Virtua Fighter 5 Rejuvenation

Crazy Customs.
The latest craze in VF fighting paraphernalia apparently involves cute talking dolls…

With Soulcalibur IV out and currently slashing open gamers’ wallets all over the world, I am in fighting game bliss. However, I can’t rest on SCIV forever, at least, not on the blog. My sights have to go forward, elsewhere, to the next big things. In the fighting genre, there are a lot of titles coming out in the near future. Streetfighter IV is due out on consoles sometime in 2009. Tekken 6, which is assumed to be exclusive to PS3, is still in console announcement limbo- it’s surely coming home, but when? Now that SCIV is out and selling, I’m sure though that Namco-Bandai would want to follow up that success with another fighter to score a nice double-hit combo. I think it’s only a matter of time.

And then there’s Virtua Fighter 5R. I’ve been kinda ignoring this upgrade of VF5 since, well, both of the new characters are guys, and well, it’s arcade-only so far. But man, seeing vids of VF5R online have been slowly making me a believer. The game has tons of new eye candy and more meaty stuff added which gives it indeed that nice parallel to VF4 Evolution. Returning fighter Taka-arashi is BIG, and that sheer bulk has an impact on the game- fighters trying to throw him, for example, have new unique animations to show the difficulty in moving the man-mountain. Of course, the tough-looking Sumo has an arsenal of flattening moves which are sure to impress. Then there’s Jean Kujo, the white-haired Kadaj-lookalike who uses a more brutal form of karate to deal out some serious pain. His moves are pretty slick, and his customizations reflect his ‘evil’ Judgement Six background (one set has him looking like a cyborg).

Aside from the newcomers, the veteran fighters also get makeovers- new moves, new wall throws and attacks, and even new animations for their regular standing or idle stances. Then there are the even crazier stuff- like new item move victory poses (like a karaoke pose for Aoi… pretty cute) and even more wacky customizations. I have to say, Sega AM2 has been very diligent in updating the customs and items- which recently include everything from weapons (non-usable), coneheads, animal masks, weird glowing auras and halos to cute talking dolls. The latest VF5R videos also show off the more popular customizations, which strangely enough seems to be bare feet for the girls and skimpy underwear and loin cloths for the guys…

The opening intro animations for the characters have also evolved from merely just macho posing to a lot more wacky stuff, like Jeffrey (who has some of the funniest scenes) apparently crooning a song or Sarah walking into a wall.

It all just gives me the impression that Sega is really taking care of their arcade crowd, which is great. I just hope they also translate all that cool stuff into an inevitable (hopefully) console version. The original VF5 was pretty bare bones and just pales in comparison in presentation to Soulcalibur IV… hopefully VF5R for console will reflect the current awesomeness of the latest arcade upgrade.

More on the fighting game situation as I get it.

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