Virtua Fighter 5 is primarily played using a Joystick and three Buttons, Guard, Punch and Kick. The Joystick and Button layout is shown in the image below.
Virtua Fighter 5 utilizes all eight directions of the joystick, and neutral. Graphically, a joystick tap in a particular direction is indicated with a white or un-filled arrow. Textually, use the numbers on a 10-key number pad to indicate direction taps:
In addition to tapping a direction, you may also be required to hold a direction. Graphically, this is indicated with a filled or coloured directional arrow. Textual hold directions are indicated with an underscore suffix, e.g. 6_ means "hold forward".
Virtua Fighter 5 utilises 3 buttons for command input. These buttons are:
- Guard. Push this to guard, cancel your strings, attacks and dashes.
Hold to guard. You can't move while guarding but you can freely stand or crouch while guarding. Standing guard (hold ) blocks high and mid attacks but not low attacks. Crouching guard (hold ) blocks low attacks and causes high attacks to whiff, but is vulnerable to mid attacks. Guarding doesn't have a start-up or recovery time.
Guard Cancelling Strings(top)
You can hit to cancel your strings. For example, El Blaze has a three hit string that is . If you wanted to only do the first two hits, and then follow it with a normal , you could either wait after the first two hits for the string input window to expire, and then press . Or, you could press after the second hit and immediately press afterwards. So the entire input becomes: , , . By inputting this way you ensure that no time is wasted between the second attack expiring, and third attack commencing.
So, once again:
- Three hit string.
- Two hits from the string and then a normal standing .
Guard Cancelling Attacks(top)
You can use to cancel one of your attacks before it hits the opponent. For example, Wolf can cancel his standing kick by hitting . This results in seeing wolf start the kick but then retracting his leg before the kick would hit the opponent. This is useful to psych out opponents.
The VFDC Command Lists detail those attacks that can be cancelled.
Guard Cancelling Dashes(top)
You can use to cancel standing forward dash () and forward crouch dash (). To cancel the dash, just press during the dash animation. You cannot cancel standing back dash () or backward crouch dash ().
You can also use to cancel a run ().
Other Guard Cancels(top)
Pressing is a universal way of cancelling a special stance. For example, Kage can cancel his Juumonji stance by pressing , however he won't be able to instantly guard when he does so. This applies to most character stances.
- Punch. Push this button to punch. Used with various directions for elbows, uppercuts, and various single/double armed attacks. For example, is an elbow for many characters.
- Kick. Push this button to kick. Used with various directions for a variety of kick moves such as sidekicks, low kicks, and kickflips. For example, is a side or middle kick for most characters.
Punch and Guard(top)
- All standing (high) throws and standing throw escapes are performed with a input. Use with different directions to execute and escape different throws. Simply hitting will get a simple throw, usually your character's least damaging throw, whereas throws with more complex inputs such as yield more damage.
To escape a throw enter the last direction of the throw's command plus . So to escape an opponent's throw enter , to escape a throw enter .
Punch and Kick(top)
- Typically used for powerful punch attacks, body attacks, and reversals. Use with various directions to get a variety of powerful punch attacks, such as Jacky's Beat Knuckle () and El Blaze's Shadow Hammer punch attacks.
Some characters such as Pai and Aoi can use with various directions to reverse an incoming strike. For example, Aoi can use to reverse elbows, knees, and other mid attacks.
Kick and Guard(top)
- Powerful kick attack. Used with various directions for a variety of powerful kick moves. For example, many characters can execute a sweep (a low circular kick attack) by hitting and execute a spinning roundhouse (a high circular kick attack) by hitting .
Punch, Kick, and Guard(top)
- Generally used for special movement, stance entry, Offensive Move (OM), and Fall Recovery (Ukemi).
During a Defensive Move ( or ) you can execute an Offensive Move (OM) by hitting .
When being knocked down from an attack, you can instantly recover from the fall by entering the moment you hit the ground. In Japanese, this technique is known as Ukemi. When performing Ukemi, you can either recover in place by entering , or recover with a sideroll with or , which will roll in the direction entered.
is used by many characters to enter various stances. For example, Kage can enter his Shippuujin stance by hitting after certain attacks, such as .
