HIGH Offered an unprecedented level of detail for its time.
LOW The ludicrous maze-like layout of the Yellow Head Building.
WTF The absolutely bonkers left turn Shenmue II takes in its final moments.
Virtua Fighter 5 is a fighting game stripped down to the most basic elements. It's almost as if the developers don't have the slightest interest in attracting new players. I'm sure they're turning a profit; according to the credits, the game is made by a shockingly small number of people, and it has a long life in the remaining arcades, but I can't help but wonder how long a series can last with a static user base.
According to ESRB, this game contains: Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol, Violence
I think Gene is being a little pejorative by hanging that 8.5 on Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution. He labels it "user-nasty," then bemoans the fact that he had to spend time in the training mode—"slogging through command list after command list"—in order to reaquaint himself with the controls.
Even as I took out the 20 dollar bill out of my wallet to purchase this game, I asked myself why I'm bothering paying to play a game I had mastered and even reviewed almost a full year ago. The answer is pretty simple: I really like the game. So much that I'm willing to pay to see the new additions.
According to ESRB, this game contains: Suggestive Themes, Violence
While I didn't grow up in a culture like Ryo's (or Gene's), I have lived in places with many similarities. I can definitely relate to elements in the game that are signatures of non-Western cultures, and appreciate their genuineness. Gene's comment stating "This is a foreign game with foreign concepts" has legitimacy and weight, and it would be wise to keep this in mind before entering the world of Shenmue II.
I grew up in a collectivist society, which stresses community effort and family over the dog-eat-dog individualist philosophy. Both terms are extremely generalized and say little about each culture, but there are subtle things that are the key in determining which is which. I never had much use for directions or street names. Growing up on the small island of Guam, directions were given by indicating landmarks of everyday things, like a tree, blue trimmings on a house or strange looking stones. We had street names, just like they do in Shenmue and its Xbox sequel, but apparently the entire community found that they were more of an inconvenience.
The Virtua Fighter series has always presented itself with a greater sense of dignity and realism than other fighting games that usually take the anime-fantasy theme route, but the latest sequel of the series exposes the hand-to-hand martial arts simulator label to be more hyperbole than substance.
Virtua Fighter 4 is the latest in the series evolution, and it is the deepest, most beautiful and most balanced of the series, and maybe of the entire 3D fighting genre. The game focuses on one-on-one martial arts matches achieving victory by knocking the opponent out cold or out of the ring.