Virtua Fighter 5 - hands-on

As much as we love new games, there's something so awesome about knowing the sequel to one of your favorite series is coming to a new system. Virtua Fighter has been the absolute deepest fighting game series around for years, and it's also one of the most enjoyable to play. The latest arcade version - which you're not going to get to play unless you come to Japan or live near one of those rare arcades which still has real games - is a marvel of beautiful graphics and perfect gameplay.

The PS3 version, judging from Sega's booth at the show, will not disappoint in any way.

Without sounding like too much of a pretentious twit, it's enough to say that the game is a symphony of punching and kicking. The characters are beautifully detailed and their moves all look, well, perfect. In the latest version, the characters look even better than in the past - not just because of the increased power of the PS3 system bringing more detail, but also because work has obviously been put into smoothing out their animation. Two new characters join the fight: Mexican lucha libre wrestler El Blaze and Eileen, a young girl who uses monkey-style kung fu. El Blaze, in particular, is a lot of fun to play - his wrestling moves are both stylish and powerful.

The version at the show was a simple arcade mode that allowed us to play several rounds against the computer before the demo ended. The game was indistinguishable from the currently released version we played earlier at the week in a Tokyo arcade - the beautiful, detailed backgrounds and the high-speed gameplay were all fully intact. But, by the same token, we saw no hint of any new modes that might be tucked into the home version of the game. A character customization mode is planned, however.

Even so, this game stands as one of the most appealing PS3 games in the works, simply because the arcade version is synonymous with fighting quality. Hopefully Sega works on including similar quest features to VF4 on PS2, and manages to hook the home version up with VFNet, its arcade ranking system.