With the exception of a few new characters and fighting styles, Virtua Fighter 5
doesn't bring a whole lot of new features to the table.
The new characters include Eileen and El Blaze who use Monkey Kung Fu and Mexican Wrestling respectfully. These two new fighters round out the game's 17 total characters with returning characters like Lion, Pai, Wolf Halkfield and of course Akira all appearing in glorious 720p detail.
The gameplay modes include Arcade, Vs, Quest, Dojo and VF.TV. The first few are obvious to anyone who has played a fighter or two. Arcade has you going up against a series of computer-controlled opponents in order to get to a big boss and Versus mode lets you try your skills against a local human opponent (notice I said local, there is no online component to this game so you can't knock around against someone who isn't sitting right next to you on the couch).
Quest mode is the game's story and lets you collect money for your won matches and unlock various characters and clothing. This mode, like in the previous titles, takes you through a series of smaller tournaments in order to customize your personal character and increase his or her rank and skill so that you can be invited to the Fifth World Fighting Tournament.
The Dojo is your training arena. Here you will practice the dozen or so combos each character can perform. Unfortunately, this is also an area where Virtua Fighter 5 is lacking. Because of the control scheme of the series (see Game Mechanics), it was hard for me to get the timing and button combos down well enough to do well in the game early on. I spent a lot of time in this mode at first and would have loved explanations and visual aids to help me learn these combos. Whether you are a new comer to the series or a veteran, I would definitely recommend spending some time in this mode with the manual opened up to the characters' various moves.
The last mode, VF.TV, lets you replay matches and stick A.I. characters in what are essentially zero-player matches.
As much as I enjoyed Virtua Fighter 5, one of the bigger hassles with the game were the excessive load times. Not only were they lengthy, they occurred all too frequently and really hindered the flow and feel of the overall game.