Review by J_Aurelia
"The Definitive Virtua Fighter 5 Review"
Background Before I start this review, I have played Virtua Fighter 2,Virtua Fighter 4 and Virtua fighter 4 Evolution, I did play Virtua Fighter 3 in the arcades, but not enough to remember much of it,I love technical fighting games, as it brings realism to the beat'em up genre and caters for the hardcore fighting game fan. I'll try my best to keep this review balanced and unbiased as possible, if I was to be biased, this is how this review will go Best fighting game ever made!!!, 10/10, if you don't like it, you will be kicked in the head!!
Following the events that unfolded in Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution , J6 ( evil organization in the Virtua Fighter world, sort of like the Mishima Zaibatsu in Tekken ), with its Dural program, creating the ultimate man made fighting machine, with human traits and features ( In Virtua Fighter 4, Dural was the last boss, who you had only one shot at, no continues, and she had moves from all the characters ), she was defeated in VF4:Evolution ( also note,the original Dural was Kage Marus mother,she appeared in the tournament,the final round in VF was Kage VS Shun,Kage is the Ninja of the VF games,Kage's mother was kidnapped by J6 and Brainwashed many years ago ). In quick reaction to these events of Durals defeat, J6 Kidnapped Vanessa, with the aims of capturing her combat data, for the use in their new Dural , which the J6 scientists called V Dural ,I'm guessing Vanessa Dural. J6 is now searching for the person who helped Vanessa escape from them. Who is rumored to be an inside traitor within the J6 scientist group. V Dural is now unleashed to participate in the 5th Virtua Fighter tournament.
Virtua Fighter 5 on the xbox 360 is version C, PS3 is Version B, which is inferior and the reason SEGA cannot add online play to the PS3 version, online play is exclusive to the Xbox 360 version, if you have both a 360 and ps3, and you want this game, go with the 360 version there are also more enhancements and bug fixes in Version C.
Virtua Fighter 5 is all about realism, all the moves the fighters have are based and modeled on their real life counterparts, for Example, Akira Yuki ( the hardest character to learn, but one of the most, if not the most powerful fighter in the game, fighting someone who knows what hes doing while using Akira will finish you off in only a short few move combinations ) uses a fighting style called Hakkyoku-ken ( eight extremes fist ),which is a Chinese martial art,Hakkyoku-ken is known for its powerful short range attacks and elbow strikes,if you want to learn this art,travel to Taiwan,I'll probably do it one day,the first known master of the art is Wu Zhong (1712-1802),Hakkyoku-ken is all about force and Akira is a prime example of this. Using him for the first time, will seem like Akira only has a few moves, if your into button mashing senseless fighting ofcource, normal pressing of buttons with simple movement combinations won't get you far, you have to check the command list to see how to take advantage of Akiras powerful moves, and this learning curve is another reason why I have come to appreciate the Virtua Fighter 5 mechanics, but in saying that, people new to the game should try someone else who's easier to use, when fighting against Akira, use speed, and do NOT let up, giving Akira any chance will end in a round loss for you. Recommended for Expert players.
Lau Chan ( winner of the first Virtua Fighter tournament ) is one of the best chefs in China,and his also a Master of the martial art Koen-Ken , which means Tiger Swallow Fist.It combines two styles of shaolin kung fu into a dangerous form of weaponless combat,and today its considered quite rare , a karate kata called Empi has some elements of Tiger Swallow Fist and I believe people in China are trying to revive and give a new life to the art.Quite an old guy actually, In Virtua Fighter 5 they gave him grey hair, in Virtua Fighter 4 he actually looks a fair bit younger than he does now. He is also the Father of Pai, who is another selectable Fighter in VF5. Lau does not look like a happy person but his moves are incredible, you can pull of some amazing moves right off the bat with Lau,and he actually has some great ancient Chinese clothing you can purchase in Quest mode, which I'll get into latter. And trust me, you will want to know all about the Quest mode!. Recommended for Novice and Intermediate players.
