This was one of the games I wanted to play for quite awhile in the past. I mean the idea of Virtua Fighter having a sort of RPG game was a great idea. Not to mention SEGA needs to flesh out this series (as well as many others) a lot more. I feel if this game didn't have a couple of flaws people complain about in this day and age we could have a solid game.
This game is based off the Famous Virtua Fighter series. In fact it takes place many years in the future after Virtua Fighter happens. Using the same evil syndicate, "Judgement Six" from Virtua Fighter. There intent is basically causing terrorism through the net. Unfortunate for Sei, our main character he gets dragged into this conflict and is forced to fight for his life. Good thing he has people looking out for him. Cause his dad first sent him a Special Hunter's Glove he could use in this virtual world. And even more so a couple of rather random characters offer him a helping hand. And all Sei wanted was some money for his intent to enter the races. But its thanks to those random characters he's able to find and acquire what's Called Virtua Souls to use in battle against Judgement Six. The Virtua Souls are missing data of various Virtua Fighters (yep there's the connection) that give a person the ability to fight and break through any security. Well things should be simple right? Well actually....
That's a summary of the game's story. While I understand the storyline and like the direction it takes. The way it was written has a few holes here and there. While the plot of Judgement Six and pretty much every evil guy was fleshed out properly. The other character's or should I say your allies get little to no screentime. Even characters that are important to the games plot rather get shoved to the side and likely will never be around again bug you with character development. This wouldn't irk me so much if most of those characters (if not all of them) didn't show up in the intro along with Sei to make appear as if they're gonna help you out a ton through the game. Honestly the intro should've used the Virtua Fighter characters standing next to Sei instead. Most of them flesh out the story more than the time wasting NPC's with voices.
*Spoiler Note Highlight You've Been Warned: One of the character reveals at the end of the game (Sei's Father) would be a lot better if you saw more of this dude throughout the game instead of him popping up to say hi and bye.*
Anyway while its not bad for a story I think they honestly should've done more with the characters rather than having them say Hi and Bye. Really only 2 (or 3) characters show character development through the game the others rather forgettable.
Gameplay Is A Double Edged Sword
While the combat is solid. Most of the other aspects of the game is shakey at best. I find the combat to be like that of a random beat-em up, hack n' slash type gameplay. Which honestly that's no problem. Some the enemies can be frustrating to deal with at first but eventually you learn how to deal with em even the bosses. A minor issue I had was with customizing. While I could mess around with the upgrade parts. The placement of them or really the controls behind them are rather ugh. Using the analog sticks for placement in a 3 x 3 x3 cube is rather annoying at times. Probably my main gripe with customization lies with the style changes as I call it. Depending on your actions in each stage as well as what Virtua Souls you have equipped makes your style change. However the game makes it appear as if theses styles have levels to them saying things like, "Light LVL 1" or "Heavy LVL 1" Really there's no level beyond LVL 1. *sadface* Virtua Soul customization makes up for it. By the time you finish the game you end up having a ton of Virtua Souls to pick from. Some my favorite moves from Virtua Fighter 4 that actually pulled me through the game.
While all this is minor gripes at best. The worst comes from dealing with platforming issues. The game has some great ideas like swinging from ropes to get to the next area, to double jumping, and even Wall Running (Now that's rarely used). The platforming pretty much requires you to be pretty precise about everything Or well die (you don't really die just take damage or find yourself back at the starting point). When I say precise I mean certain jumps are like that of Classic Megaman Jumps where you have to be at the literal edge to make the jump. Swinging from virtual ropes have a pretty small window. In fact there's some cases where I over shot the jump and missed completely. This wouldn't be horrible if the Hunter's License Tests you take make you wanna break the game in half out of frustration. (Note: The very last Test you unlock is just way too hard to even be in this game. One mistake and its back to the starting point after you fail it of course.) It doesn't help that controls are rather sensitive with the virtual rope and the slightest movement of the Right Analog stick makes it come out or retract it at all the wrong times. I imagine if the platforming issue was fixed you could have a great game on your hands.
The music gives me a rather Phantasy Star Online vibe. Having a calm startout then when combat begins the beat shoots up. While there are some forgettable tracks what game doesn't have these. There are some songs that I would listen again and again for a good bit. However some of songs that play during a fight with a virtua fighter although its nice that they were remixed. I prefer the classic songs. I did especially enjoy the songs in the last couple of boss fights. They worked pretty well for the situation and really spoke for the mood.
I honestly don't care for Voice Acting cause these days the standards for it are "Professional Voice Acting or Get Out" While none of the voices are professional or some famous actor to what I recall. They aren't horrible. Each of them speak rather fluidly and read there script clearly. While it could use some work in spots its not anything I would complain about. I've heard voice acting that's far worse in comparison.
I wish the game was a bit longer. Maybe if the game was longer the other NPC's could have more time to tell us more about themselves rather than beg Sei for help, then say KThxBye! I enjoy the combat but the platforming needs some fine tuning. The game has potential and heck I actually wish there was a sequel using a different theme. If those things were fixed the game could easily be an all time best PS2/GC game on a list. I do want a sequel of this game. Maybe using another Sega franchise as a plot device. Like NiGHTS, Sonic, Virtua-On, etc. Maybe Sega will make another side game to there series like this. I never really know what they're doing so here's hoping.