Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown Review

Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown offers some of the best versus fighting on the market.

The modern renaissance of fighting games that began with the release of Street Fighter IV has had many positive effects on the genre. It has brought new players into the fighting game fold, and the increased audience allows for classic series that may have fallen by the wayside to be revived and put in the hands of new players eager to see the diverse breadth of experiences the genre has to offer. The original iterations of Virtua Fighter 5 released in 2007 struggled to make an impact: the original PlayStation 3 release lacked any sort of online play, while the Xbox 360 version debuted amid numerous other high-profile releases. Despite positive reviews, the original VF5 didn't make many waves.

Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown plays host to some of the most satisfying smackdowns in the genre.

Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown takes a different approach. Rather than being a full-priced disc release, it's a 1,200 MSP downloadable game available through Xbox Live Arcade. Instead of emphasizing the single-player quest modes of the original release, the game is geared toward competitive play, with a robust online matchmaking engine and in-depth training and tutorial modes. You don't earn items to customize your characters in-game; you buy downloadable customization packs that contain hundreds upon hundreds of items, costumes, and colors for each fighter. To top it all off, the game engine has received a significant overhaul, making the game more accessible to new players while adding depth and gameplay tweaks that longtime VF fans will find refreshing. The result is a package that, while somewhat lacking in certain respects, represents a tremendous value.

At first glance, Virtua Fighter is deceptively simple: there are only three buttons (guard, punch, and kick), no super meters or other gauges, and rings of varied size and shape to fight on. Once you begin playing, however, the game's depth gradually opens up. The three buttons, used in tandem with certain joystick movements, open up hundreds of different commands for each character, with each individual skill having numerous unique properties and potential uses. Every character has a wealth of different strikes, holds, throws, and counters of varying heights, speeds, and damage properties. The skills are based (sometimes rather loosely) on true-to-life martial arts, so don't expect the flashiness of massive fireballs, energy swords, or divekicks from across the length of the screen.

The more-grounded basis of Virtua Fighter doesn't make the game any less exciting, however: matches are fast-paced, tense, and involve more up-close-and-personal beatdowns. The smoothness and detail of the individual character animations accentuate the thrill of combat; the sheer satisfaction of landing a particularly complex and damaging combo or a rarely seen, off-the-wall throw is immense. Characters also come with unique properties that affect the way they play: tiny luchador El Blaze can dash speedily around the ring, drunken master Shun Di gains improved moves when he's plastered (yes, really), and gargantuan sumo Taka-Arashi's massive size renders him harder to knock down and hit with combo strings, to give a few examples.

Shun Di and Lei Fei compete in the most epic Chinese martial arts bald-off of all time.

There's a lot to each character in Virtua Fighter, and thus the learning curve is a bit steep. Thankfully, Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown offers robust training and tutorial modes to help both new players who are learning VF for the first time and longtime fans who might need to adjust to the gameplay changes from the original VF5. The tutorials start from the very basics of attacking, dodging, and guarding, and continue all the way to the new throw-escape system and advanced movement techniques.

Training mode, meanwhile, offers numerous ways to analyze and practice your newly learned skills, including numerous detailed input displays (complete with frame data for advanced players) and notations on how and where moves strike you or your opponent. The training dummy can also be set to react in a plethora of ways, including switching up command strings at random so you can practice anticipating and countering troublesome mix-ups. Replays of offline and online matches can also be saved, shared online, and carefully analyzed with similar tools to the training mode.

You certainly want to learn as much as you can, since Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown offers a considerable challenge both online and offline. The game lacks a single-player story or quest mode, instead offering more-personal improvement-driven content. Arcade mode is just that: a simple trip through a gauntlet of computer-controlled opponents with a credits roll at the end (as is typical for VF, there are no story scenes or character endings). Score Attack rewards you with points for clearing the stages as quickly, efficiently, and flashily as possible and includes online leaderboard rankings. License Challenge is similar to the random quest objectives that were given out during fights in Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution; you need to not only beat an opponent but fulfill certain other objectives in the meantime (such as landing a certain number of hits or using defensive techniques).

Playing dress-up in VF5FS is lots of fun, but it comes at a cost.

