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Before you launch into this preview, don't miss our EXCLUSIVE developer video interview or our tour of the most competitive Virtua Fighter 5 arcade in Tokyo - click here. Get informed!
By now, PlayStation 3 gamers have had their hands on the superb Virtua Fighter 5 for over two months - and we can attest, it's a fantastic fighter on that platform. Guess what? The first glimpses we've had of the 360 version, thanks to a trip to developer AM2's headquarters in Tokyo, suggest that the game is going to be just as good - if not better - on the Xbox 360.
Unfortunately, the tight-lipped developers aren't ready to release details on most of the enhancements. As we expected, true online play on Xbox Live is off the table, since VF5 requires one-sixtieth of a second precision to deliver the fastest and most balanced fighting gameplay known to man. Current network performance simply cannot live up to that. We do know that the game will be receiving some tweaks over the PS3 version, including better anti-aliasing - to make the graphics look smoother. The game will also get analog control - the arcade version, of course, doesn't use it, but the unresponsive Xbox 360 D-pad makes it a must.
The same basic modes that appeared in the PS3 release are duplicated in the 360 version, with tweaks. Arcade mode, at its core, is the same as any other fighter: battles against computer opponents. Versus mode, well, that's obvious. Quest mode allows you to fight opponents across a fictional array of Japanese arcades - it's the best mode for single-player enjoyment in the PS3 version, as there's an actual sense of progression as you fight more enemies and rise in ranks and skill. You can get new equipment for your character that affects his or her appearance, allowing you to customize your look. The one complaint we had with the PS3 version - that the computer players weren't very realistic or fun to fight against - is being overhauled for the Xbox 360 release with much improved artificial intelligence based on newer arcade data.