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Virtua Quest
Platform: PlayStation 2, GameCube
Publisher: Sega
Developer: AM2
Genre: Action RPG
Format: DVD-ROM
Release: US 01/11/05
Japan 08/26/04



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The fighting style of the Virtua Fighter is retained here.
 
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That looks like fun.
 
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Our boy Sei.
 
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The graphics are both vibrant and cute.
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Stuart Hoggan
Preview First Look
01/06/05
Stuart Hoggan

Sega's Virtua Fighter series has been a long time favorite of both fans and critics. But despite this, Virtua Fighter has never been a breakthrough game whereas Tekken and Soul Calibur have always been the more popular fighting games. However, that was then. Developer AM2 have performed some experiments, and off the surgery tables bounces Virtua Quest; a straightforward RPG. Fans of the series need not worry though, because Virtua Quest still retains much of the heart of its original concept. And fans who've been following this game will be relishing the release next week in the US for both PS2 and GameCube.

The game is an action RPG, which is apt enough, and is set in the far future. The main protagonist is a boy named Sei, who desires to become a great treasure hunter. He discovers the latest brew of treasure in future cyberspace. Ambitious and whimsical, Sei decides to roam cyberspace to amass fortune. He collects data chips which sell for a pretty sum back in his world. However, he is soon called upon to investigate the recent disappearances of his fellow treasure hunters and he finds out he is the only one who can unlock the power of "Virtua Souls" -the special moves of all the characters from the previous Virtua Fighter games. Sei will have to take on the characters from Virtua Fighter to unlock their "Virtua Souls." Sei will have a total of over 45 signature moves to master, all of which can be used in battle. Likewise, battle chips also extend Sei's abilities.

Virtua Fighter fans may or may not be pleased with the game's more lighthearted graphic style, but RPG fans who enjoyed the visual stylings of games such as Dark Cloud 2, Tales Of Symphonia and Kingdom Hearts will simply revel here. There is a great balance of popular art and beautiful technology in this game. There are some splendid visuals splurged out by the engine when showing Sei's devastating moves and special attacks. The characters in particular all have emotive faces, especially through the anime trademark wide eyes. Also, the cast are rendered in a breed of anime and westernized fashion. In addition, the variety of locations in the futuristic settings are well seasoned and some stand out beautifully.

As far as voice acting goes, an English cast has been recorded for each of the characters and a decent amount of dialogue will follow. The music itself will be different than what veterans have come to expect, but old themes from the series have been brought back for "Virtua Soul" battles.

Virtua Quest may not be the most innovative title, but it certainly looks to be a fun action-RPG, with a heavier emphasis on action. I'm reminded somewhat of Square Enix's The Bouncer. Should Virtua Quest encompass both the essence of its fighting game lineage and the ambience of the RPG genre they've opted for, this game should definetly appease old fans and a new audience. Not only does Virtua Fighter have an established fan base, but the generation of kids into fighting anime such as Dragon Ball Z may be interested as well. With its familiar cast of characters and an interesting genre crossover, this game could be one to watch when it hits US shelves on January 11th.



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