It's the Fifth World Fighting Tournament and SEGA has lined up 17 of their best fighters to go head-to-head in their highly esteemed Virtua Fighting franchise. Adapted from the PS3 version, Xbox 360 owners have a chance to test their virtua skills online against players from around the world.
Virtua Fighter 5 is absolute proof of why the series has remained in the top echelon of fighting games. SEGA has once again done justice to the series by offering a compelling game with a robust fighting mechanic, while at the same time bringing the series to a new level by implementing new game modes, like the ability to play via Xbox Live. While newcomers of the series may risk getting a black eye due to the daunting learning curve, it definitely is worth while to invest time getting to know the Virtua Fighter within.
As the fifth installment in the series, players can expect to enjoy one of the best fighting games available on the 360 to date. The Virtua Fighter establishment is renowned to offer the ultimate combat experience with its elaborate system of attacks, throws, blocks, and counters. This time around the ring is no different; players can attempt to master the maneuvers of 17 characters (including two newcomers, one being El Blaze who is a blast to brawl with). The options are endless when it comes to finding strategies to taking down your opponents. There is a combatant, each with a unique fighting style that will appeal to everyone tastes – from the small and agile, to the hulking and strong. While veterans of the series will be able to pick up where the last iteration left off, newbies will definitely need some schooling in the dojo in order to comprehend the true mechanics of this polished fighter. Virtua Fighter 5 is definitely not a casual gamers’ cup of tea.
The modes available to play include the typical arcade and vs. mode, but an added addition is the quest mode where you square off against CPU controlled players at different arcades. There is a map where you can travel around to different venues of digital indulgence and attempt to ascend the ranks and conquer various tournaments. This mode is particularly helpful in giving new players much needed experience since the AI difficulty increases as you venture forth. The pay off for players comes in the form of items, costumes, and money; all of which allow you to customize your character quite extensively.
Another new feature, and a much desired one at that, is the online mode. There are two options: ranked and unranked matches. As long as you have a decent internet connection, there is much potential for enjoyment. With almost any online game, there is the occasional bad connection, but what else is new.
Virtua Fighter 5 manages to hold its own and then some when it comes to graphical appeal. The character models look absolutely beautiful and realistic; while the animations are smooth and consistent. Players move organically and fluidly across the various arenas. The battle venues themselves are also quite varied and appealing to look – that is if your not too busy pummeling your onscreen rivals. One slight disappointment is the fact that the environments are not too interactive, with the most destructible aspect being a fence surrounding the stage. Also, the in-game menus leave more to be desired.
The voiceover work is atrocious at best. Characters have cheesy, poorly pronounced one-liners that promote the usage of the mute button. The music is there and gets the job done, but it doesn’t manage to stand out of the crowd (in fact it reminded me a lot of Soul Caliber 2’s soundtrack).
Virtua Fighter 5 is a great game overall, and one of the finest fighters available. This is a game that will take time and patience to become decent at. The mechanics of this fighter is extensively complicated and deep, yet it offers extreme satisfaction once one has learned the ropes. The competent AI will offer enough resistance for most players. Also, with quest mode and online play, Virtua Fighter 5 will remain a regular in you 360’s disc tray for quite some time.
Gameplay: 9.5, Graphics/Sound: 7.5, Innovation: 8.5, Mojo: 8.5 Final: 8.5 / 10