Final Showdown features all 18 of the characters fro Virtua Fighter 5 plus a brand spanking new character for this release only. If i had spent more time playing previous releases of VF5 i would name some of the characters, but I don't know many off the top of my head besides Sara and Vanessa of course. In these type of fighting games I tend to pick the hottest female characters and dress them as slutty as they can be. The selling point to Final Showdown is that according to Sega it has a totally revamped fighting system and the most balanced gameplay in the line of games. I did notice while playing that the game is very balanced and no fighter has an advantage over another, but I am not deep enough in the Virtua Fighter franchise to know how or what the gameplay improvements are. I can say though that the core gameplay is really solid. Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown is a very technical and slow paced 3d fighting game. Every attack from simple punches and kicks to even deciding when to block and counter takes precise timing and execution. I do not really play some of the 3d, more technical fighters such as this or Tekken, but against the AI i could win by being a little spammy. While playing online however I got my butt kicked in. Final Showdown has an arcade mode that can be beaten within 20 minutes, and I found it to be pretty easy. There are different difficulty levels, but I usually play my games on Normal the first couple times though. There is also a pretty good training mode that I spent some time in to improve my skills. I can say that for a relative noob to the game they can be pretty helpful. There is also a license challenge mode where a challenge can be completed by doing a series of objectives. One challenge will focus on throw techniques, while the next one would focus on using jump attacks. The challenges are better and more fun than the arcade mode.
The real disappointment in Final Showdown is that there is no Quest Mode in the game. I remember playing the first Virtua Fighter 5 release on the xbox 360, and it had an extensive Quest Mode where winning fights increased rank and unlocked a ton of customization items for your characters. Final Showdown has opted not to include the quest mode in the game, but they instead bundled all of the customization items together as paid DLC's for the game. $15 will get you half of the items, and another $15 will get you the other half. Combine that with the $15 paid to access the generic game with no replayability you are looking at $45 for the total package. In my opinion this is a complete joke. For $15 I should get all of the customization items and some kind of game mode to unlock them in. Online the hardcore of the online players will even consider buying these packages. There also arn't that many items for each character, only a handful of unique items. I think Sega is really taking advantage of fans and making the hardcore players pay a lot more for the game. You can just go buy a Virtua Fighter 5 used copy for $5 and get the quest mode and all of the items. I was really disappointed in this Pay to Play mentality from Sega. The $15 price point for the core game is too much in my opinion too, I had experienced all of the single player components of the game within 3 hours, and the online mode is such garbage that I couldn't be bothered to play it more than an hour or two. The online really didn't work, at least when I played the game. Matches often times wouldn't connect, and ones that did would always get halfway through and disconnect. I could count the number of matches that were finished on one hand. The matches played ok, but there was at least one spike of lag in every one that I played, with most of them being very laggy.
On a good note Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown looks great. It is definitely the best a VF game has looked. The stage backgrounds are very vivid and sharp. The character models look great, and it is a shame I didn't get a chance to see what a customized character looked like. I really enjoyed the art style and design of the game. The audio although not as good as the visuals is also very solid. The music is ok and pretty generic but the sound effects of the matches from the pop of punches to the sweet grunts of my lovely lady sounded great.
Overall Final Showdown is a big disappointment for me. I was expecting much more of a single player game, and a way better online. The online was borderline unplayable. Combine the shallow gameplay experience and the hefty price tag especially on the DLC I was not a satisfied consumer. VF fans will certainly buy the game and DLC's, but I can only recommend the game to the hardest of the hardcore fans.
2.5 stars (5.0)