Touch your favorite fighters in public and feel like a creep.
I was riding the train home from the Game Developers Conference last week and noticed a few people staring at me as I poked and prodded at Kasumi on my Vita's large screen. The fan favorite fighting series Dead or Alive makes the jump to PlayStation Vita in Dead or Alive 5+, but I was still on the fence as to whether this port made necessary improvements or simply colored by numbers in the change to handheld form.
In addition to providing the complete console experience, Team Ninja adds Touch Fighting for fans obsessed with scantily clad brawlers. When I reviewed the PS3 version of the game, I wrote: "If you're a fan of Japanese fighters, you won't find a more core-focused beatdown. The stringent reliance on the formula can be a turn-off, but there's a level of welcome simplicity in walloping your opponent with fists and feet. [Team Ninja has] done little to change the fighting formula or reflect the new wave of successful fighting games."
That's unfortunately still true here. The combos and tactics stay the same, as do the visuals, arenas, characters, and options. That means if you haven't entered the latest DOATEC tournament on console, the only reason you'd do so now is for the touch gameplay and portability.
No one can blame you for buying Dead or Alive 5+ for the portability. Having the entire console experience, online and offline multiplayer, training, and a nearly one-to-one console-to-handheld control scheme on the go is a compelling offer, even more so for the Vita's flagging software lineup. The visuals and effects look crisp and bright on the Vita's screen, but Team Ninja's also learned from past portable releases and made necessary improvements in their latest.
Fighting games rely on speed and smooth frame-rates, and the Vita version maintains DoA5's buttery-smooth presentation. Fans of the Japanese developer can breathe a sigh of relief as frame-rate drops present in the Vita's Ninja Gaiden game don't return here. Having the full experience in the palm of your hand reminds you just how powerful the PlayStation Vita is, even if you're regretting an early adoption.
What's more, the tutorial that originally appeared as objectives in Story Mode is available as a separate entity. Combo trials add to the educational opportunities and owners of both versions can cross-save and cross-play as they please.
But, as stated earlier, you're only going buy DoA5+ for the portable experience or the touch fighting, and if you've already got the console version, then it's pretty much just the touching and now you're a pervert.That said, I expected to feel a little weird touching Tina on the train, but a few rounds in and I was actually having more fun than I thought I would. Watching the crisp visuals react to my inputs, furiously tapping to interrupt an attack or swiping to continue a combo was addicting, despite the distracting eye-candy.
Dead or Alive 5+ succeeds with arresting visuals, expansive console-quality modes, unique touchscreen gameplay, and the reliable replayability of a fighter, all in your pocket. The opportunities for awkward sexual innuendo and self-incriminating details in this review abound, but play DoA5+ for yourself and find a capable, feature-complete fighter with great portable visuals and a few bells and whistles to improve upon the console release.