Virtua Fighter 5 Preview
Xbox 360 | PS3
Virtua Fighter 5 box art
System: PS3 Review Rating Legend
Dev: Am2 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Sega 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Feb.19, 2007 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-2 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: T 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
Kickin' like a fighting virtuoso

by Maria Montoro

The PS3 is finally starting to shine. We were all waiting for exciting titles that would finally give us an excuse to buy a PS3. This title by itself might not do that, but if you put it next to Resistance: Fall of Man, Motor Storm, The Godfather: Don's Edition, and a few more, your desire to buy a PS3 will increase significantly. We are happy to say that Am2 and Sega did a really good job with this title.

Virtua Fighter 5 screenshot

Virtua Fighter 5 combines the best-looking graphics with great combo moves that deliver impressive fighting. This game is the fifth of the series and has been developed for the powerful PS3, so we couldn't have expected any less. Still, we were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the game. Nice presentation, attractive and easy-to-navigate menu interface, and melodic music set up the stage for an exciting gaming experience.

The characters in Virtua Fighter 5 are updated versions of the previous titles' characters. However, two new ones have been added, and their fighting styles have been greatly improved. You will be able to choose between 17 of them, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, as well as different performing speeds, fighting techniques, and power of attack. The game offers a mix of American and Japanese fighters of all flavors: ugly and good-looking, girls and boys, young and old, etc.

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Five main options define the Main Menu, along with the game's options panel, where you will be able to customize your controller, your character, sound, and display. Arcade will allow you to play quick fights against the CPU. You can use your own customized character or just anyone out of the 17. This won't improve your stats, though. If you are not ready to jump to battle yet, you should stop by the Dojo first and take a few lessons. This will allow you to learn the combos available and improve your skills and technique. The Quest mode is really engaging and well done. You will advance through levels fighting different enemies, achieving higher ranks, and obtaining items and costumes that allow you to further customize your character. The items won't be immediately available to you when you unlock them. Instead, you will have to use the points you obtain during battle to purchase them from the character customization screen. It's amazing how this game incorporated such a large amount of items for the characters, such as hair styles, arm bands, bracelets, glasses, scarves, belts, etc. This certainly makes the game more enticing compared to other fighting games. Your goal won't just be defeating your enemies and becoming the champ, but also obtaining custom objects and making your character special. You can choose a "Ring Name" and also a motto that will display every time you start a new fight.

Virtua Fighter 5 screenshot

When playing in Quest mode, a map will show on the screen with the different locations (arcades) you can visit. Oddly enough, the names of the arcades are all Sega-related and they even display pictures of famous Sega characters like Sonic. You can play in any one of them, but you will be notified when a new tournament starts in one of the arcades, even if you are fighting in a different one at that time. Try to conquer them all and be the champion in each of them to reach full satisfaction. Unlock items, earn points, reach the next ranking level, etc. Each fight will have a unique goal, and will happen in a different scenario, inspired by diverse worldwide locations.

In Vs. mode, you will have the chance to whip your friend's character's butt. Only two players can play, as in any other fighting game of this kind, and unfortunately, an online multiplayer mode wasn't developed for Virtua Fighter 5. The online experience would have been very amusing and would have become popular quickly. Too bad they didn't add it to the game. The last game mode is "VF TV." You can view replays and other gameplay movies. You need to save the replays before you can view any of them on VF TV, though.

Virtua Fighter 5 screenshot

Virtua Fighter 5 has a good handle of the controls. They work flawlessly, and they're fairly easy to get used to. Button mashing is an option for those still learning the new techniques, but it will always be more rewarding and efficient to perform varied combo moves, especially when fighting in more difficult levels. Much like the Tekken games, the fighting style is more realistic than in other fighting games. Some characters will execute more stunning attacks, while others won't show much variation in their moves. However, there are not many special moves and they're not as spectacular as those triggered by magic like we saw in Soul Calibur II. Still, the game is very enjoyable.

I didn't like the fact that you're forced to use the Sixaxis directional pad to move your character, instead of the analog stick; some attacks require half or quarter-circle motion and this is difficult to perform with the "d-pad". Your thumb won't appreciate it either; after a while, it will end up hurting a little. I wish they had taken advantage of the Sixaxis motion sensors, too. I wouldn't base the whole gameplay in motion-sensing moves, but if they had added some along with the traditional controls, the experience would have been enhanced considerably.

Screenshots / Images
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