Much like the Winning Eleven series, there are two ways to play Virtua Fighter games. There’s the “casual” post-bar, fight-it-out-with-a-friend kind of way, and then there’s the slavish, almost scientific approach - fueled by the sort of devotion that’s made the series so hugely popular in Japanese arcades.
For those who prefer option one, Virtua Fighter 5 won’t disappoint. On the surface, it’s definitely a next-gen game, with hyper-detailed looks not so different from the stunning Fight Night Round 3. Traditionally, there’s always been a step down from the quality of visuals seen on proper, expensive arcade machines and game consoles - but then that’s why gamers pay to play the games in the arcades, even though they know they’ll be able to take them home months later.
But this time, Sega reckons it might have squeezed a little more from next-gen power reserves than it managed even with the mighty arcade machine. Take a look for yourself. Sweat beads are uncomfortably realistic (although the fighters sport a sheen that makes them look a little plasticky at the moment, almost like the game is populated with action figures), arenas are the sort of vibrant distractions which put you in danger of losing your concentration mid-fight, and everything hurtles around frighteningly smoothly. Seeing the two versions running side by side, we’d rather ogle the console versions.