Reviews// Virtua Fighter 5 (PS3)

There’s no way you can map your digits to the SixAxis

Posted 23 Feb 2007 17:13 by
A lot has changed since 1998, when Virtua Fighter 3tb gave an early boost to the dearly departed Dreamcast. Eight-and-a-bit years later, Sega?s flagship fighting series is the hottest game in the launch line-up of a new console by Sony. It?s a bitter pill for Sega fans to swallow, no doubt, but as soon as we played this port of the Virtua Fighter 5 Version B arcade, well, we knew we?d have to look beyond the politics ? because this is a pure Sega classic.

Before we get into the ring, let?s warm up. First things first: some preparation. To experience Virtua Fighter 5 properly, you?ll need to drop the SixAxis and get hold of a real joystick. There?s no way you can map your digits to the SixAxis? Square, Triangle and Circle buttons without getting cramped, and the controller?s d-pad just cannot replicate the control afforded by a proper stick.

Fortunately, there is an excellent solution available: Sega?s High Grade Virtua Stick is every bit as good as the Dreamcast Arcade Controller (ah, those lime green buttons) was, and thanks to its use of USB rather than Bluetooth, there is never any momentary dropout (which, with the SixAxis, can occasionally cost you a fight). The High Grade Stick is only available on import from Japan at the moment, but true Virtua Fighter fans will undoubtedly spare no expense to get the genuine VF5 experience.

The next thing you?ll want to do is install Virtua Fighter 5?s installable game data to the PS3?s hard drive. There?s 2.35GB worth of data to install, which takes about five minutes to perform, but the result is shorter loading times between fights ? although, even having done this, you?ll have to wait ten seconds for each bout to begin. It?s not as bad as a Neo-Geo CD experience, but we were expecting more from a 2007-vintage console. Still, the gameplay here is all-important. So let?s get to it...

Virtua Fighter 5?s animation is downright incredible. Moving on from VF4 Evo, VF5 strikes out with completely new animation routines and ? to our eyes ? perfect fluency. There are no defects in VF5?s character models, and the way the fighters move here is enough to make you consign the last decade of 3D beat-?em-ups as a mere warm-up. If this is the standard we can expect from future 3D fighting games, then some of our dreams have just come true.

Even better, the level of VF5?s animation improves the gameplay beyond any other entry in the series. You can see every punch and kick before they land, which makes it feel as though you have a longer time window in which to come up with a defensive counter. And, once you?ve adjusted to the new tempo of VF5, you?ll be able to make use of the Offensive Move System to evade and pre-empt incoming attacks, turning dangerous situations into attacking opportunities by moving to stronger positions and quickly landing hits.
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hollywooda 27 Feb 2007 15:05
cant believe the PS3 version has no online play!! that's just fcuking stupid!, & if the same applies to the 360 version i'll be giving this one a miss i think.
vault 13 2 Mar 2007 21:26
hollywooda wrote:
cant believe the PS3 version has no online play!! that's just fcuking stupid!, & if the same applies to the 360 version i'll be giving this one a miss i think.

It's not stupid, it's a gameplay issue. Home console vs. offers no lag, no bandwidth to contend with, no worrying about users pathetic high pings and lag issues. For some games it's fine, but for a game like Virtua Fighter, it's just not good. Even 2D fighters like Street Figher and the like don't handle too well. Sega would rather not tarnish the perfect gameplay experience. Unless they're lying, te 360 won't have online play either.

What I'm miffed about is the backward step from VF4 -> VF4:EVO ->VF5.. Evolution lost the tamagotchi/pokemono trainin style Kumité mode and 5 took a severe hit in the Dojo/Training mode. The tutorials and move preview are absent. And a lack of any new modes of play are a dissapointment. At least the new characters and gameplay is balanced.
hollywooda 5 Mar 2007 09:53
If they can make games like Battlefield & Gears of war play online without lag issues then surely they can make a game that is one static environment & two characters work online??... just seems like sloppy programming to me, Sega probably aren?t the best company for making online gaming but to not bother i think is a bit weak. Having online virtua Fighter tournaments with people from all over the world would of been an excellent add on to this game, sadly without an online feature this game is just a graphically buffed up version of what we already have.
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