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Dead or Alive 5 Plus Review
Posted on April 11, 2013 by

For the past few years, the Dead or Alive series has been the laughing stock of fighting games. From the old Xbox commercials that state “She kicks high” to making the women fighters wear scantily clad bikinis and have them play volleyball and other activities. For a guy that doesn’t sound too bad until you realize that the controls and gameplay are horrible.

After a few years and a new leader for Team Ninja, DOA 5 is set to change the minds of gamers that it can be a serious fighter on two fronts, the home consoles and the PS Vita. With a growing library of fighters coming to the Vita, can Dead or Alive 5 Plus stand out from the rest, or will it be forever known as the boob fighter?

I AM A FIGHTER

New Characters, Returning Favorites - It has been quite a while since the last DOA was released and the cast list as grown since then. In DOA5 Plus fan favorites such as Ryu, Tina, Zack, Kasumi, Ayane and others return for a throw down. In addition to the returning cast, there are five new characters to the game, two of which are from the DOA universe. Those two are Mila, a Spanish MMA fighter and Rig, a Canadian oil rig worker who knows Taekwondo. This is the first time in the series that these two traditional sport-centric fighting styles are introduced. Mila has a strong stand up game that looks to be a MMA styled version of Muay Thai Kickboxing and is the only character that can do takedowns and ground game, using different submission moves and ground and pound. Rig’s has an aggressive style of Taekwondo that uses power as well as speed and accuracy. As for the other three characters....

Virtua Fighter Characters Come to Visit - Akira Yuki, Pai Chan, and Sarah Bryant, fighters from the Virtua Fighter series, guest star as playable fighters in DOA5 Plus. Their more realistic fighting styles fit perfectly with the fighting styles of the DOA5 cast, and their movesets easily transfer over to the DOA fighting system.

Has Everything a Fighting Gamer Needs - As I mentioned before, the DOA series has been the butt (or boob?) of fighting games with pro players not taking the game very seriously, just ask O.G. on what he thinks of the series. In order to change the minds of fighting gamers, Team Ninja has added features that players deem essential. DOA5 Plus has a replay mode that lets players watch and save recorded matches, a spectator mode that lets you watch live matches and chat with others watching, and an Online Dojo mode that allows players to practice with each other online. As for online fights, players can organize tournaments for up to 16 players. Team Ninja also revamped their training mode to have options like Command Training, Combo Challenge and the traditional free training. Command Training has players practice the basic commands for each fight while Combo Challenge takes those commands and turns them into combos for the players to try to pull off. These little things will please those who want to take DOA5 seriously.

Simple Enough to Draw in New Comers - In the same breath everything that I just mentioned above also applies to those who are newcomers to the game and to fighters in general. The Command Trailer and Combo Challenge were designed for newcomers in mind. Also having a fighting system that is four buttons makes it easier for new players to pick up the game, while still letting experienced players string high damaging combos. There also an option that displays the move commands on screen during a fight so that new players who haven’t memorized combos and commands yet can view without pausing the game mid-fight.

Exclusive Touch Mode - Much like Street Fighter X Tekken and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, DOA5 Plus has a Touch Mode. There is a difference between those two and this one however. That difference is that the whole fight is experienced in first person. The game will have you turn the Vita vertically and tap/swipe in order to fight.

Not One, but Two Storylines - While not a big deal to serious fighting gamers, casuals seem to think that a story is important to a fighting game. Well casuals, there’s not just one but two stories in DOA5 Plus. One story deals with the resurrection of the Dead or Alive tournament. Helena has taken over her father’s company DOATECH and to show the world that it’s turning a new leaf, she will be hosting a new DOA tournament. Zack is charged to go and find fighters for the tourney. In this section of the game’s story, we see it unfold through the eyes of the fighters that will be taking part in it. It’s also here where the VF characters make cameo appearances. In the second part of the story is a continuation of DOA4 story. Kasumi is on the hunt for Alpha-152 still and receives word that Helena knows something about it. What she doesn’t know is that Helena also contacted Hayate, Ayane, and Ryu Hayabusa about Alpha-152 and the possible connection to an organization called MYST. So the ninjas spend their part of the game trying to find the people who are responsible for Alpha-152 and stop them.

