The Dead or Alive franchise is finally making its long time return to console after seven long years. With the franchise appearing only on the Nintendo 3DS during that time, does it still have what it takes to compete with the console-based fighting titles? Is Dead or Alive 5 alive and ready to kick some ass in the ring, or maybe even go a few rounds with the Iron Fist Tournament, or is the series dead on the beach?
Dead Or Alive 5 takes place after the events of Dead or Alive 4. Helena has taken over DOATEC and is trying to fix not only its mistakes from the previous titles but also clear its name. From the beginning you will be introduced to the new characters in the DOA universe Rig, Mila, and some fan favorites from the Virtua Fighter series.
The story will have you switching between multiple characters showing how and what they were up to before the tournament and then it will change to have you trying to stop a much greater evil once and for all. The story as a whole is pretty good considering that it’s a fighting game.It reminded me a lot of Mortal Kombat’s, with its lengthy cuts scenes and decent character stories. The only downside to this is that the story might be confusing to some since you will play as one character until you get to the tournament and then switch to another to show how someone else got there at different time, they would just have you switch to another character randomly and not realize if it takes place right after the events that just happened or before. The story isn’t the best but it’s something that might keep you interested instead of just doing fight after fight.
As you play through the story you will be given bonus challenges that you can complete. By completing these challenges you will get bonus titles that you can apply to your online license. The nice thing about these bonus challenges is that it also teaches you how the combat works and tells you how to pretty much play the game. If completing the challenges is not your thing and you just want to get through the story that’s no problem since they are optional and won’t make you retry for not completing it. The story mode will reward you as you progress by unlocking a few characters as you play through story mode, which is something I kind of missed it fighting titles.
The intense fighting mechanic makes its return and somehow makes its more action packed than the previous titles. Dead Or Alive 5 adds new finishing moves and interactive stages separating it from other fighting games. Your fights will take you from an oil rig that can be caught on fire to a raft floating through a tunnel until it reaches a waterfall that you can then knock your opponent off of. Those are just a couple of the new stages; there are a lot more even more deadly than those that you unlock throughout the game. Finishing moves let you hold down the punch and kick buttons when your life bar glows red to unleash a devastating attack that not only looks cool but also does a crazy amount of damage. This can easily change the tide of battle if used correctly.
Dead Or Alive has always been a fighting game that seems like it has a simple combat mechanic. The truth is it has always been a game that was easy to pick up but hard to master. You can think that you are a complete badass until you play online with someone that knows what they are doing or until you get to the harder difficulties. DOA works on a triangle system that goes like this; Strikes have priority over throws, throws take priority over holds, and holds take priority over strikes. As soon as you master your timing with each and learn how to use them you will be good enough to take down harder opponents. It is simple yet complicated only because of the fact that the game is so fast paced, that sometimes it’s really hard to keep up with it.
I am going to start off by saying Dead Or Alive 5 is one of the best looking fighting games I have ever seen. The way the clothes move and the hair all the way down to the gloves that are hanging on their belt, everything is done with incredible detail. The only thing that is lacking in some detail is a few of the stages, some have elements in them that look really good but once you get near them you can see some bland textures. This is a minor issue and really doesn’t take anything away from the game as it more than makes up for it with the characters details. As you fight though your rounds your character will get covered in dirt and start to sweat. It is nice to see that the dirt doesn’t slowly fade away after a brief period of time and that it stays until you finish the match. It also helps you feel like you’ve just been through hell seeing your favorite characters shirt covered in sweat and to also see beads of sweat run down your characters face.
Even though Dead or Alive 5 is full of sexual themes just like its predecessor, it’s still a great fighting game with lots of replay value. Whether it be clearing modes to unlock secret characters or outfits, or playing online in a variety of modes for beginners or experts. With modes such as training, story, versus, arcade, and many more, you are bound to spend countless hours trying to not only master your favorite character, but also to make your way to master mode which must be unlocked through beating the other difficulties. Oh yeah and before I forget spectator mode is back so you can watch your favorite characters duke it out for hours on end, or you can take pictures and save replays and share them online. Dead or Alive 5 sets a standard for other fighting games to come.
Audio/Visual – 4/5: Great character models and spectacular stage locations with just some minor objects with bland textures in some of the backgrounds.
Gameplay – 4/5: Fun addicting gameplay that’s fast paced. Easy to pick up and kick ass but hard to master. Good story for a fighting game but it is still somewhat forgettable.
Innovation – 4.5/5: The new interactive 3D stages make the game feel like you’re watching a Michael Bay movie, which isn’t a bad thing. Big improvement over the last game.
Value – 4.5/5: With characters, difficulties, and costumes to unlock you will find yourself spending hours trying to unlock everything.
Final Score – 4.5/5