Virtua Striker 2002 Reviewed  
Virtua Striker 2002 Reviewed

Virtua Striker features four main modes of play, Road to International Cup, Variation, Match Play and Training. Road to international cup is based around playing in a league and trying to top the table. Variation adds another four modes, International Cup, League, Tournament and Ranking. This basically gives you the option to play different types of competitions, for example, FA Cup and Premiership.

Match Play is an exhibition or two-player mode; you pick your team and play a game against the computer or a human opponent. There is also a dedicated penalty kick competition which can also be played against the computer or a human. The two-player mode is restricted as you can't play together on the same team and it's not possible for more than two players to get in on the action.

The Training Mode is a nice addition; you will be able to brush up on your offensive and defensive skills. You will face off against various levels of CPU teams using different strategies. For instance if you wish to test your defensive skills, you are placed at one end of the pitch. The attackers will come at you, the object is to clear the ball past the half way line, and then all the action starts again. There are four different levels of challenge, each puts you in a different situation enabling your to refine your skills.

Virtua Striker 2002 Reviewed @ www.contactmusic.com
Virtua Striker 2002 Reviewed @ www.contactmusic.com
The game does not carry any true licenses apart from some advertising opportunities by the likes of Adidas for their footy boots. The Road to International Cup comprises of teams from 64 countries, although you are able to edit a team and make them your own. The editing suite lets you change faces, numbers, team kits and skills.

As the game doesn't have a license the players names are fictional, this leaves plenty of freedom to alter things.

The game starts off with you in the role of the team manager, so you will pick your home ground and schedule matches and travel overseas. You are given a number of points, which must be budgeted in order for your team to visit training camp and play exhibition games at the beginning of the season. On occasions when you win a match you will be awarded with some extra points. This part of the game is more akin to a story mode style, as you will feel you're a part of the team…..well almost.

Now we come to the controls of Virtua Striker 2002 and unfortunately this is the department that lets the game down. When you start a match you might find there are couple of buttons missing, firstly there is no run button for when you have some one on your tail, and secondly you can't switch players manually while you are defending, the computer does this for you. The second of these points is definitely the most frustrating, You will find yourself trying to fight the controls as the computer switches players in mid run to the player nearest the ball. Just this small factor makes Virtua Striker 2002 feel completely different to the other football game out there, the feeling is completely unnatural and it will probably turn people off Virtua Striker 2002 almost straight away. All this could be solved with the addition of just one more button to change players while in defence. While the developers are doing this they should add another button for accelerating the players run (the "Y" button is never utilised). Virtua Striker 2002 does have some good features, the extensive International Cup is great, the team editing is a novelty and the game moves at a nice pace.

The graphics on the other hand are a completely different story; this is one of the best looking football games I have ever seen. The animations are great, the players look fantastic, the stadiums look great and even the grass looks completely real. The only thing that could be added to make Virtua Striker 2002 look any better is possibly some ongoing pitch wear on the field. It looks bloody brilliant with a frame rate to match.

The sound unfortunately doesn't perform like the graphics. There is quite a lot of that typical cheesy Sega like jingles that I personally hate. The surround sound fails to bring the stadiums to life. The sound effects are painfully awkward, they loop so often you can actually hear them repeating. Virtua Striker 2002 also lacks a commentator; the most you can hope for is the occasional "goal" or "kick off".

At the end of the day Virtua Striker 2002 is an arcade game through and through.

If it wasn't for the computer controlled player switching while defending and the missing run button it would be a great game for a knock about. The game has some great features and if you have played Virtua Striker in the past and you are comfortable with the controls then you will like this. For people new to the series you might find the control system a little too restricted to enjoy the game as much as you might have liked, even though it does look gorgeous.

6 out of 10

 
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