|VF5 was one of the main reasons I got a PS3. I'd really liked VF4 (see entry 329) and the HD graphics for 5 looked super. As an early game in the console's life, it did have a few issues, such as a really clunky, press-button-to-confirm-over-and-over startup sequence, a 2 GB data install (optional, but speeds up match loading quite a bit), and no internet multiplayer (something that I think was addressed for the later Xbox version, but internet multiplayer in fighting games isn't something I've wanted to get into anyway, so I didn't care about that).|
There are the obligatory couple of new fighters (a little monkey-style Korean girl, and a little masked luchadore...eh), but otherwise the game plays quite a bit like 4, which isn't a bad thing. It might be a little faster...hm, I can't remember now.
The main thing is Quest mode, where as in 4 you fight an endless succession of opponents at the arcade of your choice. Opponents are generally grouped by difficulty, so you can choose to go up against arcade opponents as tough or as easy as you like. Winning fights can earn you items to customize your character, again just like in the last game. The AI is pretty convincing, and seems to adapt and change strategies if you try repeating the same move, at least at higher levels. I'm not great at the game, and can easily come up against high rank AI that will just punish me brutally, if I pick the wrong arcade, or get ambitious and try a tournament (I kinda wish there were more scrub tournaments, come to think of it--they all seem to be pretty tough).
Well, that's what you do. Pretty much just like 4: Evo, so again the main difference is the gorgeous graphics here. Oh, that was the other hiccup: VF5 will run in 1080p, but to get it there you have to disable the lower resolutions in the PS3's graphic options. The back of the case only lists 720p, so I dunno, maybe they thought 1080 might have trouble, and just hid it. There's some aliaising evident in 720, but in 1080 it looks great, with gorgeous shiny, highly detailed arenas and fighters. The AI opponents are kitted out with different item styles, and it's fun to see how they all look as you fight through Quest mode.
The main thing is how it fights, and the answer is: good! There are few 3D fighting games that feel as well-rounded and just...I don't know...tough as the recent VFs have felt. Beating a high rank AI opponent really does take patience, strategy, and quick reflexes; it doesn't ever feel (at least to an amateur like me) like you're just facing a programmed pattern. It's genuinely satisfying to fight the AI, and it's so nice being able to select your range of opponents! Sure, you won't rank up very fast if you're fighting easier guys, but there's so much less frustration, and you can just jump in and have a fun time, unlike just about every other fighting game where you know the AI is going to get way harder each fight, until you have to face down some ridiculously overpowered "boss." Bleh! Go VF Quest mode!