Sega has improved on its well-known 3D arcade fighting game with its latest release of Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown now available in both the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Marketplace as a downloadable title. The original version has been constantly modified for most of the past decade which led to all the tweaks that you see in this recent Sega release. Note that there isn’t much stock placed towards the story or plot line. Instead, it’s all about engaging in arcade tournaments with a deep fighting system incorporated.
Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown has 19 characters which is all that’s ever appeared in this Sega’s series. While each have a bundle of moves and combos, balance has been implemented to reduce the cheap factor. For every attack, there’s a way to counter it. Also, since there are a huge number of ways to effectively utilize your character’s attacks, it’s the discovery of finding that optimal fighting strategy that not only leads to victory but also makes the game truly addictive and fun.
If you every played any game within the Virtua Fighter series, you’ll know that there are three buttons to use: punch, kick, and guard. You can move your characters in eight directions and still have all the button combination to execute to perform attacks and combos. If you’re familiar with this type of game, then it’s no problem picking up the controller and demonstrating your skills. But even if not, it is still pretty easy to get into.
In fact, Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown isn’t that complicated if you look at its system mechanics. This essentially means that the gameplay involves taking the character of your choice and learning to progress and fight effectively. Luckily, there are a few training modes to allow you to understand and become familiar with the fighting style. Once you’re comfortable with the moves and such, you can jump into the single-player mode. Contained in Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown are the Arcade, Score Attack, and License Challenge. In the latter mode, you take on CPU opponents under special conditions.
Looking at the game’s graphics, not much difference is noticable in comparison to the older versions of Virtua Fighter 5. However, those games have a very pleasant and crisp appearance even in today’s standards. The animations of the characters as they bash each others’ brains out are pretty fluid for the most part. And the backgrounds also have a nice touch with the dynamic changes to the arena. For example, the snow leaves tracks on the ground as you and your opponent moves around.
Audio-wise, there are moments where the sounds of the characters and the announcers were a little muffled. As a result, the game does seem to be missing some impact due to the absence of consistent clarity. However, that is compensated by its soundtrack which you do have the option to choose songs from previous games.
What really gives Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown its value is the online mode. The game has the typical Ranked and Player matches, which are pretty common for fighting games nowadays. Additionally, there is the opportunity to watch matches as you wait for your turn in an 8-player lobby. Being able to play against other players to test your skills is what fighting games are all about. And in this case, you don’t even have to be concerned with spending quarters in the arcade machines.
But where the potential downfall lies in Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown is the fact that the extra content to customize your characters must be purchased from the PlayStation Network or Xbox Live Marketplace. Players who are used to unlocking such content from the original version through achievements may find this new method to be lacking in challenges as well as…expensive.
Nonetheless, Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown is a nice walk down memory lane. The replay value has actually improved further in comparison to the previous versions of the game. And with all the incorporated tweaks designed to add balance to its fighting system, Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown gives players a lot to fight for. Get it now for $15 or 1200 MS points from your video game console so that you too can participate in the final showdown of your own.