Oh my God. Can you believe it has been 10 years since Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown was released to the public? A full decade!
I remember back in 2010 where there was a petition to get Virtua Fighter 5 R to consoles since it had two additional characters, altered gameplay, and new stage designs. The game brought back Taka-Arashii, who was missing since VF3, and added Jean Kujo, who was the newcomer to the series. I made a video on YouTube to help spread the word on trying to get VF5R localized in the West until I saw a comment that mentioned VF5FS. And there it was, a trailer for the game. I was HYPED!
Months after the trailer was released, SEGA made an April Fools Prank on VF5FS by releasing a trailer of the gameplay that looked similar to Street Fighter IV. It was hilarious, but on the low it would have been pretty sweet to see Akira shoot an Hadouken. Then again, he and Ryu kinda have a similar vibe now that I think about it. Thank you, Project X Zone…
Once the game finally came out in Japanese arcades, we would think that this game would play similar to VF5R, right? WRONG. VF5FS felt like a different game overall. Let me go into further detail on what made VF5FS feel different compared to the previous versions.
First things first, the gameplay felt completely different this time around. When VF5 Vanilla came out, it didn’t change much from VF4 Evolution and Final Tuned, although it included the Clash System in which you can cancel your opponent’s attack with a throw, resetting both players to +0 on frame advantage. That was to encourage a more “moral” style of gameplay according to SEGA. In VF5R, you could block an attack on the side of your opponent.
Like any other fighting game that received updates, you can’t go into the mindset of thinking that it’s the same game. In VF5FS however, some things were brought over from VF5R, however it omitted the Clash System. There was a new bound system for combos, the wall stun was redesigned, characters received new moves (while losing some existing ones) and additional pre-fight and post-fight animations, one more extra costume set, several customization options, and more. The item win animations from VF5R also returned in VF5FS.
The stages from VF5R returned in VF5FS, but once again they were slightly altered based on time of day, and also received new music as well. But if you aren’t a fan of the newer music, you could also select tracks from previous VF games as well.
In the arcades, VF5FS not only had another Knockout Trials mode, but it also included Twitter support. SEGA has been trying to be community-friendly with their game, especially since you had the ability to upload replays to VF.NET and download the videos so that you can use them for YouTube or Facebook.
One year later, SEGA AM2 released Version A for VF5FS, which fixed a couple issues. In addition to that, SEGA announced a worldwide console port for VF5FS for both PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, which was based on Version A1. The PS3 version was released on June 5, 2012, while the 360 version was released one day later. SEGA hosted tournaments in both North America and Europe with the SEGA Cup series, and also made an appearance at EVO 2012 as a side tournament. The final update for VF5FS, Version B, came out on March 25, 2015, and it removed the online features from the game.
While the VF community is smaller compared to Tekken, Soulcalibur, and DOA, they are strong enough to support this game regardless of the numbers it draws in. It continues to appear in tournaments such as the VFR’s Beat-Tribe Cup series, EVO Japan, and many others. Some people, including myself for example, host online sessions for the game on Twitch. We’ll get to that part at the end.
As for the game itself… well VF5FS was re-released through other games, mainly through the Yakuza series. It first appeared on Yakuza 6, then it re-appeared on Judgement and Yakuza: Like a Dragon later on. Those ports are based on Version B, which omits the online play. Prior to that, VF5FS became backwards compatible through Xbox One.
One thing that bothers me to this day is that it has been 10 years later and VF5FS never got a PC port. Of course, you had to play VF5FS through the PC port of Yakuza 6, but the issue is that it doesn’t have online play. It does have a 2-player mode, but you would have to rely on Remote Play in order for it to work.
I feel that VF5FS should get a port on Steam with online play so that players won’t have to rely much on playing it through Xbox 360 or PS3. I think that was a missed opportunity.
If you’re looking for more VF5FS content (or VF overall), I got you covered. Here’s a list:
Even though it has been 10 years since the release, there are people who still play VF5FS to this day, mainly in Japan, Australia, and the United States. We may be the smallest community out there in the FGC compared to others, but we continue to play the game because we love it. I went ahead and left a message on SEGA's 60th Anniversary website pleading them to step back into the fighting game realm once more with VF! You can find that on Page 19 of the website.
Happy 10th Anniversary, Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown. And SEGA, please re-release VF5FS on PC, along with a possible VF HD Collection for the previous games.
Until Then.. Train Up, Fighters!