"One step forward, two steps back..."

User Rating: 6.5 | Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown PS3
Well this has definitely gotten an overhaul since the last game of the series I've played which was vanilla VF5. You would think that an update to the series translates to being better than before like adding more features, balances, and improving the fight system but that wasn't the case for this game. What it looked like they did do is more like trying to streamline the game-play for casuals but in the process sacrificing the fine tuned fight mechanics and features I have come to love of the series up to this point. Well let me start by listing the cons and pros so you can get a better picture of what I mean.

1 - The throw system has been changed in a bad way. Yes it is more noob friendly but they downsized the list of throws for many characters and weakened the system making it slower to execute a throw and useless against mashers. So if you are into grapplers be prepare to get easily stuffed, yep they took out the clash when throw vs attack so you end up initiating grabbing that goes through your opponent and getting hit in the process which online lag makes worse.
2 - The attack system is not as fine tuned/balanced as vanilla VF5. Sure they overhauled it by adding newer animations but the hurt and hit boxes are atrocious. Getting hit by wide/huge invisible boxes (from strait attacks not the round attacks) that connect even though you side stepped to his side/behind is a joke. And getting juggled while downed on the floor with standing/jumping knees and attacks is so much easier to do damage with then wasting time with the slow and useless down attack. Also spacing your opponent for defense is useless when many of the attacks can hit you from several feet away. I've even been hit by flying/torpedo kicks that I side step behind the opponent but instead of Ring Out it stopped in mid air and turned around and still hit me!
3 - The features is a mixed bag. It does have way more costume pieces to have fun dressing your character with but they took out Quest mode where you use to fight to win the item pieces and instead made it into a DLC that you pay separate for and entirely unlocked already. They also took out custom remarks and collecting emblems which added to the game even though not essential.
4 - For the net-code it is deceptive. At first glance looking at mostly smooth animations while playing makes you think the game is pretty minimal in lag and you can have a decent online experience. But you would be wrong! The lag is actually well hidden and plagues you in the form of constant dropped/delayed inputs. This is made worst with that it doesn't effect both players evenly, depending on who has the worst end of the lag you are literally sitting duck eating hits because your block doesn't register but you opponent is unaffected as much and free to take advantage. All this becomes too noticeable and burdensome at higher level play where timing of frames is essential for reacting/countering and certain frame strict commands.

1 - New fighters added to the roster.
2 - Lots of costume pieces to have crazy fun with playing dress up.
3 - Can be fun if played just for a casual time killer and offline.
4 - Cheap price!

In conclusion this version of VF is not as finely balanced and complete as vanilla and version before it since it was sacrificed for mainstreaming the series for the casual player that thought previous entries was too hardcore for them. Also this console port is missing a few things from the arcade (commentaries, flashy fight intros, emblems, and some costume pieces) just so they could cram the file size to make it downloadable and save a few bucks. I do wishfully believe though that many of the problems can be fixed if Sega is willing to invest in creating a patch addressing many of these issues. Although I wouldn't hold my breath since the Great Yu Suzuki and father of Virtua Fighter is retired from making the series and the team at Sega-AM2 doesn't look like they will ever achieve or match him in the way he perfected the series up until VF4-FT. Thank you and have a nice day ;-)