Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
Sega Virtua Fighter 5
Virtua Fighter's PS3 premiere
- Best Virtua Fighter ever
- Steep learning curve for n00bs
It's a rousing success on all fronts.
Price$ 119.95 (AUD)
Sega's longstanding fighting series finally arrives on the PS3. It can be described in one word: Amazing.
The Virtua Fighter series, in its more than decade-long history, has always been respected for its contribution to the fighting game genre. After all, the original Virtua Fighter was the first 3D fighting game to be released and essentially paved the way, blocky-pixels and all, for other 3D fighters like Tekken, Dead or Alive, and Soul Calibur. Now, after plenty of anticipation, the Virtua Fighter franchise is finally making its next-gen debut on Sony's slick black box and it's never looked, or played, better.
There's no denying it: Virtua Fighter 5's looks are what made it one of the PS3's most anticipated titles. And why not? One look at this game in motion is enough to convince even the staunchest graphics snobs that VF5 is the best looking next-gen games released so far. Characters are rendered in amazing detail and with enough variety give a unique quality to almost ever aspect of the game.
And it's not just the characters that look amazing — the game's settings are equally, if not more astounding. The only minor complaint is that the game doesn't output at 1080p and the characters, particularly those of the bare-chested variety, seem a bit too glossy, as if they'd been dipped in oil.
But as good as it looks, the game is more than a pretty face. It has tremendous depth and a monster list of moves, which is both good and bad. Virtua Fighter 5 isn't a 'hold-your-hands' fighter; unless you're already familiar with the franchise, you'll be fighting tooth and nail just to complete the normal difficulty setting. But at least it isn't a brain-dead button mashing affair, and your dedication and patience will definitely be rewarded.
I won't talk too much about the modes, as most of them feel similar enough to past instalments that you'll feel comfortable with them from the get-go. But I will mention the personalisation feature which has received a significant upgrade. It's remarkably robust and offers players the opportunity to infuse the game with their own "unique" twist.
VF.TV, an online mode taken from the arcade versions of Virtua Fighter, is also included but the main feature — watching other players fight with point-by-point commentary — been replaced with a neutered version that simply lets you watch recorded versions of your previous matches.
Along with these new features, two new characters have also been added to the roster. Eileen, a young martial artist taught in monkey-style kung fu has an agile but complex fighting style, while El Blaze melds the power of the larger wrestling characters with the speed of the more normally proportioned characters. In all, the two new characters add some great new fighting styles that only further compliment the already broad set of characters found in the Virtua Fighter series.
Virtua Fighter 4 was easily the best in the series, and also one of the best hardcore fighting games ever released. While it doesn't represent as huge a step up as say, VF4 did over VF3, it can still claim the crown as the best Virtua Fighter to date.
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