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staticneuron

Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown Review: Beatdown in style

by staticneuron

posted June 24, 2012 @ 11:55PM
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filed under Games

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Virtua Fighter is a series that most people likely haven't thought of in some time, with the exception of the news that a trio of characters would be making an appearance in Dead or Alive 5 as playable fighters. The last time the series had a presence in the community was about five years ago before it fell off the face of the Earth. Now, though, Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown makes a comeback on the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 with noticeable improvements from its original release back in 2006.

The most obvious change that players will notice are two new characters: Jean Kujo and Taka-Arashi. The former is a French full-contact assassin, though the France-born fighter is voiced by a Japanese actor due to the game's roots. The latter is a Japanese sumo wrestler who first appeared in Virtua Fighter 3 and subsequently wasn't used for a few titles as he was difficult to integrate into the game, according to Sega.

As before, the story is essentially non-existent, but it doesn't really harm the replay value in the least; Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown is all about fighting, and fighting is what players get to do. Newcomers to the genre will feel at home here as Final Showdown feels much easier to navigate and get used to, which can't be said for most fighting games that cater to the professionals.

The graphics from the original Virtua Fighter 5 were certainly dated at the time of release (and even more so these days), but Sega has made vast improvements to make the game look more appealing in 2012. In most cases, the company even went as far as to completely revise the animations for the majority of the attacks. The ones that did not get a complete overhaul still look very well done performed alongside the new animations.

PlayStation 3 players will have their first shot at enjoying competition from other fighters online thanks to the addition of a new mode that permits up to eight players to compete against one another. A surprising turn of events makes this mode worth the money all on its own: There are no signs of lagging, so the fights never get interrupted, and players will not unfairly lose due to a delay in timing. There are also options to record videos of the events, play them back and even share them with friends to see the action as well.

The only catch for having a cheaper rendition of the original game is that it costs money to deck out fighters with costumes. In fact, it costs money just to get into the customization menu. Granted, the only thing that costs money are cosmetic changes, but it's a little off-putting for some players to have to pay triple the advertised price just to get all the costumes for every character.

As a new version to an already old and sometimes forgotten title, Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown does well to hold up against other competitive fighting games. The controls are very simple, only really requiring input from three buttons and placing no focus on weapons or fancy combos, Final Showdown remains a very accessible game to newcomers without sacrificing quality in show and brutality for veterans and those who enjoy the game's aesthetics. Keep in mind that for both systems, the game is a downloadable title only, appearing on the PlayStation Network Store and Xbox Live Arcade respectively.

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