As the only fighter in the original 33 games lined up for Sony's PlayStation 3 launch in the UK, you're either going to pick this or pick another genre. So what should you do? We get fighting to find out.



On the surface not much as changed to the fighting game from previous versions.

The graphics have, as you would expect, improved and there are the addition of two further characters into the mix - El Blaze and Eileen, complete with new fighting techniques to master for the die-hard fans.

The gameplay however still revolves around the combat arena with interaction of scenery staying to a bear minimum. You might be able to smash floor tiles as you bodyslam an opponent into the floor however you won't be able to pick up a nearby rock and crack it over their head.

Utlilising the power of Sony's Cell processor chip, although not as much as some of the in-house developed Sony titles, Sega has even gone as far as offering some arenas partly submerged in water or covered in snow in the foreground to the luscious vista backdrops.

Although graphically these look very tasty indeed, the water especially, disappointingly they don't have any affect on how your characters react. If you are going to add elements like these we want them to be interactive.

The game itself is broken down into a number of areas; Arcade, Vs, Dojo and Quest.

The arcade is a replica of the Arcade version of Virtua Fighter 5 and will certainly save you wasting pound coins in a dingy arcade. The Vs mode is so you can battle it out against a mate after the pub and Dojo allows you to practice all those moves - in some cases over 150 different per character.

The main crux of the game however is to be found in the Quest mode, which based on a similar experience to Virtua Tennis sees you travel around a virtual world fighting different opponents and earning cash to buy accessories like different clothes or new players.

However with no online play (that's coming with the Xbox 360 version in the Summer) the virtual stats that are posted are sort of meaningless.

None the less it will still take up a good chunk of your time.

Verdict

What we liked about Virtua Fighter 5 the most is the ease it was to get into the game, but with the constant knowledge that unless you devote your life to it, you'll never quite master it.



For the after-the-pub gamer there is plenty of button slapping available that will get you through the first couple of levels before the heat is turned up, but then for the connoisseur there is still the chance to learn the real martial arts moves available.

If you are a fighting fan and an owner of a brand new PlayStation 3 then this is a no brainer, however see this as an upgrade rather than a whole new gaming experience.