Five years after it first appeared on consoles, Virtua Fighter 5 is back with a definitive edition in the form of Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown for Xbox Live Arcade and PSN. With new characters, visual refinements, and gameplay tweaks and balances over the vanilla VF5 release along with a ridiculously low 1200 MSP ($15) price tag, Final Showdown is one of the best fighting games on Xbox 360.
- Publisher: SEGA
- Developer: SEGA AM2
- ESRB Rating: “T" for Teen
- Genre: Fighting
- Pros: Sharp visuals; excellent online play; deepest fighting system ever, yet still accessible and fun; great value
- Cons: No customization without DLC; no SP Quest mode; expect to work if you want to be good
Virtua Fighter 5 packs 19 characters that are all unlocked from the start. You can play arcade mode (fight through a ladder of opponents until you reach the end boss), score attack mode (earn as many points as you can until you get beat), a license mode (sort of like mission mode in Capcom fighters), and extensive Dojo training modes to teach you everything about the game. And that is it for single-player content. Unlike the original Xbox 360 release of Virtua Fighter 5, there is no Quest mode where you could select different arcades to play against A.I. opponents. Kind of a letdown that the SP content is kind of thin, but you can't complain too much considering the 1200 MSP price.
Final Showdown was made with multiplayer in mind anyway. Either in local versus or online with the smoothest and best netcode of any fighter on Xbox 360, fighting other real players is the heart of Final Showdown and where you'll be spending most of your time.
At least, most of your time outside of training. One of the best things about Virtua Fighter is that it is deep and complex and complicated and button mashers will not last here like they can in other fighting games. It seems simple with only guard, punch, and kick buttons, but those simple commands used with directional movements and depending on position and spacing, results in hundreds of potential moves you can use. And all of them are actually useful and necessary because if you use the same moves and combos too often other players (and definitely the A.I.) will punish you. You not only have to learn your character's moves, but learn other characters' moves and tendencies so you know when to block and counter and how to punish them when they mess up. It takes a long time to actually get good, but when you do it is one of the most rewarding fighting games ever.
It all means that the game is difficult to learn, which can turn some players off that prefer other fighters that let you do flashy fancy stuff without much effort. If this was a $60 game, that would be a problem. For just $15, however, there is no reason not to buy Final Showdown if you are any kind of a fighting game fan. You'll definitely get your money's worth out of it even if you only play against the A.I. or locally against your equally scrubby friends (if you're all the same skill level, you'll all have lots of fun).
One other note is that the game features a ton of DLC in the form of character customization items. You can buy separate sets of items for each of the 19 characters for 400 MSP each or you can buy all of the DLC bundled into two packs for 1200 MSP each. Obviously, buying the bundles is a lot cheaper in the long run. Owning all of the DLC also opens an additional single-player mode where you fight customized A.I. characters. The DLC isn't necessary to play the game, of course, as it is just cosmetic customization items, but it does give you a lot of costume options to make the characters look however you want, which is kind of fun.
Graphics & Sound
Visually, Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown looks really good. Perhaps not as nice as some more recently released
or upcoming 3D fighters, but it still holds up incredibly well. The game has a sharpness and clarity, especially in the backgrounds, and nice lighting that really make it pop and look good. Characters are detailed and well animated as well.
The sound is also quite nice with great hard-hitting sound effects and a solid soundtrack.
When all is said and done, Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown is one of the best fighting games on Xbox 360. It looks fantastic, plays even better, and is one of the deepest and most rewarding fighters you'll ever play. For $15 you get a ton of content. Optional customization DLC balloons the price up to $45 - closer to a normal retail release - but it adds something like 14,000+ items, so it isn't too bad of a deal if you want to play dress up. The fact that it is optional, though, and you get the full core game for just $15 is pretty amazing and a model we wish other publishers would follow with their fighting games. For this high quality of a game at such a reasonable price we highly recommend Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown for a purchase whether you are a seasoned VF veteran or a newbie. You just can't beat the value here.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy