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Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate Review

blake_peterson By:
GENRE Action 
M Contains Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Violence

What do these ratings mean?

It's Dead or Alive 5, but more ultimate this time... which means, like, five more characters.

Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate ports the features back to home consoles that improved the original port on PS Vita, particularly the Training mode being separated from the Story mode and dropping the touchy-feely first-person battles. It adds a good deal of existing DLC, a few new characters from Virtua Fighter and Ninja Gaiden, as well a few new environments, and some but not all of the costumes: It looks like you still have to pay for your bathing suits.

Daniel Bischoff's reviews of both the original Dead or Alive 5 and Dead or Alive 5 Plus are a solid indicator of the content of the game. As a more casual gamer when it comes to fighting games, I suppose I can offer the perspective of someone whose fingers stumble frequently mid-combo and only rarely ever pulls off getting in that power attack that's supposed to come at the end.

If you haven't played a DoA game, it's got a relatively light entry level curve for getting started. While the game has a fairly light combo system resulting in dazed opponents who can be heavily clobbered while they're out of it, it's much more invested in its counter system. DoA's counter system involves basic attacks, which can be countered by Holds (guarding or blocking with a direction corresponding to the attack type), which can be countered by Throws (which are in turn countered by attacks), with each counter dealing a decent amount of damage.

In the story mode this really doesn't matter all that much. It's basically a simple way to allow you to see enemy attack types so that you can learn what an attack looks like and figure out the appropriate counter measure. Even then you can pretty much beat the computer opponent most of the time by mashing your various attack buttons and never really worrying about holding or throwing. It becomes much more of an issue in play with real live opponents, where it becomes a quick, tactical chess game of attacking or drawing your opponent into an attack to be able to use the counter.

The online play also has a pretty good matching system, with player rankings helping to make sure you don't end up getting pulverized by much better players or end up with total lightweights. It also offers a new 2-on-2 online tag team mode, allowing players to team up in the same match as they trade off. Other than that, the online offerings are your standard ranked battles.

Anyone who already owns either Dead or Alive 5 or Dead or Alive 5 Plus already knows a lot of this stuff, so why am I repeating it? Because it's probably only worth buying if you don't already own it in one form or another, unless you absolutely must have the few additional characters or environments. However, if you don't already own Dead or Alive 5, this is certainly the best version of the game.
Copy provided by publisher. Review based on PS3 version. Also available on Xbox 360.
Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate
  • Essentially the same game as prior entries
  • New content
  • ...but not very much of it
  • Didn't add the creepy from the last entry
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