The fighting here is absolutely fluid. The reason (here it is, fanatics) this game is better than VF4 is because anyone can play it, maybe win a few matches, but unlike Namco's other popular fighter (Tekken) you cannot "master" it casually. I'll take the time to digest VF4 if I want to, but this is the game to take out with friends.
This is the standard to which all other weapons-based fighting games will be held. The fighting engine is brilliant; so fluid and responsive. The characters act like you'd think they will with the right button combos, there's no dial-in combos here. The controller is great for this game; I don't understand people who hate it. Who in their right mind would use a d-pad for this game? The controller stick is perfect, and the Gamecube's button layout is unconfusing and simple, because it in essence has three main buttons (for the three main attacks) where the others have four.
This game brings me joy in a way few others have. There is nothing better than shooting arrows and bombs with Link, Kilik's awesome-you-gotta-see-it-in-motion screen-length stick, going at it with Cervantes' double swords, or using Ivy's infamous whip. Anyone can pick it up and play, but it takes practice to master it all.
I'm not going even to nitpick about the lack of an involving single player experience. Weapon Master can be beaten easily in one day or a few, but who cares? This is the best fighting game ever made, and it's good whether you're playing with friends or against the computer.