Virtua Quest is a great concept, but a quick play with some faulty mechanics.
The games story revolves around the young and naive hero Sei, who dives into a virtual world called the Nexus. The Nexus is a virtual world for people to escape the reality that is life in the future. Sei however, travels into the Nexus's old abandoned areas looking for data chips to sell for parts for his air bike. While searching, he comes across strange wanderers who warn him about Judgment six, an organization that uses data-cyborg based fighting drones called Durals, who wish to rule the Nexus. These strangers also introduce Sei to Virtua souls: sealed data and fighting techniques from various Virtua Fighters. These souls were recorded during the Virtua Fighter series tournaments and were leaked into the Nexus. Together, with the power of Virtua souls, Sei embarks on a journey to stop the evil Judgment Six, save the Nexus, and ultimately the entire world.
The game's levels break up into a decently well balanced split of platforming and fighting, but the latter is clearly the main focus. After each completed level you are given a rank based on your performance, and this increases your overall Hunter Rank. As you rank up more and more you are given the option to take the next rank Hunters Test, which changes your cosmetic appearance and fighting abilities. The highlight of this game is found in its customization of both your character and his sidekick Bit. As you complete hunter challenges and gain better licenses your character evolves. Your stats are based on one of the most interesting equipment dynamics I've ever seen. You are given a three dimensional grid in the shape of a cube. As you progresses through the game you gain not experience, but cash for purchasing tools. These tools come in a variety of different shapes and sizes based on their effects and you must strategize how to best fit them in your 3D grid. Your partner Bit can transform into a fairly large array of animals, each with unique abilities, depending on what you feed it. Just trying to unlock them all by farming cash is like an extreme game of Tamagachi, or a less interesting version of Digimon World.
Movement and platforming in this game is by far the biggest chore. The only camera control you have is resetting it behind you with the L-button. It's always important to have that feature in a game, but since the camera has no auto tracking with movements or combat, it does very little on its own. Platforming is broken up into a few different repeated obstacles, which the game familiarizes you with through a training mission in the beginning of the game. Jumping from spot to spot, wall hanging, wall running (Prince of Persia style), and of course your whip. Your whip can latch on to different colored orbs that move you in different ways. Some have you swing back and forth, in full circles, and some carry you to predetermined spots along a set path. In the regular missions the platforming never becomes overly difficult and missions don't require much platforming to begin with. However, due to the precision the game requires you to have to perform a specific task, it may take you several tries to get through even the simplest pit falls. In the hunter rank challenges, the precision needed to progress is amplified a hundred fold since they are completely pitfall based. The hidden Masters Test is borderline impossible due to the games mechanics. You will often find yourself counting the seconds your holding the jump button just to get from one block to another on a straight jump, which is nearly impossible if the camera isn't right. Hardcore platformers may be excited by the challenge, but unfortunately the game hasn't much to offer after you complete all four tests the game offers.
Fighting in this game is a bit more enjoyable, but can quickly become mundane since the mobs you encounter rarely become difficult to handle. The game attempts to keep it fresh by adding over 40 different Virtua Souls you can collect and being ablt to mix and match in your 6 move slots to create the ultimate warrior; however most of these skills are over kill for the average Dural until late in the game. Boss battles start off equally as simple and then skyrocket in difficulty later on. Each time you collect a Virtua Soul you must defeat a Virtua fighter to gain another one of his or hers corresponding skills. These battles also become drastically harder late in the game and often encourage a boring hit and run scenario with your unlimited SP. The game offers no lock on system with opponents unless you wish to use your whip on them in the air, and the lack of camera control has you smashing the L-bumper almost as often as you hit the A and X buttons. As far as attacking goes, the response time on pressing buttons is a little loose which can cause some problems, but for your average mob battle it usually goes unnoticed. Your biggest problems will be trying to keep a boss in your vision and being very careful how you hit the buttons.
Virtua Quest is definitely an interesting and decent game, but it's clearly not polished enough to be considered a great game. The overall unresponsiveness becomes its ultimate downfall. Its mobs are reminiscent of lifeless trash found in crappy hack and slash games, with nowhere near the volume of enemies to present a good challenge. Still, it presents a unique mixture of fighting and platforming. Plus the Masters Challenge, hidden souls, collectible Viruta models, and more offer a decent replay value after you complete its ten hour story mode.