|System: X360, 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: Oct. 30, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Tom Kelly
Wow, Virtua Fighter (VF) has come a long way since the original graced the arcades and those few Sega Saturns oh so many years ago. Yet one thing has remained constant over that course of time: The undeniable fact that VF has and always will be one of the most well rounded fighters out there. The years of steady improvement have all built up to this. Probably the deepest fighting engine on the planet, VF 5 will challenge players like never before. Mastering one character is hard enough, and there are seventeen to choose from. It is a genius title that needs to be played by any who considers themselves a fan of the genre.
If one set about the task of breaking down all the intricacies of the combat, you would find yourself writing something more along the lines of War and Peace rather than a strategy guide. The game is deep; each fighter has hundreds of move variations and combos to master. As for the characters themselves, they range in size, strength, and speed. Despite the immense differences in the way each battles, they are all balanced. For every action, there is a reaction; there can be no truer statement when it comes to this game. As I stated, this game will challenge you. Getting good enough with one character is an uphill battle in itself. Fortunately, the arcade mode is easy enough to break in new players, and the dojo allows you to train your skills as long as you like. Probably the best feature for going solo is the Quest mode where you battle A.I. controlled opponents around a variety of virtual arcades. Some of the higher level encounters will feature A.I. molded after some of Japan's finest players. This mode will last you forever and it gives you the opportunity to unlock new clothes items for whichever combatant you choose. It's unfortunate that it is restricted to one character because it is so long that it can begin to feel pretty stale, and as you slowly progress through each arcade, it almost feels like you are not making any progress at all. Also, the money trickles in at a snail's pace ensuring that you will have countless battles ahead to unlock all the goodies. The true appeal of this 360 incarnation is the online play. How does it handle? Wait and see
Overall play works exceptionally well; players will encounter a minimal amount of lag making it just as good as having a buddy around to throw virtual fists with, only incredibly more convenient. Trouble is this game is so intense that playing online will surely result in extreme frustration for the average player. These guys are good, and they have been waiting a long time to exercise their dominance. There is a player match in addition to ranked contests, but it's best to get in a little dojo time before treading the deep water. It is certainly a welcome addition that adds years to the shelf life of the title.
As the PS3 version already expertly demonstrated, this is a gorgeous piece of work. The player models are ultra detailed, they move effortlessly, and the backgrounds look amazing at times. The sun shining in the distance, the hair waving as the battle rages, lighting flashing throughout fights; it is all quite remarkable. The only real complaint in this department is how generic the fighting arenas are. They are all squares, and the damage you can do to the environment is minimal. Sure, it is sweet when the players leave tracks in the snow as they scuffle, but the ho hum feel of the settings just doesn't stack up to everything else. The overall presentation of the game is very polished with slick menu design.