Bloody Roar 4 Review

Fighting games have become a dime a dozen. Because of this, each game needs something to differentiate it from the others. Bloody Roar 4’s hook is the ability to morph your character into some type of animal form. Sounds like a cool trick, doesn’t it? Does it make a good game though?

3D fighting games have come a long way since the original Virtura Fighter. Games like Soul Calibur 2 and Virtura Fighter 4: Evolution have raised the bar in the graphic quality. Unfortunately, Bloody Roar 4 can’t measure up. The character models are done well enough, but they lack the pizzazz and animation of other games. Sometimes the characters seem to be a bit stiff, with some of the animations not being as smooth as they could be. A few clipping problems also hamper this score.

If anyone wanted to show off the particle effects system of the PS2, this would be the best game to use to demonstrate it. Every hit seems to have some particle effect. The morphing process involves a flash of bright light. Blocks broken will see a wall of particles smashed through. The invisible walls that hold the participants in will be displayed with particle effects when hit.

One word describes the stages: empty. The stages take place in fairly typical settings, such as a garage and tower outlook with a vision of the skyline. Unfortunately, there is nothing going on in these stages, unless you count the water effects that occur if you are in the sewer. No cars, weather, lights, or people are present. This is disappointing compared to other fighters.

Music is your generic hard rock. The music isn’t necessarily bad, but it doesn’t stand out either.

The sound effects all sound practically the same. The hits all sound the same. The blocks all sound the same. The characters are basically silent throughout the game. The characters don’t seem to have any personality of their own because of this.

The game controls simply enough. Kick is triangle, punch is square, beast is circle, and X to block or throw. The L2 and R2 buttons are used to circle inside the ring. Also, the control is nice in that you don’t have to worry about a lot of quarter circles, half circles, and Z-movements. The special moves are more like Soul Calibur in nature.

Since the game seems to have special moves, you’d think that it would be fairly simple easy to control. Button-mashing, an overused fighting game term, would best describe this game. The game lacks depth, and it’s difficult to get a good combo with more than four hits unless you use one of the “Beast Drive” moves. The control response also seems sluggish.

The game has several modes. Arcade mode lets you play the game as if you were in the arcade playing against the computer. Another player can join in during the middle of an arcade battle. Time attack mode challenges you to see how fast you can play through the game and gives a time-based ranking when the game is over. Versus mode is specifically made for two players to play against each other. The training mode is used to practice special moves against a dummy opponent. Sparring mode lets you select a character and fight against another character for an unlimited number of rounds. Survival mode will challenge you to beat as many characters as possible, but health won’t regenerate fully between rounds. Com battle has you select two characters, the stage, and the number of rounds to win. Career mode has you select a character and build up that character by gaining DNA points.

With all these options, you’d think that the gameplay would have the same attention brought to it. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. The rings are very small, too small. Although some of the levels are multi-tiered, ala DOA3, there’s no easy way to tell which wall to break through to do this.

The first few rounds are fairly easy, but then the difficulty really ramps up quickly. The arcade mode just goes from one stage to the next, with a short victory screen. No explanation of the story is given. That’s fine for a fighting game, but it doesn’t draw the player in or give the game some much needed personality.

BR4 is hurt by its “button-mashing” nature. Overall, the game lacks a lot of depth. A block button is available, but it doesn’t seem to be all that effective. The health gauge and beast gauge do give the game some needed depth, but it’s not enough depth to satisfy fighting game fanatics.

Although the game has many modes, there are no compelling reasons for playing through the game with multiple characters. The characters do have different moves, but since the game doesn’t seem to have many unlockables, other than five characters, the replay value is limited. It might be fun to try to build up all the characters in the career mode, but I feel that this would become monotonous and not fun in the long term.When I got this game, I really wanted to like it. I had heard of the shortcomings of the previous versions, but I thought that they couldn’t be that bad. Well, after playing this game, I can see they weren’t exaggerated. BR4 can be fun with friends and those new to the fighting game genre, but the lack of depth and the button mashing controls don’t help BR4 against the high standards set by other games in the fighting genre.

Ron Burke is the Editor in Chief for Gaming Trend. Currently living in Fort Worth, Texas, Ron is an old-school gamer who enjoys CRPGs, action/adventure, platformers, music games, and has recently gotten into tabletop gaming. Ron is also a fourth degree black belt, with a Master's rank in Matsumura Seito Shōrin-ryū, Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, Universal Tang Soo Do Alliance, and International Tang Soo Do Federation. He also holds ranks in several other styles in his search to be a well-rounded fighter. Ron has been married to Gaming Trend Editor, Laura Burke, for 21 years. They have three dogs - Pazuzu (Irish Terrier), Atë, and Calliope (both Australian Kelpie/Pit Bull mixes).
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