During a time when 2D fighters ruled the arcade, Sega and AM2′s Yu Suzuki were working on a project that would revolutionize gaming as we knew it. In conjunction with aerospace technology firm Lockheed Martin, Sega released Virtua Fighter to arcades in 1993.
The first of its kind, Virtua Fighter brought the fighting genre to the 3rd dimension with (at the time) mesmerizing high-quality 3D graphics. Virtua Fighter paved the way for 3D fighters, inspiring franchises like Toshinden, Tekken, and Soul Calibur. The world of gaming would never be the same again.
Virtua Fighter and its sequels have been ported to just about every console system in recent memory. As the series gained momentum with gamers, new fighters joined the roster and tweaks occurred to the gameplay. Even today, gamers flock to the Virtua Fighter series for its competitive edge and tactical gameplay.
Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown is the latest entry in the series. It includes nineteen fighters for one of the biggest rosters in the game’s history. The fighter selection includes old favorites like Akira and Sarah and newer additions like El Blaze and Goh. Sega has included additional costumes for each fighter as well as DLC known as ‘Item Packs’ through the Playstation Network.
Final Showdown includes a multitude of game modes that offer different variations on gameplay. In single-player mode, you have your choice of Arcade, Score Attack, License Challenge, and Special Sparring.
Arcade mode, as the name implies, plays like the coin-op. Score Attack has you fighting opponents against a timer. The quicker you defeat your opponents, the better your score ranking will be. License Challenge places certain conditions on the player, like hitting your opponent 5 times or winning a match. Special Sparring is for custom matches, but it requires that all ‘Item Packs’ have been downloaded from the Playstation Store. Final Showdown’s other features include a training mode, a terminal to view replays and to customize your character, and an online scoreboard system.
Gameplay is competitive and relies on tactical precision to defeat your opponent. Unlike some fighters where chain combos and rushing in is required to win a match, Final Showdown plays at a much slower pace. The player must wait patiently for an opening in his opponent’s defense. Matches usually consist of both players exchanging blows, blocking, and then countering. Rinse and repeat.
Some gamers may find the gameplay too slow to their liking (especially if they prefer Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3), but there is something gratifying about winning a match in Virtua Fighter. It actually takes a lot of thought and quick planning on the player’s behalf to defeat a seasoned opponent.
The controls feel more refined than in previous sequels. Combos execute with ease, counters feel less ridged, and the overall mechanics are rock-solid. This lends to Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown’s competitive edge.
One feature that was lacking in Virtua Fighter 5 was online competitive play. Thankfully, this feature was included in Final Showdown. Like most fighters, online play is divided between Rank and Player matches. The online community is enormous, making it very easy to find opponents. Having a vibrant online community makes or breaks a fighting game.
The quality of the graphics seem to vary greatly. Most of the arenas offer rich, high quality textures with robust colors. The fighters, on the other hand, appear to be more elastic in appearance with only their outfits containing the most detail. This is just a small gripe when you consider how good everything looks in HD.
Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown is a great game. It offers solid gameplay, a large roster of fighters, and online competitive play. If you’re looking for a competitive fighter with addictive gameplay, Sega’s latest offering will not disappoint.
Platform: Playstation 3 (Available on PSN)
ESRB: T (Teen)
|While the graphic quality may not match other fighters, they still manage to impress in HD|
|Classic Virtua Fighter sound effects add to the experience.|
|Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown offers solid controls, tactical gameplay, and online connectivity. Everything a fighter needs to be successful.|
|Even if you're not a fan of the series, you owe it to yourself to experience this game.|