's regular attacks. More basic attacks can be purchased with points that you get from beating up enemies. Sei will eventually be able to extend his combo, get a dash attack and increase his life bar.

Besides customizing Sei you can also change your robotic bird like partner called a bit. You can feed your bit different types of food, similarly to how you feed your mag in Phantasy Star Online. The changes to your bit can be pretty dramatic. You can upgrade your bit to become a super attacker, another can grab items and another bit can heal you when injured. It's up to the player to make a bit the way they want to it to best suit their style of play.

With all the emphasis on fighting and customizing Sei it is easy to neglect the many platforming elements in the game. Virtua Quest is full of jumping, double jumping and swinging with Sei's cyber rope. Sei will need to use his cyber rope to latch on to moving orbs of light so he can move from place to place. Another useful move that Sei has is the ability to run on a wall or run up a wall. All of these platforming elements don't work well with the rigid camera. Even in the first tutorial level jumping with Sei can be a challenge since you can't freely rotate the camera. Also the camera doesn't automatically focus itself, which makes the running on wall jumps frustrating. The control scheme, which is great for a fighting game doesn't fare well with the platforming elements either, which makes the game feel a little disjointed.

Virtual Fighter Cyber Generation isn't the best looking game on the PS2. In fact the blocky buildings, drab colors and squarish character models makes the PS2 version look more like a Playstation One game than a PS2 one. The game looks much better on the Gamecube, with smoother textures and more vibrant colors. Although, it still doesn't look great, at best it looks like a Dreamcast game. Sei and all of the characters have rigid animation instead of the fluid animation seen in Virtua Fighter 4. The graphics could surely use some polish. The music could use some work as well. You have some bland over repeated background tunes with the occasional Virtual Fighter 4 character themes mixed in.

Virtua Fighter Cyber Generation isn't quite the RPG it originally promised to be. However, the great fighting engine and deep character customization makes Virtua Fighter Cyber Generation stand above the average 3D brawler.

Import Friendly? Literacy Level: 4

All of the text and speech are in Japanese, which will make it difficult to play through the game. Although, the gameplay is intuitive enough to enjoy the game without understanding Japanese.

US Bound?

The game is slated for release in 2005 under the name Virtua Quest.

Overall

Virtua Quest ends up being a unique action game with the goal of making Sei into your ultimate fighter.