Consider the following examples of commands and how to interpret them:
- Press and then press
- Tap the Joystick forward and press , then press
- Press and together
- Tap the Joystick back , then tap forward and press and together
- Roll the Joystick in a half circle direction from back to forward and press and together. Note that you do not have to return the Joystick to neutral between each direction.
- While holding forward , press . Note that this is different from which means to tap the Joystick forward and press .
All commands are shown with respect to Player 1's orientation. Swap the left and right directions for Player 2.
The Input Buffer(top)
Ordinarily, when you're just standing there and free to move, the instant you press a button, something happens on screen. For example, if you press your character will immediately punch.
But what about times when you're aren't free to move, such as when you're guarding the opponent's attack, or you're recovering from your own attack? What happens to your button presses then? Are they ignored until you're free to move again? This is where the Input Buffer comes in.
During times when you're frozen and unable to move, any buttons you input will get placed into a buffer (or a queue). This is called the input buffer and it lasts for 10 frames.
What this essentially means is that any buttons entered during the last 10 frames of your recovery will get executed the very first frame you're able to move. Let's look at two examples:
Let's say you just guarded an attack which put you into guard stun for a long time. Just before you're about to recover, and are free to move, you press . Now provided you pressed within the Input Buffer, then your character will successfully punch the very frame they recover. By using the Input Buffer this way, you're executing your punch attack as early as possible, with no frames wasted. Consider an example where you first waited, visually verifying that you'd recovered before you input . This ends up wasting valuable frames before your punch even begins to execute.
Now consider the following:
This time, even though the is entered during recovery, it's before the 10 frame input buffer. Since the input is too early, the punch does not get processed when you recover. Have you ever had one of those moments where you swore you pressed an attack button and nothing came out? Usually mid combo, or after guarding your opponent's attack? Chances are, your input was too early!
With knowledge of the input buffer, you can input your commands ahead of time, especially when you're doing something else, such that as soon as you recover, your input will be processed. This can help you speed up your play, and ensure that your commands are executed as fast as possible. More on this in the following sections.
Following on from the Input Buffer, you can use the Guard button to hold your character steady while you buffer commands, then release on the final command to execute it.
An example of this is Akira performing his Super Dashing Elbow (SDE) . If you're standing idle and proceed to enter this command, chances are you'll see Akira twitch forward as you're entering . Depending on how fast or slow your input is, you may even see Akira begin to dash forward since the input is also a forward dash. It is only until you complete the input (...) that Akira will begin to execute his attack.
As shown above, you'll notice that you're actually wasting time while you input the command. Not only that, but from an idle situation, your twitching/dashing animation may even alert your opponent that something is coming, possibly eliminating the element of surprise. So a 14 frame attack, could potentially take 21 frames (as shown above) or more to actually execute if you count from the time you start to see Akira move.
By using Guard Buffering you can hold Akira steady and unleash the SDE from a standing start.
To guard buffer Akira's SDE: while holding , enter the , then release and press . The benefit this has is that you're guarding for most of the input (which may protect you from any quick attacks!) as well as disguising the fact that a move is about to be unleashed! By the time your opponent sees you move, the attack is already in execution.
The same concept holds true for buffering commands while you're recovering from something. Let's say as Akira, you wish to perform the following combo: > .
Notice that the Double Palm starts executing in the fastest time possible, which is as soon as the SDE has finished recovering. Also notice that the initial motion for the double palm is earlier than 10 frames before the SDE recovery ends. This is fine, because there are less than 10 frames between each input of the double palm, and the final input is within 10 frames of the end of recovery.
If you wait until the SDE finishes recovering before you start to enter the Double Palm, you'll be wasting valuable frames with your input, and risk the Double Palm missing altogether and causing the combo to fail.
You can cancel a string of commands being buffered by entering a into the sequence. For example, if Pai entered , she'll get her triple punch combo, followed by her . This is the fastest way of combining two separate strings/attacks that would otherwise combine into the one combo, in this case, Pai's .