Back in 1993, the now-legendary, SEGA AM2 department released Virtua Fighter.
The first 3D fighting game. For it's time it was hailed by many as the most
technically impressive game of it's time. Consisting of an arcade stick and
3 buttons, Punch, Kick and Guard. It sounded easy but demanded dedication to
master. The popularity of which lead to many sequels for the franchise and lay
the way for many other franchises to be born.
Fast forward to 2006, the latest installment: Virtua Fighter 5. On the
surface VF5 looks like standard fare for a 3D beat-em-up; beautiful graphics, a
decent list of characters and a large move set. But under the surface, is the
same level of depth that the original held. Can you beat the game with button
mashing? Sure, on lower difficulties, it can be done. But it is a game that
demands dedication for you to enjoy all the benefits.
Virtua Fighter has always been about knowing, and being aware, of points
where you have an advantage over your opponent or when the opponent has one over
you and reacting accordingly. Standard attacks, throws, throw escapes,
recoveries, rising attacks… all those are here. As well as more advanced
attacks like reversals, deflecting, charged attacks and staggering.
The game also features a Quest Mode, where you go from arcade to arcade
beating various challengers. It's a great way to pass time offline or to hone
your skills against varying difficulties. Along with this comes more items and
titles for you to use to customise characters and/or change your title for
online play and increase your ranking.
This is where the Xbox 360 version outshine it's Playstation
3 counterpart, for it has online mode. This is due to the PS3 version being
built on the older Version B of the arcade model and is tied to the limitations
of that model. Which is great for 360 owners! You can now challenge your friend
down the street or across the World. Show off your title, icons, ranking or just
the way your character looks with the available items you've unlocked.
Of course, you can still play against your armchair buddy with a second
controller. Personally, an arcade stick is my choice for fighting games, but the
controller settings are perfect for this game. So no worries there!
Virtua Fighter 5 will test your skill and demand your time, but the more you
give to it, the more it gives back. It's a challenging game that rewards the
fighter purist and those that are willing to test their mettle.