Published on July 15th, 2012 | by Duke0911
Review – Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown
System(s): PlayStation Network, Xbox LIVE Arcade
Release Date: June 5, 2012 (PSN), June 6, 2012 (XBLA)
Looking for a fighter that has some over the top action? Some moves that involve firing energy blasts from the mind? Or, how about the ability to pull off a 60+ combo move. Well, if you’re looking for all of that in Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown, you’ll be highly disappointed. This is a raw street brawler with no flashy moves or fiction-like situations. This concept of realistic fighting is pulled off with an impressive and basic system, and greatly improves over the original released almost 5 years ago.
Story? What’s that? When it comes to storytelling in a fighter, it’s usually either below average or just plain pointless. In Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown, arcade mode is the closest thing you get. That’s not to say it’s a bad thing though, with quite a few options to customize any run through this game. You can make the enemies weak and easy to handle, or smart and just obnoxiously aggressive. As well as being able to adjust the health of each character, setting the KO count in order to win, and setting a time limit, there are many ways to experience this mode and can easily match any skill level; whether you’re new to fighting games or a veteran of the genre. Once you complete Arcade mode (or lose in the bonus fight at the end), the game credits roll and you’re thrown back at the mode select screen. Okay, there’s pretty much a lack of story in this game, but really, it’s not necessary. The game is still enjoyable as it is.
Also included in single player mode are Score attack, License Challenge, and Special Sparring. Score attack is basically arcade mode, but now you’re scored based on your performance. License Challenge can be looked at like a mission mode, where you fight under certain conditions like blocking a certain number of hits, or landing a certain number of punches before knocking out your opponent. Special Sparring, which is exclusive to this game, let’s you play with your downloaded costume packs. Not only that, but you can also customize your characters in the new Terminal, and save your sets for use online. Before jumping online though, you may want to practice on your own first, which you can do in the Dojo. Here you can practice alone, with a friend, or work with a step by step tutorial mode, which teaches you everything you need to know about the game. Though the fighting system is considered basic, there’s quite a plethora of maneuvers at your disposal to pull off. Definitely something that would be considered hand holding, but the Dojo is useful for learning the more technical points of the fighting system.
Now how exactly does the fighting system work? Virtua Fighter works on a 3-button system; punch, kick, and guard. By combining these with movements in the control stick, you’ll be able to pull off different moves, and even a combo if you time it right. No, I don’t mean a ridiculous combo that sends your opponent sky-rocketing in the air, but “juggling” them while they’re falling from a powerful blow, which can be very helpful to obtain a victory. As with any fighting game, you can’t just wail away at your opponent in order to win. Mixing up both offense and defense is key, especially in this game where it can take some time to get use to how everything flows. Honestly, it’s not something everyone will get the hang of, seeing as how it’s one of the more simpler games to learn, and may even turn off fans of other series such as Street Fighter or Dead or Alive. But once you do start getting accustomed to it, you’ll start to get quite a feeling of depth from it underneath the game’s basic style.
As I said earlier, you can take the fight online and brawl with others around the world in either a ranked match, or just a casual game with your buddy. The online lobby is robust, allowing up to 8 players per room where 2 players are fighting wile the others can watch and commentate on the action. Replays can be recorded and uploaded online for all to see, and if you see a match you like, you’re able to save it and watch it later. A neat little way to see how others fight, and what characters and costumes are used often.
It may not be a big deal to some, but the amount of customization in this game is astounding. Being able to change your button layout is pretty handy if the default control scheme doesn’t fit your style. You can not only set the three standard actions to buttons, but you can also assign combinations to a single button, such as “punch + kick” to R1. Changing your button layout can be done offline, and you can quickly change your controls online wile customizing your conditions for setting up a room match. Even the music can be changed, with the option of using themes from past games in the Virtua Fighter series. The options mentioned earlier for Arcade mode also apply to local multiplayer, with the addition of making the stage random or choosing from a list. I honestly went into this game expecting to just jump in and fight, but found myself frequently tweaking every option just to try something different at any time possible, and I’m still experimenting with the different options. I even discovered while writing this review that you can switch to any theme you want while waiting in an online lobby by simply pressing either trigger. Me being a fan of different genres of music, I really do appreciate the variety of tunes they have in this game.
Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown is a great entry in the series, and fantastic for a downloadable title. Yes, in order to get the full experience you’ll need to get the DLC packs, and it may be hard for newcomers to really get into the fighting system. However, these are minor issues that are nothing compared to the impressive character lineup (with the introduction of Jean Kujo and the return of Taka-Arashi), a surprising amount of single player options, and customization features that will last you for a good while. Hey, for $15.00 ($45.00 with the DLC packs), you can’t go wrong with a fighting experience like this.
+ A simple yet effective fighting system
+ Great price
+ A variety of single player options
+ Fantastic online features
+ Surprising amount of customization
– DLC is needed for the full experience
Score: 4.5 out of 5