Cross Compatible with PS3 - A feature that is starting to be common place when there is a PS3 and a Vita version of the same game is the two are cross compatible. This is comprised of three types of cross feature: cross play, cross save and cross share. Cross play will let players fight against those who are have the PS3 version of the game and those who have the Vita version. Cross save allows for players to take their saves and transfers them between each console and lets them pick up from where they left off. Cross share lets players who by DLC on one version of the game share it with the other version, so that way the player only has to buy the DLC once.

Ported Perfectly - Having any game try to be 60fps is a lofty goal, to which some are not able to make that goal. With the console version of DOA5, not only was it able to run at 60fps, but also managed to look good without suffering any setbacks. Now trying to get 60fps on a Vita port, that is something that no game has tried to copy. For DOA5 Plus, it was ported over perfectly. The game runs at a very smooth 60fps, even with all the extra action that is going on in the backgrounds. The fighting system as well ported over perfectly with no problems.

Very Detailed for a Portable Version - As I mentioned just now, DOA5 Plus is a perfect port of the console version. One of the features that impressed me with the port is that the character models are very detailed for being a portable version of the game.  You can see the dirt that is accumulated during the fight, as well as drips of sweat on fighters’ faces. If they are wearing loose clothing, the sweat, or water in some levels, will soak through their clothing and you can see it stick to them. These little details are very impressive for the Vita to pull off. 

WHY AM I FIGHTING AGAIN?

Hello? Is anyone online? - With a new fighter, I expected there to be an influx of new players with a mix of those who have the game on the PS3. When I tried to find a match online, it took me at least an hour to find one match. Now this isn’t due to something being wrong with the net code, but rather no one was playing the game. You would think that I would find at least someone playing the PS3 version, right? Nope, I couldn’t even find someone to fight against on the PS3. It took at least a week or so after release for me to get a few matches in.

Why are there two stories again?- Team Ninja is mostly known for creating high octane action sequences and fights. Crafting a story isn’t their strong point however. I mentioned that there were two stories in the game. One of them is the typical gather the fighters for the big tourney, while the other is an action centric find the bad guy and bring him to justice story. The first part of the story, while being very simple and basic, is appropriate for the game. As for the second part, I have no clue as to why this is a part of the game since it’s more suited for an action game. From what I can tell the two stories are supposed to intertwine with each other. But it is done really badly. Team Ninja should have either stuck to one story or have the one story that involves the ninjas as a separate mode. This is a fighting game however so the story is last on minds of players who just want to fight. 

 



 

DOA5 Plus is another welcomed addition the growing library of fighters on the Vita. It is a well-done port that brings the 60fps battles and the fighting system to a portable handheld. It has everything that both pro and newbie players could want; story, accessible fighting system and plenty of options that will help both level up their skills. The visuals for the Vita are really spot-on and detailed, and having it be cross compatible with the PS3 version is a big plus. Team Ninja just needs to either work on their storytelling skill or just focus on the fighting.

Hopefully more people will take to the game, since there is hardly anyone playing on either the Vita or the PS3. Regardless, DOA5 Plus and its PS3 counterpart are fighters that you can be proud to say that you are a fan of and not be ridiculed for only liking the “visuals”.

*This review was based on the PS Vita version of the game with a review code provided by the publisher.*

What's your most anticipated game for March?

Fire Emblem Fates: Revelation
Tom Clancy's The Division
Hitman
EA Sports UFC 2
Senran Kagura: Estival Versus
Samurai Warriors 4 Empires
MLB The Show 16
Pokken Tournament
Killer Instinct Season 3
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