You ever played Virtua Fighter 5 before? You ever play it ONLINE? Whoa man! What a great idea from SEGA. Let’s take a game that came out a few months ago. Port it to another system and add the ability to play over the internet.
[image1]Now that’s not to say that’s all they’ve done here. This is based off Version C of the arcade console as opposed to the PS3’s Version B meaning it’s got some extra polish. However it doesn’t make it a different experience. In fact, it’s not even much different from any of the last few Virtua Fighters. That’s the problem that’s plagued the series for a while now. While playing is fun, it’s just not any more fun than the last Virtua Fighter.
The fighting is the same old VF schtick that fans of the series are used to. That’s not a bad thing but it’s not a great thing either. It’s a real meat and potatoes system. No glamour or glitz. You won’t see magic fireballs thrown by robots-ninjas or anything like that. Maybe your crane style will take on some crouching tiger though.
There is a good selection of characters and fighting styles to choose from. There’s even two new playable characters in VF5, Eileen (monkey fighting girl) and El Blaze (Mexican wrestler or S&M porn star?). They play a lot like other characters that already exist in the game.
All the character models in the game are good and their clothing is nice and vibrant. If you play through Quest mode you’ll also be able to earn items and accessories to customize your favorite fighter. It’s a great idea especially when the whole point is to distinguish yourself and your fighter from everyone else’s on the interweb.
The arenas and backgrounds look good as well, but not with any consistency. One fight you’re in a city full of neon signs, the rain pouring down and lightning crashing. The next fight you’re in a cage full of brown rocks and still water in front of more brown rocks and sky. That’s it. The better levels do contain a tremendous amount of detail, and it’s that amount of detail which I can only guess causes the games most blatant drawback, loading times.
[image2]Some load screens are actually longer than the fights themselves, (seriously, I timed it) which is annoying enough in Arcade and Quest modes, but is a huge pain when playing online.
It can take some serious time to find a match on Xbox live and you can’t rematch other gamers. When you couple that with the long load times it’s possible to get very impatient waiting to fight. After every fight you’re taken back to the join/host menu. You can invite your friends to play in your arena, sure, but no rematch option? No character select?
For a fighting game whose selling point is supposed to be its online capabilities, it’s ironically the one fighting mode that has the most drawbacks. Hopefully there’s some way to patch this in the future, I have my doubts though. If they had added more ways to play or some more options for online it would have made a big difference. As it stands the quest mode will give you everything you can get online and than some.
Quest mode is where I spent most of my time. It’s a great place to earn items and gain experience, but in the end it’s just the same as any of the other modes. All fights in this game go down the same way no matter what mode you’re in. There’s no real variation to game play at any point in time.
I found it to be more enjoyable playing VS. mode with my roommates. You get the instant satisfaction of watching their heads explode as you beat the crap out of them. Ah, Sweet Victory.
[image3]But it’s a victory I’ve celebrated for too many years. How about more interaction with the arenas than just getting smacked into a wall or thrown out of bounds? Maybe add some more modes? At the very least a rematch option should be added to Xbox Live.
If you’re a hardcore fan of the Virtua Fighter series and you don’t already own a copy of Virtua Fighter 5 then who are you trying to kid? You already bought the game. If you do have the PS3 version the online multiplayer is not enough to warrant buying another copy. The same things that made all the other Virtua Fighters good are in there and they look better than before.
At the end of the day Virtua Fighter 5 Online is as good a game as any of the previous and for the exact same reasons. It’s just not a better game than them. The whole idea of making a sequel is to improve them. This is essentially the same game they’ve been making for years with a couple new characters and updated graphics.