This will go up shortly on http://www.the-nextlevel.com , yeah I know its not good , so be as bitchy as ya want and see iff I care . VF4 Impressions . When I heard that arcades in Paris might have the final VF4 release (version B), there was no stopping me . I went to the trainstation (I live in Belgium, so Paris is not that far away for me) and bought a ticket for the next Thalys TGV bullet train (fastest train in the world , cruise speed of 200mph , train can go faster but they keep it at that for security and comfort reasons) headed for Paris . Once I was there the quest for VF4 started. It was a hot and rainy day but more about that later . When I located one of the arcades which had the game, I exchanged a lot of the French Francs for credit coins and played the game for houres on end. ItÃƒÂs a tough job but somebody has to do it , I did it all for you, the loyal reader, becouse youÃƒÂre worth it. Onto the actual impressions then... The first few games I played made me feel like my worst fears had come to fruition:Gone was the dodge button, gone were the undulating and uneven arenas, gone was Taka Arashi . After those few games, however, the dissapointment started to disappear, and instead got replaced by a feeling of appreciation and understanding of the new play mechanics. What I feared was unfounded and, in fact, were changes for the better . Dodging is done kinda in the same way as its done in Soul Calibur: two quick taps for a dodge and keeping the direction pressed for 8 way control. It is slower than it is in SC, tough, and in combination with the faster play speed makes the system far more difficult to master correctly than in SC . The other basic controls have stayed the same a button for blocking one for punching and another one for kicking. Only three buttons might seem limited for the uninitiated, but believe me, itÃƒÂs more then most people can handle with a game engine this good and deep. Basic moves and combos come easy and fast, while the more advanced stuff is relatively easy to learn but incredibly hard to master. The accessibility of the game has been improved without compromising its unparalleled depth. Every character has an array of moves wich are both easy to do as well as being pleasing to the eye. Changing stances and combinations quickly become second nature, using them in the best possible way however will need prolonged play.The freedom provided with the moves and combinations is unmatched by any other game and soon every player will develop their own style. Two people fighting with the same character can develop in such a way that both use that particular character in effective yet completely different ways. As such, it has become a game that will both please the masses (who up until now preffered the likes of Tekken), as well as its hardcore userbase ( of which I count myself; I have VF3 in my garage instead of a car). A beginner can start playing and get instant gratification with fast and cool looking moves and combos and from there on continue improving him/herself, something wich was less present in previous incarnations. I would love to go more indepth into the finer points of the gameplay but IÃƒÂll refrain from doing so until I have had more than 2 days of playtime. A game this good and deep needs more playtime then I had to get to know the finer gameplay minutea. Graphics of the game hover somewhere between arcade Tekken 4 and XBox DoA3. It looks better then T4 but not up there on a technical level with DoA3. (Artistically tough I do prefer the look of VF4) Special mention with the VF4 graphics engine must go to the faces, the lighting routines, and surroundings. We have become used to such things as flowing hair and clothes in 3D fighting games these days, but VF4 uses those things but adds the best and most subtle lighting in anny game I have ever seen. Surroundings change according to the players actions (footprints in sand or snow, breaking floor tiles etc). Also, VF4 features the most scarily realistic ingame faces ever (especially AoiÃƒÂs psycho look in her eyes during one of her win poses, it impressed me more then I tought was possible). Sound is typical VF fare, with all the sound effects and musical style we are acustomed to and either love or donÃƒÂt care about . VF4 is a game that delivers on just about all counts that matter and that with the current changes is more accessable then previous incarnations. I urge everyone to check it out as soon as an arcade near you has the game in. IÃƒÂm sure most of you will be pleasantly surprised . As for me , I heard the game had arrived at Paris arcades after having stayed up all night and not being at home. No shower, no change of underwear, no sleep at all the previous day. But it couldnÃƒÂt stop me... I decided that morning I had to be on the next train to Paris ,France. Upon arrival there, I started to hunt for arcades on foot and took a wrong turn, and walked for a few houres on a hot rainy day, rain mixing with my own sweat trough back alleys in a half comatose state because of a lack of sleep. At one point I noticed the Eiffel tower was pretty close by, and I realised I was on the wrong side of the river Seine (cuts Paris in half), which was weird becouse I didnÃƒÂt remember crossing a bridge... But from there on my memory kicked in again, and I could easily find the arcades I love so much. Once at my favourite arcade in the world (La tete dans le nuages, Head in the Clouds). Inside the arcade is a McDonalds, a videogame store and a 50fps thrill movietheater. I played the game there for hours on end when I realised I was stinking real bad, and I didnt had a place to spend the night (it was 10pm at that point). So, out I went looking for a reasonably priced hotelroom (and a shower). Finding that took me another hour... At that point I had blisters on my feet, my legs were incredibly sore and despite the shower, I would continue to stink troughout the next day as I had no fresh underwear or change of clothes. I slept for 10 hours finally, and the next day I continued to play some more, unshaved, with stinky clothes, and looking almost like a beggar . Was it worth all the trouble? HELL YEAH . Till next time : Ali .