The smooth flowing cinematic fighting experience, Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown has touched down upon the Xbox Live Arcade, and the Playstation Network. It has been a few years since the initial release of Virtua Fighter 5: ONLINE and Final Showdown is truly a more polished version updating the graphics, adding two new characters, new stages, and balancing other characters while adding in some new moves to mix it up for veterans while still managing to be friendly for new players.
Players who played Virtua Fighter 5: ONLINE and are switching over to Final Showdown will notice that the character models are a lot less blurry and that the stages are as bright and vibrant as ever, Enhancing the cinematic combat and giving the game a very crisp colourful look. There are over 20 stages ranging from a construction zone within a city or out in the desert in a tall wooden fest. With each stage being different from one another, over different geographies, one thing is certain that you will not get bored of the options available.
With the game’s 20 characters to all with deep, unique styles of play all based on real martial arts ranging from Sumo and Judo to Shaolin Kung-fu and Pro-Wrestling. All of these various styles fit nicely into Final Showdown’s 3-button fight system. In which you are given a punch, kick, and guard button. The depth and complexity to each characters is in the input commands. Where all 8 of the diagonals on your d-pad or stick are all necessary for different attacks.
The actual in-game combat flows smoothly with many fast striking short combos to long flowing combinations that would make for some excellent choreography in a film. Most characters have multiple stances which open up more striking options. Leaving characters with a lot to learn. Lei-Fei, a user of Shaolin Kung Fu has seven stances within his move-list, making seven different lists within his command list. The two new characters added to the game are Taka-Arashi, a sumo wrestler who was previously in Virtua Fighter 3TB, and Jean Kujo, an eerily feminine male karate expert. Both mixing in perfectly with the lighting fast, movie-esque combat that is Virtua Fighter 5.
The Virtua Fighter series has been renowned for its excellent online and net code and Final Showdown is no exception. The Ranked Match is exactly as it sounds, you fight opponents that match to your skill rank, in which players start at the traditional Japanese ranking system of 10th kyu and work up to the 10th dan and then the Master Rank for exceptionally skilled players. There is also the unranked Player Match and Room Match in which you can create or join a room of up to 8 players.
Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown’s musical score was performed by long time series composer Fumio Ito, who has been composing for the series since the Virtua Fighter 3TB. The music is full of energy and definitely gives the sound of a fight in the air. Unfortunately, there is not all that much variety between tracks and they can easily be interchanged without much notice.
When it comes to game modes you are given a few choices. From your classic arcade mode, and the accompanying score attack which is arcade mode but in which you are scored pm virtually everything you can be scored on. There is also a License Challenge, which is similar to missions in other fighting games. In which you are given a general goal and have to complete the goal in five consecutive fights. This mode is great to practice learning new moves and advanced techniques or just to polish up your skills for new players and longtime veterans.
Upon release there will be cosmetic item packs available for purchase. These add all the costume items from Virtua Fighter 5: ONLINE as well as new items. Individually these packs contain 600-950 cosmetic items per character and will be released for $5.00/400 MS Points; or there will be two bundle packs available (one with 9 characters, the other with 10) for $15/1200 MS points available on release day.
Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown is a great fighter with a lot of depth and complexity, but is still simple enough in its execution that a novice player will easily be able to pick up the game and learn very quickly. Taking into consideration the modest price tag of $15.00/1200 MS Points for what at one time was a full priced title. Any fan of fighting games will be able to pick up Final Showdown and be able to enjoy themselves with this great title given new life.