Finally, Special Sparring is available to players who have purchased the downloadable content bundles and features fights against characters decked out in some wild, weird, and just plain awesome special gear. All of the computer-controlled characters in the single-player modes start off easy but become surprisingly smart and realistic-behaving as you progress. While the challenge is welcome, the lack of a story mode or a mode to earn accolades and items like the quest modes in Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution or the original Virtua Fighter 5 is disappointing.

What Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown lacks in a single-player experience, however, it makes up for in versus play. Offline versus play affords you the usual settings of the genre, but it's the online matching that really shines. High-level Virtua Fighter play is dependent on extremely fast movements, and even the slightest bit of lag can throw off a person's ability to fight well. To this end, players' connections are synced up before a match starts and in between rounds, which keeps lag to a minimum. While the lengthy delay before starting a match online can be annoying, when you're playing a buttery-smooth match against someone on the other side of the country, it's worth it.

Casual match online lobbies allow for up to eight players each and operate in a format similar to that of traditional arcades: winners keep playing until someone takes them down or they step off for a while, while others can wait to challenge them and spectate in the meantime. If you're serious about leveling up and proving your worth to the greater world of Virtua Fighter, you can climb the ranks in ranked matches against opponents from around the world.

While online works well, it isn't always perfect: distance and connection quality still play a huge factor in determining how well online play runs against another person. Most matches are very good, but you still run into a few bouts where the lag has a noticeable effect on gameplay. Very rarely does the game sputter and slow down completely. In our tests, Xbox Live play felt ever-so-slightly smoother than PSN play did, with higher-rated connections cropping up more often.

This isn't quite what Vanessa was expecting when Goh asked her if she'd like to hit the dance floor.

There's a huge amount of depth to VF5FS on its own, but you also have the option to purchase packs of DLC containing hundreds of items and colors to customize each character with. The customization itself isn't quite as in depth as something like Soul Calibur V's Create-a-Soul mode (which allowed you to alter things like body type and object placement), but the sheer amount of stuff you get in each 400 MSP character pack (or 1,200 MSP for one of two different multi-character packs) offers a great value when compared to other games of this type that charge $2 to $3 for static costumes.

Unfortunately, the DLC is the only way to gain access to these items--they can't be earned in-game. Also, in order to see other players' costumes in versus mode or online, you need to own the customization packs for their characters. Customization data isn't portable, either, meaning that when you go to a gaming meet or to your friend's place, you're going to have to whip up that awesome robot-suited Jeffry with a giant afro and a tiki mask you made at home from scratch again.

But even if you don't get the DLC, VF5FS offers some of the finest, most balanced, and most in-depth fighting on the market for a price that's hard to argue with. Each character is worthwhile, and you can spend weeks perfecting the use of a single fighter--only to go online and be greeted by another skilled player who uses your chosen character in a new and unexpected fashion. If what you want most from a fighting game is a deep, technical, and incredibly rewarding competitive experience, you can't go wrong with Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown.

The Good
Some of the richest, most complex fighting gameplay around
Solid online gameplay with well-done netcode
Option-packed customization DLC offers a lot of value
Offers some of the best tutorial and training modes in modern fighters
The Bad
Single-player mode is weak compared to previous iterations
No way to earn customizations without DLC
8.5
Great
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Discussion

0 comments
juiceair
juiceair

Can't believe this is only 600mp on Xbox Live right now.  Instant purchase for me!!!  

faisaltm
faisaltm

we need a new fighting game with new characters and new moves. I hope the developers of the old fighting games stop regenerating the characters like street fighter and tekken or virtua fighters. 

starfox15
starfox15

Please put this on Steam. That is all.

 

frazzz619
frazzz619

If this game is old why does it look so much better than the latest Tekken? I thought I was imagining it, but after playing one after the other I noticed VF5 moves better, looks more realistic, has less clipping, and clothes and accessories obey the laws of gravity and look unreal. Shame about the lack of story or cut-scenes and lame voices, but this poos all over Tekken in the gameplay and graphics department. I hope the new Tekken cleans up it's act because I like their characters and story much more.

megakick
megakick

Good game.

