Review: Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate (PS3)

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Title: Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PlayStation Network Download (6.3GB)
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Publisher: Tecmo KOEI
Developer: Team Ninja
Original MSRP: $39.99 (US), €39.99 (EU), £24.99 (UK)
ESRB: M
PEGI: 16
Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate is also available on Xbox 360.
The PlayStation Network Download version was used for this review.

Partial nudity and sexual themes, that’s part of the ESRB description for Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate, which is enough to get any hormonal teenager interested. Some of you may be thinking, hold on I just got a Dead or Alive 5 game a while ago, what’s so special about this one.  Well this is an expanded edition of last year’s game. It has some extras from the Vita and DOA5 Plus versions along with a fan requested feature: two-on-two tag team battles, which should please the online multiplayer community. As well as gameplay tweaks it includes more stages and five characters, two of which are from the Ninja Gaiden universe. Not to mention all the DLC you own already automatically carries over.

There is also a free-to-play version of DOA5 Ultimate released on the PlayStation Store. This cut down version is cleverly titled Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate: Core Fighters. It’s the exact same game except for certain characters and the Story mode are not included but can be bought separately.

DOA5U_groupA_battle cut_momiji vs kasumi DOA5U_GroupA_denger2-150x150 DOA5U_groupA_BGM PLUS_momiji_en

Gameplay:
Where to begin, I guess it would be best to mention this is a culmination of all the DOA5 games in one convenient package. Since PS Nation hasn’t reviewed DOA5 I guess I’ll mention some key parts of this game in case this is your first view into the universe.

The story mode is taken from DOA5 and is more of an excuse to get each character fighting one another. It has cheesy dialogue and some bizarre scenarios but is fun to play. This fighting game has simple button controls, punch, kick, grab, hold and throw, and it’s the combination of those together with directional commands that allow for some large combos and counters. A welcome addition is the extensive tutorials and Combo Challenge mode, which I found really helps novice players, or even to learn another fighter’s moves.

One feature new to DOA5 is the Power Blow, this is a powerful move that lets you set a direction to send your opponent flying. Once the Power Blow hits, aim the camera left or right with the D-pad. Do you try to knock them into a Danger Zone for certain damage, or do you send them off a cliff to try for even more damage – and risk doing none?

Each mode you complete with a character unlocks one of their costumes and seeing as there are 29 different fighters, it’ll take some time. But that isn’t the main goal of this game, it’s mastering your favorite player and challenging friends and random people online. Because of this review I had to venture online and try out the different modes. I’m glad I did, even when I joined a tournament and watched the fights as a spectator, it was inspiring to see the standards you can reach in this game.

DOA5U_groupA_combo_momiji_en DOA5U_GroupA_denger1 DOA5U_GroupA_denger2

Visuals:
Characters in this game are dirty and I love it. Where Mortal Kombat relies on blood and graphic mutilation, DOA5 has a plethora  of attractive fighters all of which get dirty and sweaty during battle, and as you freely move the camera around your victor(s) at the end of the match, you can easily make out dirt and even beads of sweat.

Team Ninja built a brilliant engine which not only makes the characters look detailed and appealing, but has them fighting in such impressive interactive stages I have even found myself putting on spectator mode, just to have the CPU characters battle it out whilst I write this review. Memorable stages include a raft hurtling down a river and a circus full of clowns and tigers which aren’t just for show.

Animation and frame rate is excellent, even when changing characters during a tag battle. Some parts of the scenery are destructible, even some walls, floors, railings and more, which sends the fighters crashing into another part of the stage.

Kokoro-small-doa5ultimateIt is quite visually impressive when you hurl your opponent at some scenery which then explodes causing an elevated train to crash into the stage, or even the smaller things like slamming your foe into some wooden floor boards causing them to splinter and crack.

Now how could I write a review without mentioning the women of Dead or Alive, complete with breast physics and revealing outfits. Some include swimsuits and kinky underwear with matching bunny ears . With the gameplay so fast some may find it hard to get a good look at the attention to detail the developers put into everything, that is, unless you use the camera mode to take some pictures, or even save the replays to watch later.

Audio:
Full English voices have been added along the many grunts and groans for each character. The impact of the punches, kicks and obstacles sound good, especially when you’ve got some good headphones on. While some characters say the occasional comment during a fight, most of the speech in confined to the cut scenes and pre fight intros.

New tracks have been added for Momiji, Rachel, other new characters, and classic DOA2 and DOA3 character tracks have been brought back. None of them are bad but I’m not playing this for the music.

Online/Multiplayer:
Every match I’ve played online has worked brilliantly with lag almost nonexistent. It did take a little while to get into some matches but it was partly because this game isn’t out in my region yet so I had to look further afield for a fight. A wide variety of options allow you to pick the skill level and connection quality when online. The tournament system is very good, and I’m glad they went back to a simpler avatar free lobby as that seemed to affect the match quality.

Now here is the downside, because of the introduction of new moves such as Power Launcher and adjustments to online play, players using Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate and Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate: Core Fighters version will not be able to play with users from other DOA5 games.

DOA5U_GroupB_screenshot_03_JACKY VS CHRISTIE DOA5U_GroupB_screenshot_04_JACKY VS CHRISTIE DOA5U_GroupB_screenshot_05_JACKY&SARAH VS RIG

Conclusion:
Some people who have purchased the lesser version a short time ago might find it hard to justify getting this. But the diehard fans and newcomers should definitely consider this complete improved edition. It’s a brilliant fighting game which I’ll be playing for a long time to come, with all the other fighting games being relegated to storage. For everyone on the fence about this I suggest trying out the free Core Fighters version available to download from the PlayStation Store, it offers a great insight into the game and it’s worth downloading.

As for the partial nudity and sexual themes, I enjoy playing a game which shows off the human form, admittedly it [the game] sways toward the female of the species. It’s only as smutty as your perverted mind makes it. I’ve seen more flesh on Sunday morning TV.

Score: 
8.5

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Written by Chazz Harrington

Chazz Harrington

You can find me on everything: PSN, Twitter, Wii U, Origin, Steam, etc using my universal ID: ChazzH69

Have a nice day.

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