Tuesday, October 30, 2012

DoaBH Review Edition: Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown (XBLA/PSN)


You might be wondering what took so long to say my undying peace about this one. It has a lot to do with THAT ARTICLE and how I wanted to finish VF5's Quest Mode before delving into Final Showdown but it's been months since I've actually touched Quest Mode in any attempt to finish it but that's how it usually goes for me. Has my fancy one day and then where is it the next. Sooner or later the feel for a game comes back and I'm smart enough to go with the fleeting feeling while I'm in possession of it. Enough about that stuff however. Let's get here for what you came for. Should I have this game as part of my digital collection? The short answer, yes. The complete statement, yes. Long winded explanation why you should...coming right up!

Let us start at a complete base level of that if you aren't already aware of the drought of goodness this series has had on our side water then let me explain. The last time a VF game was released on a console was 5 years ago and that was Virtua Fighter 5 Version C mind you and this is a review of Final Showdown Version A. In contrast the game came out in arcades in July 2006 and has been getting updates in the arcades about every 6-9 months since then to get to the parity where we are now. In the between time fans of the series got together to have multiple petitions signed and inside connects make sure the message was heard that the community for the game wanted more on consoles in places that aren't arcades on the other side of the world. Finally in June 2012 we finally made parity with our Japanese counterparts with the release of this game. And then the big Virtua Fighter dragon lived happily ever after. Or that is how the fable is told anyway.

So now that you understand how important this game is to the #FGC in general I should now explain why you need to play this. Regardless of what you may have heard about this and most of it is true by the way is that this game takes no prisoners in its approach in getting you used to the gameplay flow. Final Showdown is very great because a lot of stuff that used to be hard to do has been "simplified" and I use that word in quotes for the simple reason that while things are easier to execute doesn't mean in any way that the action they perform should be taken any less serious than before and with that should be learned to be executed in the correct manner. Just like the PS2 port of Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution before it is all of its inner workings are right there for you to learn in depth via wonderful tutorials in Dojo Mode and because this is such a case is there's no reason you shouldn't be taking advantage of it because the option to become a better educated player on your own is a couple of button presses and an open mind away.

I do have to say that Final Showdown is a much speedier and fluid affair in comparison to Version C. As I've mentioned before is that so much has changed in that between time is I've had to completely relearn Sarah for this game because she isn't even the same fighter anymore. The approaches to a fight are similar but the tools available for her best offensive pressure have drastically changed and that has had me excited to relearn the game again and a true reason to be open to learning again. This does make me wish that there was a VF5 game similar to Accent Core where you could select different versions from Vanilla, R and FS and just do work. That would be pretty interesting when I really think about it.

What about other stuff? What about it. This game has all the usual bells and whistles you expect from your fighters including that awesome Dojo Mode we spoke about earlier that is a really helpful tool to all from rookies to OG vets to make sure your aptitude is up to snuff before you venture to those harsh and cold offline & online arenas.

The License Challenge is great as well and has some throwbacks to VF4 & Evo's Quest Mode if you make it deep enough in.

As a fighter in 2012 of course the game has DLC in the form of a full slate of customization items for all 19 initial playable characters. Dural is an unlockable character as in the past but has no customization options because what can you really get the cyborg that has access to every move in the game?

Each character's customization pack can be bought individuality for $5 a piece or in 2 bundles for $15 a pop.

Bundle 1 includes Akira Yuki, Sarah Bryant, Kage-maru, Wolf Hawkfield, Lion Rafale, Aoi Umenokouji, Brad Burns, El Blaze and Jean Kujo.

Bundle 2 has Pai & Lau Chan, Jacky Bryant, Jeffry McWild, Shun Di, Lei-Fei, Vanessa Lewis, Goh Hinogami, Eileen and Taka-Arashi.

So now you're left with a bit of a choice in what to do. I'll preface with the fact if you bought each Customization Pack individually it would cost $95. Even with the information given earlier it was worth the mention. Also on the PSN when the game dropped there was a complete edition for $30 which was the game and all the DLC which the 360 hasn't even seen which I'm surprised about even after it was on sale a couple of weeks back. The only reward you get for owning every single customization item is a "Special Sparring" mode which is nothing but a themed Survival Mode with custom characters and when you look at it like that for an extra $30 bucks for a single mode with the true opportunity to customize all of your favorite characters is strictly a you choice. I still haven't bit the bullet in buying the 1 pack I'd actually use for the fact of weighing that if the packs were to ever go on sale I'd probably snatch both up in a heartbeat and not think twice about it and that's where I honestly sit on the issue at the moment.

At the end of the day, Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown is a must own for anybody even remotely interested in playing a fighting game these days. Paying homage to the grandma, grandpa, momma, daddy, aunt, uncle, sister and brother of the 3D fighter is a must. For $15 you're getting one hell of a package but to be completely honest I would've dropped $40 easily on a disc version with the DLC on it and all the stuff that had to be cut to get it ready for digital distribution. This however is better than nothing and after 5 years of being left in the dust I'm glad to have something and the most important thing is that the whole community is on parity and that's what matters. The game's been out for 5 months and if you haven't pulled the trigger then what are you waiting for! This game is one of the best in the business for a reason and if you haven't found out then now's a good as time as any to get familiar!

-Triple Da God

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