Download added: 01_vf1elb_tak.jpg (84908 bytes) "El Blaze can still cheese the Very Hard AI by spamming the Kick button."
VF5US didn't really need to exist; when the Sega project that would become this game, which is known as Virtua Fighter eSports in Japan, was first talked about, they said it would be out Japan first, and the rest of the world some unspecified later--years after they had dropped official support for the game in the arcades that had been the series' home for so many years, Sega wanted to capture the Japanese online VF5FS tournament scene that had sprung up and begun to thrive on its own. Ultimate Showdown, the Western release, is kind of a bonus.
Also kind of a bonus is the obligatory included Arcade mode--that's the only single-player mode included this time, aside from Training modes and costume Customization, if you buy the Legendary Pack DLC.
In the previous version, Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown (see entry 1376), there had been another single-player mode or two, but nothing big; the focus even there was clearly on getting you to play the game online. The AI was deeply flawed: while it could seem scary if you tried to play honestly against its aggressive, toned-up offense, it just couldn't defend well, and you could spam simple attacks to overwhelm it even on the highest difficulty level. (That was not possible in the first Virtua Fighter 5--see entry 1224--although that game has its own defensive problem: it can't really defend against throws. : P)
Ultimate Showdown is a painstaking remake of Final Showdown, in an entirely different engine: Sega's Yakuza engine. The clothing looks a lot nicer. The reimagined stages don't quite have the subtle, efficient style and colors of the old ones, but they look nice in kind of a more generic PS4 way. The character redesigned character faces are mostly better; a few look somewhat cracked out, but at least the eyes focus correctly now, avoiding the uncanny valley effect of the old versions.
The gameplay was kept exactly the same. That was mostly with an eye toward multiplayer, probably, but yes, the AI still has the same inability to defend.
Maybe they'll fix it eventually, this time around? Seems really unlikely, but I suppose it's slightly more likely now than when we thought the series was completely dead.
The Legendary Pack DLC includes, among many other things, Virtua Fighter 1-style costumes for the characters--bringing that back from the VF4 console games (see entry 1377 and entry 329)--as well as a single VF1-style stage (Jacky's, I saw someone on the internet say) and, almost best of all, an optional, big, blocky, simple VF1-style game UI to replace the game's overly large and elaborate cel-phone-style UI; it even replaces the huge, flashy animated WIN, etc text before and after a round with just nice big non-flashy legible, VF1-style yellow intertitles. For someone like myself with occasional photosensitivity, this is in the running for the greatest fighting game option ever. : D (Can't get rid of the huge gassy hit sparks they added for sort of the first time in the series' history, ah well.)
I wanted to relive the old days and play a little dress-up with Sarah. = P I meant to do like an hour and of course, even with the current tiny fraction of the customization items that are in the game so far (15% of what was in Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown, maybe?), I still got obsessively sucked into messing around with it for twice that amount of time. ; )
So anyway this is me with Sarah Bryant, checking out this version's Customize mode, making her one costume out of each of the three currently available costume types, A, B, and C, and playing through the Arcade mode on Very Hard with the Type A costume.
I forgot how different Sarah is in FS/US than she is in VF5 (vanilla), which is where I was mostly playing her over the past 11 months! So it took me a while just to find some moves to spam in my stupid "the AI can't defend so just attack it" strategy:
0:00 - start 20:09 - Customize - Type A 48:27 - Customize - Type B 1:02:00 - Customize - Type C 1:10:50 - Very Hard - Type A 1:36:38 - credits 1:40:26 - Type A tweaks & testing 1:50:17 - viewing matches 1:55:14 - Ranking 1:58:19 - wrap-up & what's next!
The colors and details of the items are improved over FS so that's a plus, and the characters' eyes--although the stiffness of the facial animations still makes them look a little zombielike here and there. ; )
The editing window background is a little harder on the eyes than FS's simpler background, and there's no lighting control like there was before. I'd like to see them get that stuff in there.
That Type C blouse (49'12) sure is big and lumpy. I *think* that's what I used for my "Elf" costume in FS -- https://youtu.be/knJxiYdZVa0?list=PLZO3OPzPjIzM56olIuSlxU4Ty4de_qLaA&t=1061 -- but it fit so much better there, and wasn't all rumpled and loose. Eh.
Tweet by Sega's "Virtua Fighter Official" Twitter account: https://twitter.com/vf_official/status/1399980057804697604
'[Hidden Tech] For those who have purchased the DLC, try pressing the OPTIONS button when selecting "Virtua Fighter 2" in the Main Menu ? Settings ? Config ? BGM Settings. This will let you choose music from "Virtua Fighter Kids". Please give it a try!'