I can see a Virtua Fighter x Dead Or Alive they share very similar mechanics.

itchyflop
itchyflop

@streetmagik yeah thanks man!! i always forget about the online multiplayer option. I Ive had every vf from day one on every system (including mega-drive/genesis and 32 x version).  My favorite was the VF 2 on the Sega Saturn. Back in those days you needed a second player with you !!! :)

alixkid
alixkid

I'll give VF my money over any other crappy rip off aka Tekken.

kaysar17
kaysar17

I don`t like VF4 

that`s sucks 

streetmagik
streetmagik

There is an unsettling amount of DUMB in the room right now.  If you do not like it or want it, go somewhere else.  If your going to open your ignorant trap, at least know what you are talking about. 

The FULL game is $15.  If you want to make 1, some, or all of your characters LOOK DIFFERENT, you will pay a little extra--thats it.  It is better than VF5 though--we know that--the rest of you never knew, and never will.  Go play something else.

regix416_basic
regix416_basic

I'd much rather have Tekken 6 on PSN rather than pay TWICE for ALL of VF 5 Final Takedown.  

regix416_basic
regix416_basic

Infuriating might not even describe the way they're handling this game.  You get the game for $15 OR you pay $35 for the WHOLE game with all of the extras... uh, huh?  

 

This is just about as dumb as paying $15 twice for Sonic 4.  And yes, I'm not kidding around   This is really really stupid Sega.  If you want to charge people for the game, then make them pay ONE price up front and NOT two.  This is inexcusable!

JMCDS45
JMCDS45

Can't wait to play it, but seriously, this DLC stupidity again?

Stardust7
Stardust7

 @KaSeRoR lol ...i got tekken 6 ..i like both games n i dont understand why u r here if u dont like any VF game...tekken have nice chars ,a lot of game modes n its fun ...but tekken gameplay mechanics is the same shi## since psx ...Virtua Fighter 5 FS gameplay is toooooooooooooo much more fluid and realistic than tekken ...There is no comparison lol 

ChiefFreeman
ChiefFreeman

Why just re-release a 5 year old game? I would think they'd just make Virtua Fighter 6 at this point. The cheaper price is nice, though.

tehtimeisnow
tehtimeisnow

if theirs no ipohne versoin then i refuse to by this gane i boycott seruoisely iphone is the future of games and if u dont suppart it with ganes then ur compeny will probelly  go under and look at steet fighter 4 on iphone its by far the most superier verosin of the game

GodGundamNT1
GodGundamNT1

lolz epic fail... no video review... gamespot is not trying to help promote Virtua Fighter like they love to polish the shaft on Gears and Halo.

zoeyleft
zoeyleft

wheres the video review?

sladakrobot
sladakrobot

VF is a fantastic game,no doubt!

What troubles me is the shallow single player part.

Ones will start to focus on online matches and what will happen is...you wish your Pai would look unique...man i LOVE to make my charas look different to other ppl charas.My main complaint:

15€ for the game,which is awesome

2x15€ for the 2 item packs,which is the cheapest option to get them all

Overall price 45€!

Why is the game not on a disc featured with ALL stuff at once for a retail price?

 

hairdie
hairdie

The depth to the vf series is staggering!! tekken is so shallow by comparison. the only reason other fighting games went on was there simplicity

quicksilver_03
quicksilver_03

VF was the starting evolution to the Tekken fighting engine. I won't forget this game since it's first release and for me personally this is way better combat than any overhyped and overpowered games. If you really want a decent fighting style game VF is the real deal.

BloomerNYC
BloomerNYC

Even with series like Tekken, Street Fighter, Soul Caliber, DOA, M vs C, this is still my favorite fighting series. I never enjoyed a fighting game like VF. VF5 is awesome.

alixkid
alixkid

If EA can do It why Not SEGA

alixkid
alixkid

 @KaSeRoR  Your comments show how clueless you really are. Your Tekken was a Bland copy of VF and still is.  "Never can get into VF" dude you play Tekken they copied the moves from VF then through in some moves from SF and called it tekken two lol . Tekken for Life wtf I'm Sure your the guy thats still playing MW.  VF series Love It.