Pai Chan , is a movie star , martial arts movie star actually and is very popular among the Hong Kong action film genre. She practices the martial art Mizongyi.Mizongyi is a style of Chinese martial art based on deception and mobility and goes all the way back to the Tang Dynasty!,according to legend, it was known to be used after 1909,the art has connections to Wushu kung fu. Just like in the Tekken games,where you have the son vs father, in Virtua fighter 5, you have daughter vs father, Pai, was trained in Koen-Ken as a child, but at the same time, Lau was neglecting Pais Mother while training non stop, obsessively in Martial Arts, Pais mother died overworking trying to support the family,and thats where it starts, Pai blames Lau for the death of her mother, and originally goes on a mission for vengeance, in previous Virtua Fighter games, Pai fails.
Lau, now ill, goes out and seeks to find a worthy successor to carry on his Martial arts school if anything should happen to him, Pai seems to accept the fact vengeance won't bring her mother back and moves on from her idea of blaming Lau for the death of her mother,and now seeks his approval, she wants to be his successor,and now has a shift in priority's to find her father and defeat him to show shes worthy. Recommended for Novice and Intermediate players.
Wolf Hawkfield , has been around since the start of the Virtua Fighter games, he is also one of the biggest fighters in the game, hes fighting style is Pro Wrestling. Locally as a pro wrestler, he remains undefeated and becomes annoyed at the fact theres no one worthy or good enough to challenge his Wrestling title, he enters the VF5 tournament seeking powerful opponents. Wolf might be a bit to much for novice players, he does have some easy to pull off moves, but to really take advantage of Wolf you need to spend some time practicing, and once you do that, he is a very powerful fighter, I have had so much trouble with experienced Wolf players, his move combinations are awesome and is worth the time learning. Recommended for Intermediate and Expert Players.
Jeffry McWild, AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE!!, one who is just as big as Wolf, Jeffry is also a fishermen when hes not fighting. Hes skilled in Pancratium,which is an ancient art of wrestling introduced around 648 BC!. Hes pretty much like Wolf Hawkfield, new players will have trouble fighting as Jeffry at first, Jeffry has many powerful moves, which I found a little hard to pull off sometimes, but once I did I had huge amounts of momentum due to the amount of damage Jeffry is capable of inflicting on his opponents. Recommended for Intermediate and Expert Players.
Lei-Fei , Shaolin Kung Fu!! , Lei is a Shaolin monk, who was ordered to kill Lau Chan in VF4,which turned into a personal mission since Lei wanted to learn the secrets of Koen-Ken and to obtain the skills for himself, due to the fact in ancient times, A Chinese emperor banned all powerful Martial Arts, one of them was Koen Ken. A group of people who still want to control the practicing of powerful Martial arts in China sends Lei to kill Lau . Lei, who admires Koen Ken, uses the chance to test his skills against the ancient art and to learn it for himself, after thats done, he will kill Lau. Lei is probably one of the easiest fighters to master in VF5, Shaolin is a very bewildering art, even the use of simple moves will be rattling to defend against for even the most experienced VF5 players due to the combination of upper and lower striking moves, when fighting Lei its best to rush him, giving him a chance could leave you knocked out faster than expected. Recommended for Novice,Intermediate and Expert players.
Kage-Maru, the Ninja of the VF games, who appropriately uses Hagakure-ryu Ju-Jutsu ( ninjutsu ), his name, Kage Maru, comes from members in the Hagakure clan who are a secret clan who go about their business in the up most secrecy. Hes destiny so to speak, from birth,was to become the 10th Generation Kage Maru , since his father was the 9th, His father also taught him everything he knows in combat. As I said earlier, Kages mother was the original Dural, who J6 sent to attack their village, while the attack went on, Kages father was fatally wounded, which leads Kage Marus mission in VF5 to take revenge on J6. Just like Lei, Kage is one of those fighters who new players can use and win with easily, he has very fast and effective moves, also his advanced move set is pretty well ranged to, fighting an experienced Kage player in some cases can lead into near impossible to win games, he literally blitzes his opponents , when I had matches against good Kage players, I found it best to fight speed with speed, just like fighting against Lei Fei, waiting while guarding is not recommended,Kage has annihilating grapple moves, don't give him the chance, recommended for novice,intermediate and expert players.
