Published on June 5th, 2012 | by Shawn Long, Features Editor
Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown Review (PS3)
Platform: PS3 (via PSN) [Reviewed], Xbox 360 (via Xbox LIVE)
Release Date: June 5th, 2012 (PS3)
Growing up in the 90’s was a great time for fighting fans. The strongest franchises I felt in the 2D world were Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter, and in the 3D world there was Virtua Fighter and Tekken. Times have changed and fighters have evolved, but these franchises are still relevant today and the classics play just as well as the new ones. It’s been a while since Virtua Fighter fans have had anything new, so the announcement of the downloadable Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown had fans drooling with anticipation. Was it worth the wait, or has time forgotten Virtua Fighter?
At it’s core, Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown is a spruced up version of the 2007 release of Virtua Fighter 5. Critics and fans loved the release, and it was one of the highest rated games of 2007. The main additions to Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown are the inclusion of new animations, new costumes, and for the first time on the PS3, online play. Luckily for Sega, time has been very kind to this game, and it’s still a masterpiece.
The character models all have a unique flair to them and make them stand out from one another. The new animations are crisp and smooth, and make the presentation flow well. The fighting stages are well detailed and designed, and the backgrounds usually have some action going on. The most impressive stage would be Eileen’s stage, which features dynamic sand that moves underneath you. The colors are very bright and vibrant, and although the game is roughly five years old now, it still holds up to current fighters. The music is hit or miss, and some of the voices sound a bit muffled, which is odd considering the high presentation of everything else. I would have liked to have seen more polished audio, but as it stands, it’s servicable.
The bread and butter of any fighting game is the combat however. Virtua Fighter has always been a deep and complex fighter, and this version is probably the deepest yet. The game only has three buttons: Punch, Kick, and Block. Within these three commands lie many deep combos, however, along with complex moves and throws. Each character feels for the most part distinct from others, and gives great variety to the game. The game features a “Dojo” to hone your skills, which is highly recommended for higher difficulties.
Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown is a bit bare bones when it comes to other modes however. Besides the aforementioned “Dojo”, there isn’t a whole lot. “Arcade” mode is your basic mode to fight against the computer, but there is no story mode to be found. There is a place to do character customization, but that is only accessible through DLC. Online mode and replay mode are offered as well, but besides that you are not left with much. Online mode does feature ranked and unranked battles. This may detract some, but I feel that a fighting game is based on fighting, not on having a plethora of crazy modes to choose from.
Virtua Fighter fans are some of the most patient fans when it comes to new iterations of the game, but that is usually a testament to how strong the previous title was. Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown is the best version of Virtua Fighter 5 available, and is a true joy to play. The complexity of each character and mastering their moves is a timeless task that will drive you insane, but always satisfies when it’s done right. Owners of Virtua Fighter 5 may want to think twice about purchasing this game due to the similiarity, but I feel every fighting fan will find a superb experience available for download.
+ One of the best pure fighters ever
+ Graphics still are impressive
+ New animations and character customization
– Sound is a bit dodgy
– Many gamers have played Virtua Fighter 5