Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2012-06-17 Xbox 360 Fighting T (Teen) SEGA

Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown was described as "the definitive version of Virtua Fighter 5". SEGA has taken all the updates and adjustments that have been made to the franchise since its original arcade release, and packed them all into this digital release.

Some of the known improvements include better character animations, revised combat mechanics, simpler controls, camera adjustments and online gameplay, but there are a few new game modes as well, new arenas, two new characters (sumo wrestler Taka-arashi, karate fighter Jean Kujo) and customizable character items and outfits.

There are 20 characters to choose from, each with his/her own unique fighting style. I am not a fan of 3D fighting games (Soul Calibur is my exception), and I was worried I wouldn't be able to jump into Virtua Fighter 5 and enjoy it. Fortunately, the controls are fairly basic and it's easy to pick up and play. The toughest part was finding a character that I actually enjoyed playing with. From Vale Tudo to Drunken Kung Fu, everyone moves differently and has specific "special" skills catered to their fighting style. For example, drunken master Shun Di gets extra improved moves when he's drunk. Reminds me of a friend back in my EverQuest days who was a much better cleric when high or drunk - true story. Sober just didn't work for him while raiding.

Fortunately, there is a Dojo which works as training grounds and provides a series of tutorials, from the most basic of moves (such as jumping and blocking) to the more advanced combos and throw escapes. And while the controls are simple, the moves require some precision in timing and positioning.

As for the game modes, there are a few to be found: Arcade, Score Attack, License Challenge, Special Sparring and online matches. There is no story mode at all, which I found a bit odd, and going through Arcade will always give you the same order of opponents, no matter who you choose to play as. No story sequences, no endings, just a series of battles.

Score Attack gives you three routes to reach the final boss. The goal is to get the highest possible score by keeping your health bar full and defeating opponents as quickly as possible. If you are defeated, your score goes down. Scores are posted on the leaderboards.

License Challenge is bound to keep players busy for quite a while. This mode gives you specific tasks to complete during the matches, so not only you must defeat your opponent, you also have to fulfill the conditions required, such as hitting them a number of times or perform a combo. Defeat five opponents to raise your License rank.

Online matching takes place in lobbies that allow up to 8 players to join in. There are Ranked Matches and Player Matches, and others can wait to challenge someone or be a spectator in a match. Oh yes, and if you want to see other players' special costumes during an online match, you must also own the item packs... Seriously, at least you could just let everyone SEE what they could be wearing (Ulala Sara anyone?).

Speaking of said costumes, Special Sparring mode is available only to players who purchase the Customization Pack Bundles (DLC packs). This mode features matches against customized characters in all sorts of weird and wonderful costumes. This is also the biggest downfall of the game, since there is no other way to unlock the costumes but to buy them. Personally, I think it would be way cooler to say "Hey guys, look! I accomplished this goal and got this costume for it!"

Overall, for 1200 Microsoft Points, Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown was a fairly basic introduction to Virtua Fighter for newcomer me. Basic in features, but not without a steep learning curve! Dedicated players and veterans of the franchise will more than likely be glad to shell out the extra 400 MSP per item pack to get a more complete experience for under the price of a full-fledged retail game.