Earlier this year I played and reviewed Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown. Although I thought it was the best VF in a long time, it still couldn’t compare to my personal favorite game in the franchise: Virtua Fighter 2. You can imagine how excited I got when Sega announced that they were re-releasing the original version as a downloadable title. 18 years after its release in arcades, Virtua Fighter 2 and I have been reunited and I couldn’t be happier.
For those of you who don’t know, or can’t tell by the title; Virtua Fighter 2 is a one on one fighting game. The original Virtua Fighter blew everyone away when it was released but Virtua Fighter 2 took things to a whole new level. Like the previous game, Virtua Fighter 2’s combat is based on real martial arts. This is NOT a game that you can pick up and play. It will require a lot of time if you want to become half way decent at it. Each character has an insane amount of attacks available to them and learning how these attacks work against all of the characters is crucial.
There are ten characters to choose from and all of them have a distinct feel and fighting style. The controls are as precise as you can get. Countering and then following up with a deadly combo are the keys to victory. To win a fight you really need to get into your opponent’s head and anticipate what they’ll do. The name “Virtua” is really appropriate here. When two skilled opponents square off, it feels like a real martial arts battle. There is no ability to side step and the characters jump too high but other than that, this game’s combat is pretty realistic.
This version of the game is as bare bones as you can get. There’s arcade, versus and online modes. That’s it. There’s no training mode which is really odd. I get that the game is old but come on Sega. No training mode? The online is pretty Spartan itself. You can join a match, and create matches and not much else. Finding people to play online was easy and there was absolutely no lag or anything that would interfere with the flow of a match. For those who are curious, this game does indeed have spectator mode and you can join or create a lobby with a maximum of six people in it. There are trophies in the game and they’re insanely easy to obtain. I was able to get 100% of them in less than half an hour.
Despite being pretty barren on features, Virtua Fighter 2 holds up remarkably for an 18 year old game. The combat is solid and it takes real skill to be good at the game. This was one of the games that paved the way for other 3d fighters and is essential to have for anyone who considers themselves a fan of the genre. Virtua Fighter 2 is the benchmark by which all other 3d fighting games should be judged.
• Graphics hold up nicely after 18 years
• Precise and responsive controls
• Takes real skill to play and master
• Online mode has no lag or connection issues
• Balanced roster
• No training mode
• Lack of extras (movies, soundtrack, galleries ect)
Virtua Fighter 2 was developed and published by Sega. It is available now on Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.