KaSeRoR
KaSeRoR

Never can get into VF... VF3 was evolving the game a bit, but still the same ole BLANDNESS of moves and character movement! Looks pretty though... Tekken for Life!

>=)

ScouseLemon
ScouseLemon

"BUY ARE GAME!" "Then buy our content" ......yawn.

undeadgamer183
undeadgamer183

This game is not a "re-release" because if you play VF5 you can see that Final

Showdown could easily be named VF6.

I'm talking about a complete gameplay overhaul and certainly a much better deal than SFxT or Soul Calibur 5.Also,you don't need the dlc to enjoy the game,dlc

is only necessary for VF junkies like me.

This is the deepest of all fighting games out there.

xDeadMarchx
xDeadMarchx

 @faisaltm I feel that it is best that they polish characters that they already have. A roster of about 20 unique characters that are well balanced and diverse sounds more appealing to me than a bunch of new characters that haven't withstood the test of time. As long as there are a few new characters that aren't recycled (arcade edition evil ryu... wtf is that) I'd be happy.

Stardust7
Stardust7

 @faisaltm That's So True...without mentioning these crap  crossover fighting games X.X

xDeadMarchx
xDeadMarchx

 @megakick I think it has been mentioned that there are going to be VF characters in DOA5. No solid confirmation on it as far as I know.

regix416_basic
regix416_basic

 @streetmagik That's NOT true and you know it.  Look at the prices again.  There are TWO different versions.  One is the bareboned version and then there is the other version which I don't know of and no I am NOT dumb just because I don't like the damn game so shut the hell up!

SingleFighter
SingleFighter

 @regix416_basic You can buy bundle for $45 instead of buy game $15 then $30 for game cosmetics + Special Sparring Mode.Sega knows, if they sold just full game for $45, non VF fans always will never consider to try this game (for some, even $15 is quite expensive to spend on the game that they had never heard of).So, what is inexcusable ?

SingleFighter
SingleFighter

 @tehtimeisnowGood news, iPhone users will get Virtua Fighter 5:Unicorn Edition, and it will change how we play game, again.

 

* audience clapping *

/s

Gears_0f_L0ve
Gears_0f_L0ve

 @tehtimeisnow   iPhone's autocomplete is affecting your spelling :)  and I tend to disagree with the iPhone being the future of gaming.

J4m3sR4n0r72
J4m3sR4n0r72

 @tehtimeisnow

 I can neither take you seriously nor respect what you say for the following reasons:

 

1: The iPhone is NOT the future of gaming.

 

2: You don't know what the F you are saying.

 

3: You do not have the good sense to capitalize the first letter of each sententence, spell words correctly, and use punctuation where required.

jer_1
jer_1

 @sladakrobot There's a deal on PSN where you get the game and all DLC for $30 (VF5 FS Complete Edition), that's really not too bad if you are in desperate need of extra colors and clothes.

SingleFighter
SingleFighter

 @regix416_basic Ahhh, we get it, you don't like game and don't want to buy it, and you rather buy Tekken 6 on PSN for whatever the price.

streetmagik
streetmagik

 @regix416_basic

 The other version has the upgrade options (appearance only) for all characters, which you can buy individually as well.  READ damnit!!!  You get every function of the game for $15.

dovonob
dovonob

 @J4m3sR4n0r72  You don't put a comma before the word 'and'. The 'and' is used at the end of a list with comma's to show it's the end of the listing.Just saying, don't mock and patronise someone else for their punctuation if yours is also wrong.

 

You're other two points were very spot on, that guys is off with the fairies.

 

(by the way I'm joking I really don't give a toss)

sladakrobot
sladakrobot

 @jer_1 Lets hope this deal will appear on XBL too since i dont have a PS3.Thx for the info.

Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown More Info

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  • First Released
    • Arcade Games
    • PlayStation 3
    • Xbox 360
    Virtua Fight 5 Final Showdown will contain a full overhaul of Virtua Fighter 5's mechanics, balance and animations.
    8
    Average User RatingOut of 209 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown
    Developed by:
    Sega AM2
    Published by:
    Sega
    Genres:
    Action, Fighting, 3D
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    All Platforms
    Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol, Violence