Virtua Fighter 5 - hands-on

Virtua Fighter 5 is a landmark game. The series has risen to the top of hardcore fighters' lists because of its unparalleled depth, and the PS3 version absolutely destroys the PS2 editions in terms of graphics. This is pure next gen. VF5 is the most realistic game in a series hailed for presenting the most lifelike fighting ever; the detail here makes high definition TVs sizzle.

Though you fight in a relatively small square, the backgrounds sprawl out, giving you something to watch... once you've passed the controller to a friend. You'll be too busy to look around if you're actually playing. This is a game where 15 seconds can stretch into a war if two players dodge and guard - it's that fast.

That's the key of Virtua Fighter, in fact. The characters are so fast, and so well matched that digging deep is the real appeal. It takes effort, but if you spend the time, you'll be rewarded. The downside is that, although it tries, the training mode isn't as handy as it could be at teaching you, leaving you to study on your own.