Aoi Umenokouji, oooo so fine, I love this girl, especially when customized in quest mode, you can make her look even more gorgeous, Her fighting art is Aiki Ju-Jutsu ,which is a delicate art,which teaches students no matter how big or tough your opponent is you shall prevail,the art first became widely known in the early 20th century under the headmastership of Takeda Sokaku.The concept of Aki Ju-Jutsu is to pull when you are pushed, and to push when you are pulled.Aoi is a childhood friend to Akira Yuki. Her whole purpose in the VF tournament is to test herself, Aoi and Akira used to train together and shes considered Akiras love interest in the VF world, she also has a rivalry and liking to Brad Burns. Shes a pretty fast fighter, Guard + Kick combinations work well with her, her Punch Punch + Kick quick combos work pretty well to, shes not one of the most powerful fighters,while learning her move sets, she does have some great abilities but really doesn't have the edge to keep up with experienced Akira,Lau,Lei and Kage Fighters, but still!, if you take the time, you can come out a great Aoi player, theres plenty of potential here. Recommended for Intermediate players.
Sarah and Jacky Bryant , The brother and sister duo of the VF games, in earlier games Sarah was kidnapped by the infamous J6 ( J6 was rumored to be responsible for the crash Jacky had when he was racing,so Sarah investigated and got caught ), brainwashed and sent out to kill Jacky, she failed, but, she regained her memory's, and now shes confused, she doesn't know if it was due to the brainwashing or if she really wanted her brother dead, their styles in the game are pretty similar, Jacky uses Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do fighting art, while Sarah utilizes a mixture of martial arts, but in saying that, Jacky and Sarah basically have similar move sets, quick and powerful. Both fighters would go well with new VF players, their kick combinations are great and would be a handful for any pro VF player, recommended for novice and intermediate players.
Shun Di, Shun is the old man of the VF games, who is a Drunken Kung Fu master, he is also a herbal doctor in china, I'm not sure what hes story is in VF5, it wasn't actually made clear by Sega, the only thing I do know, is that in the 4th tournament , Shun enters to protect Lion, who is one of his former students, Lion Rafale is a fighter using the Praying Mantis Kung Fu art, his purpose is to be free from his fathers control, I'm sure J6 was after him, which lead Shun to protect him, but in the 5th game their purpose in the story hasn't exactly been made clear. In Virtua fighter 4,the booklet explained everyones stories, but in Virtua fighter 5s booklet, theres nothing.. Shun probably entered the VF5 tournament to prove he still has what it takes to be champion, even at his old age.
Vanessa Lewis, introduced in Virtua Fighter 4, is a security guard, and a hard fighter at that to, she was Sarah's bodyguard in VF4 after learning about J6 plans to re capture Sarah, and she fights with the art of Vale Tudo, Vanessa was actually trained by J6 since her parents were murdered ( probably by J6 ), and was saved by a Man by the name of Lewis, J6 killed Lewis ( she still wants to avenge him ), and Vanessa was the base model for the new V-Dural, her looks has also changed in VF5, in VF4 she had a more, masculine look , in VF5 she looks much more feminine, and looks hot as hell in my books. POWER, shes all about power, Guard+Kick will make her jump spin and attack, which is so strong it even counts as a guard breaker, shes a strong girl, nice range of moves, best to take time to learn the rest of her move set. Recommended for Intermediate and Expert players.
