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Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown Review

Posted on June 5, 2012 AT 10:00am

Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown is reportedly Sega’s final iteration of the Virtua Fighter 5 series, and has faced an uphill battle heading to American shores. The Virtua Fighter series is not a million-seller in America, and is not a flashy fighter by any means. However, the game mechanics in Virtua Fighter are some of the best in the business. Despite only having three buttons, one of them being guard, Virtua Fighter has incredible depth to its fighting and effectively uses its 3D space as a part of its fighting system.

Virtua Fighter’s fighting system is one of the most revered and solid systems in games, offering incredible balance and differing play styles that brings timing, strategy, and execution to the forefront. The best way to approach a Virtua Fighter is to go through Command Mode with each character that looks appealing to you, select whoever feels right to you. It’s a rare thing when a game can offer so many different characters with varying styles, yet retaining competitive balance.

Command Mode is just one of three different training modes in the game. Virtua Fighter has always had an exhaustive and complete training mode to get players adjusted to the fighting game and understand the play mechanics. The Command Mode also offers walkthroughs on how to perform the move in question – something that has been sorely lacking in other fighting games. There are no super bars in this game, no screen-filling combos, and no explosions to be had in the background. Virtua Fighter is about pure, honest fighting game fun and it provides all the tools and theory in the game for you to take in at your own pace, which is something other fighting games do not do. If you have ever wondered why a hit didn’t connect, why it felt like someone could abuse you with one more over and over, this game gives you the answers and shows you how to deal with it.

Now that you’ve heard all about the fantastic fighting system and training modes, you are probably wondering what else the game has to offer. There is an item customization mode available as an add on purchase, which provides a new game mode and over 500-1000 items to customize each character with. Unfortunately, at the time of this review, the item customization packs were not yet available in the store. However, judging from the Japanese arcade version, there is a lot to do with your characters and their looks. Afros, facepaint, new clothes and more can be had to personalize your fighter just how you want them. There are two item packs, each for different characters, and run $15 apiece, turning this game into a $45 purchase if you want everything the game has to offer.

The netplay in Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown is unbelievably smooth. I played a handful of matches with another reviewer, and it felt like they were right next to me. Latency was not an issue of any sort, and the netcode is based on Sega’s Daytona USA code from last year. When the item packs are live, you can take your customized character online and do battle looking right, and just how you want it. You can also save offline or online replays, which is a welcome addition, and upload them to the Virtua Fighter servers. Rounding out the game types, there is an Arcade Mode and Score Attack mode, the Score Attack mode offering different paths and opponents to complete.

There is also a License Test mode, where you rank up by fulfilling required goals in a set of matches. These can range from not letting the enemy evade 7 of your attacks to defeating players with significantly more health than you have. It is a nice addition and will force you to explore your fighter’s options in battle, ultimately improving your skill. Special Sparring mode is locked behind a pay wall, for those who own an Item Customization pack, and has you fighting other customized characters.

Personally, I’ve always been a fan of the look of Sega’s arcade games and their music, as unabashedly early 90s as it is – and Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown pulls out all the stops, as well as includes music from all of the previous Virtua Fighter games.

At $15, Virtua Fighter: Final Showdown is a great price to get in to the Virtua Fighter world and gives you an incredibly solid game with a wealth of gameplay hours at your disposal. However, if you are like me, you will throw down the extra $30 for the optional customization items because they simply are too awesome not to have. Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown is a hell of a closing note for this generation of gaming, and is a must-play. See the video review below for more.


FINAL SCORE: 9 out of 10

The Good: Incredibly deep and rewarding fighting system for a low price

The Bad: Item packs are a huge draw and are an additional purchase

The Ugly: Taka-Arashi’s nipples vs Jeffry’s meticulously rendered chest hair

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