Not surprisingly, the news is less gratifying: Virtua Fighter is back! The production of the legendary AM2 has teamed up with RGG Studio to return to the arena looking better than ever thanks to the Dragon Engine from the Yakuza series. But can it compete with other greats of the genre? We see it in the Virtua Fighter 5: Ultimate Showdown review.
It may not seem like it for more contemporary players of the genre due to its long absence, but Virtua Fighter is an institution of the three-dimensional fight and the video game industry itself. With Yu suzuki and the legendary AM2 Behind its main deliveries, it was in many of its iterations a new playable and technological culmination in arcades and consoles of the time. Its significance and success may not have had the continuity of other rival sagas such as Street Fighter or Tekken, but everyone involved in the developments of the aforementioned sagas agree on one thing: the total and absolute respect for Virtua Fighter and its creators.
What has been the reason for the disappearance of the saga? It could have been many things: the last installment of the saga released in physical format was in 2007, months before the rebirth of the fighting genre with Street Fighter 4; Final Showdown had a humble launch on digital platforms on PS3 and Xbox 360, but beyond its playable purity it did not provide a product with enough capabilities to dazzle players with the magic of Virtua Fighter. Since then, absolute silence: Akira Yuki, Jackie, Sarah and Pai had to rest until the miracle has occurred in 2021: a return of the franchise exclusively for PlayStation 4 under the new tagline of Ultimate Showdown.
But does it live up to the myth? Will it be able to dazzle new and old users? It has the weapons for it, but makes decisions that will complicate access to players at a time that would have been ideal for the interests of virtual fighters and Sega itself. However, the magic is still there.
The Ultimate Virtua Fighter 5
The first thing that comes to mind is evident: the visual change of the game is noticeable in each and every section of the software. Starting with more detailed scenarios with more modern lighting and modeled fighters that take full advantage of the benefits of the Dragon Engine of RGG Studio. Needless to say, much of the credit for the software’s appearance lies more in the work done by AM2 in the mid-2000s than the artifacts of the new engine, but The differences are obvious. To highlight the different effects of the fighters when battling in sand, snow or wet places, with a spectacular reaction to the scenarios by the actions of the different martial artists.
Pampering players who love solo gaming would have been a good ideaBeyond the visual, what exactly does Ultimate Showdown offer? It is, basically, a revision of the already known Final Showdown, including the new characters that debuted in said installment, Taka Arashi and Jean Kujo. For the rest, there are no great novelties in the content: those who enjoy the mere competitive will be able to set fire to the online battles, but lovers of single-player content find the same problem as in previous versions of the work, and it is that Virtua Fighter has never been characterized as a saga that pampered its domestic versions for the loneliest players. Sega may have wasted with this decision a golden opportunity to make a dent in a community that did not know a mythical saga.
What will you find when you get hold of the software? 19 fighters from all the games in the saga, more than a dozen scenarios with sizes and limits of all kinds and a character editing mode that will allow you to dress your protagonists to your liking although, yes, in a somewhat limited way for the times that run. It has a training mode without great fanfare and arcade mode is limited to beating the clock to face AI-controlled enemies awaiting the great battle against Dural. It seems unlikely that Sega will add new content to the software in the near future, so it is very certain that Ultimate Showdown will remain as it is will be successful among gamers of PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5.
The most obvious mistake of the re-release of Virtua Fighter 5: Ultimate Showdown cannot be ignored: not betting on the Rollback Netcode as many other games begin to do in current times. Sega’s decision, in addition to being inconsistent, is supported by absurd statements in which they guarantee that the conventional Netcode is sufficient to enjoy the Virtua Fighter experience. The affirmation it’s more than debatable given the playable and technical demands of a franchise that has always been characterized by excellence when it comes to executing movements and responding to rivals in milliseconds. What is inconsistent in these times is that, assuming a similar effort to bet on one or the other Netcode bet on a worse one.
A productive partnership with PlayStation
What benefits the Virtua Fighter 5 Ultimate Showdown the most, undoubtedly, is that it is available to all gamers of Playstation plus Y PlayStation Now. If you are a subscriber to either of the two services, you have it at the push of a button to enjoy and learn about one of the greatest sagas created in the genre of three-dimensional fighting. The greatness of Virtua Fighter is that it has never sold itself to fighting trends and neither has it done so with this installment; while other sagas were encouraged to take a step back to accommodate new players Sega Y AM2 He kept adding elements to add more excellence to his proposal no matter how complicated or inaccessible it was. It is another path seen by today’s standards, but it is very respectable as well.
That is why I would love for Virtua Fighter 5 a hole would be made among current games. It is so pure and so different from everything we have today that I am sure that we would all win with more variety and proposals. But it is inevitable to think that the desire that many of us have to promote the franchise has not been accompanied by risky decisions on the part of Sega, that it seems that this proposal responds more to a random shot to try to sneak into a fashionable genre than a true one attempt to rescue a franchise that, once, was one of its largest brands in its catalog. At the moment we all expect a possible return in the future, and that includes industry legends from the category of Katsuhiro harada, father of the Tekken saga.
It has been many years of absence, but his return shows that many of us still had a fondness for Sega virtual fighters. The fighting genre has changed a lot since the premiere of Street Fighter IV, and what once seemed like a wasteland today is a genre that even Riot Games is betting on. Will it be Virtua Fighter 5: Ultimate Showdown the beginning of something bigger? It seems difficult, but we would like nothing more.