Brad Burns!, my personal favourite fighter, hes a Muai Thai kick boxer ( I do Muai Thai aswell ), he was one of the new fighters in the revised Virtua Fighter Evolution. Hes all about the rush, fighting & catching the attention of Women . He was an undefeated champion and no one in his local could match up with him, so he enters the VF tournament to find a worthy opponent and he finds a rival and love interest in Aoi Umenokouji. Brad has perplexing combinations, Novice and Intermediate players will be right at home using Brad, he has powerful Guard + Kick moves, lower and upper strike, he has very effective Punch Punch Punch + Kick combos, although, his combos often leave him open for a counter attack if you fail to hit with Brads attacks , I use Brad online,local and in quest mode, and I have found ways to counter this problem, Brad is all power and true to his art, his advanced moves were well worth the time to learn, really, his combinations can confuse anyone, as the lead up attacks follow routine and change half way in, defending against Brad comes down to luck if your fighting a good Brad player. Recommended for Novice & Intermediate players.
Goh Hinogami, Another fighter introduced along with Brad in VF4:Evolution, Rivals Akira in his move set and was actually created to become Akiras main rival . Like Akira, Goh is very hard to learn, but very rewarding once learnt, he is also an assassin for J6!!, he has had a very violent childhood, and trained by J6 from an early age, he has many scars on his face and has quite a sadistic nature, after he defeats someone, he likes to kick them when their down, hes purely sent to participate in the tournament to give hell to all the other fighters, Goh is a master of Judo, which I was wondering why from VF4, Judo?, no offense to people who practice Judo, I have many friends who are progressing in the art of Judo, but Goh should have been given a Brad style hard hitting martial art, why not Kyoskushin Karate?, but anyway, Goh does Judo, and he is very hard to learn, its not orthodox Judo though, which is great, Goh has an altered Judo style, which is more undisciplined to suit his nature and he was given some hard hitting moves to match, his guard+kick is similar to brads power kick. In VF4, I spent so many hours mastering Goh, and I did get pretty good with him, In VF5 he has been altered here and there so his Judo is more realistic, and they pulled it off, he fights great. Recommended for Expert players.
Introducing the two new fighters in Virtua Fighter 5
El Blaze and Elieen, El Blaze is the Ray Mysterio of the Virtua Fighter world, hes quick,very quick, and he finds a rivalry with fellow wrestler Wolf, El Blaze enters the 5th tournament to prove he can defeat a heavy weight with aims to take down Wolf. Eileen is a cute new fighter, she uses monkey style kung fu art called Hou Quan , and she admires Pai, she wants to grow up to be like Pai, so she enteres to the 5th tournament to meet her idol. Both fighters are recommended for novice and intermediate players.
Virtua fighter 5 is set out like the previous game( VF4 ), you have your Arcade mode,Quest mode,Dojo ( training ) and the typical vs modes ( including online! ),options etc, the menu in Virtua fighter games has always been high quality, its really inspiring, in Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution, you could win and unlock new wallpapers ( sega worlds,character wallpapers etc ), in VF5, they removed the option to change the wallpapers, which is no loss really, the background in VF5 is amazing with real time changes in the video with each mode you pick, Customization options show characters doing moves, while their clothing changes while they demonstrate their moves, looks very cool.
Arcade mode is your typical fight through the roster, with Akira waiting for you at the end, and he is HARD, even on easy Akira will kick your ass if your not careful, defeating him will give you a shot at V Dural, and like in the previous game, you have no continues, if you lose, you still finish the game but you miss your chance to defeat the J6 Cyborg creation.
Quest Mode , this is where the majority of your time playing this game will be, Quest mode is so in depth I would have paid for the Quest mode itself!!, it has RPG elements, you fight with your selected data, which records your win/loss, you unlock and win items ( clothing,emblems etc ), which you can add to your fighter, change their hair style etc, each character has their own items shop, which is appropriately done, so you can't buy Brads Muai Thai shorts if your using Akira etc. Before each fight, it shows your win/loss, your emblem ( theres a range of them you have to win by defeating other fighters, and it goes next to your name when you fight, theres a huge range of pictures ), and your quote, at the bottom of the screen you have 2 lines for a quote.
