Virtua Fighter 5 - first look

The Dojo mode allows you train your character - you can learn moves off of a list (which has been around since VF4 on the PS2). But you can also set up custom training situations against a computer player. The training mode is being improved for the 360 version, allowing you to tweak the CPU's foot position and counter attacks, as well as what direction an opponent recovers from being knocked down - and what direction the foe tries to grab you with a throw, so you can learn how to escape from all angles. These are essential building blocks of high-level play, so the 360 version should be definitive version for gamers who want to become masters of the art of Virtua Fighter 5.

Of course, the same array of 17 playable characters that made the PS3 version, including newcomers El Blaze and Eileen, will be available in the 360 version. Each of the characters in VF5 is unique and complex, with a wide array of moves and strategies. Many of the newer characters are a great deal of fun for beginners, as well, however - Eileen's monkey-style kung fu and El Blaze's lucha libre wrestling are good examples. According to AM2's Tohru Murayama, "If I had to express the game’s philosophy in a word I’d have to say 'game balance.'" No fighter can match VF for its singular attention to every detail of play - so much so that the game is viewed almost like a sport in Japan. That detail is being painstakingly translated to the 360 as you read this.

All expectations we have - after seeing the performance of the 360 version, which absolutely runs as well and looks at least as good as the PS3 version - is that VF5 on the 360 will be the fighting game of choice for the system for the foreseeable future. It simply is so deep and enjoyable in arcades and on PS3 that little can go wrong now that performance has been sorted out.  What we saw in Japan ran beautifully. We have questions, of course, about what content will spice up the 360 release and make it more worthy than the PS3 version, but those will have to wait for now.

If you missed it, don't forget to check out our EXCLUSIVE video interview with VF5's developers or take a tour of the most popular arcade for VF5 in Tokyo - click here!


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