The Quest mode is set out in sega worlds, you travel to each sega world on the map screen to fight the players there, one sega world will be filled with amature fighters , another with intermediate fighters, one sega world will have mixed and one sega world will have all expert players. You level up so to speak in an orthodox martial arts system of progression, you start as 10th Kyu, the more you win, the more experience you get , when enough experience is gained, you have a promotional fight, if you win, you level, make your way to 1st kyu ( black belt in VF ), then you level through Dans, which take much more time, 1st Dan to 10th Dan, and it doesn't end there, once you get past 10th Dan, theres more titles to be earned, which I wont ruin for you guys, just keep playing and discover it . After some time, official VF tournaments are held, you will be notified about them so don't worry about missing them, winning these tournaments also results in xbox 360 achievements.
Now,heres the amazing part, the fighters you meet in Quest mode, are not just some generic fighters, every fighter you meet, have actual data from real life people, like in VF4, Sega recorded everyones fighting data,preferred moves, the way they guard,what combos they use, their custom names, their custom clothing, everything, and put it into the quest mode in VF4, they did the same with VF5, so everyone you encounter is based on someones real life character, meaning you will find some VERY hard opponents , bizarre and cool clothing choses,and funny/great names for their fighters, not to mention the custom quotes from each person, and theres literally hundreds of fighters littered all over the sega worlds, I'm not sure exactly how much, but theres A LOT, could be in the thousands, they also all have their own win/loss from their real life player, so you will see many veterans with 1400 wins and 599 losses etc.
I personally love the quest mode, its so addictive, and anyone who owns this game would be crazy not to try it out. The Quest mode sets VF5 apart from other fighting games, it gives that longevity to the game that just makes you play and play and play.
The Graphics in Virtua Fighter 5, so far, are the top dog of fighting games, from the sweat gleaming off the characters, from the details up close, its truly amazing, not to mention the environments, holy crap, the last fighting game to really wow me with its environments was Tekken 5, and even today Tekken 5 looks great. Virtua Fighter 5 matches and surpasses any other fighting game in the arena department from what I have seen, the lightning, the colours used here and there , theres a night stage with an amazing dark blue sky, sparkling really, I get distracted sometimes and stare at the backgrounds only to get snapped back to reality when I'm punched in the face.
The sound in VF5 is similar to the sounds used in VF4 ( which were amazing anyway ), even has the same commentator, not in VF5, theres an option to turn on commentary. Two guys comment on each match, during and after, I personally turned it off, but for new players the commentary actually helps, if you lose they gave tips on what the person losing should do, work on defense etc. Its all round nicely done.
Thats the breakdown of the game, now for the faults, and why it doesn't get a 10/10 from me.
The story, Virtua fighter games, hasn't been obvious with the story, the lack of any ending film clips for the fighters when you finish the arcade mode is a let down, they didn't have them in Virtua Fighter 4 aswell, so personally it wasn't such a big problem, but it would have been nice for new VF5 players to understand whats going on, also the lack of any info on the fighters in the booklet adds to the mist of confusion, VF4 has character bios, info, move lists in the booklet, but the VF5 doesn't , but at the start of the booklet, it does tell you whats going on. Vaguely. Around ¼ of the page of info on the story. Thats all really!, if VF5 was clear on what the hell was going on, it would have been perfect, I would love to see a video clip of Goh and Akira fighting it out when you finish the game, or any J6 plots unfolding, hopefully they do something in future VF games, but since the games were made for the Arcade, its understandable, but give console owners a little more!, but thanks for the online mode.
The online mode, started off pretty laggy but it has been stabilized here and there, its great fighting friends and people overseas, Japanese VF5 players are very good, especially the Akira masters, damn near impossible to beat. And this is where the 360 version leaps over the PS3 version.
The best fighting sim so far?, it is to me, and you should experience this for yourself!, especially if your a fighting game fan.
That concludes my review on this gaming masterpiece, thanks for reading ( if you read it all, it is long lol ).
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 02/03/09
Game Release: Virtua Fighter 5 (AU, 10/25/07)
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