When you get past all the boobs and swimsuits, Dead or Alive is actually a pretty serious fighting game series. Dead or Alive 5 was the game that would finally have the world take the series seriously and for the most part it succeeded with that. Now Team Ninja has brought the most updated version of Dead or Alive 5 is on the PS Vita in the form of Dead or Alive 5+.
While this on paper sounds like a good idea since other fighting games such as BlazBlue and even Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 worked well on the Vita, Team Ninja has not had the best track record with the handheld so far. Both Ninja Gaiden Sigma games have been very content heavy, but struggled when it came to the performance side of things.
Dead or Alive 5+ by some miracle blows these issues right out of the gate and never once makes you feel like you are playing an inferior game compared to the PS3/360 versions. The game runs at 60fps and is able to keep the incredible detail found on the console versions even though it is running on the Vita. With this game, it seems as though Team Ninja have stepped up their game hopefully Dead or Alive 5+ is the beginning of the end for this developer's past problems.
Content-wise, DOA5+ offers the same experience on the PS Vita as its bigger brothers, but there are a few extra modes thrown in. Starting off with story mode is a bit of a mixed bag, but it's in there if you're a fan of the story from past games in the series. To put it mildly, the DOA story is not as simple as a Street Fighter and is extremely hard to jump into for newcomers to the series.
This is not always a bad thing, since you will have a story mode that takes you along a journey that will take around 4 hours or so. However, if you don't plan on reading up on the DOA story, you may find yourself a little confused by the long cutscenes. Luckily there is the option to skip these if you are looking for some interesting fights against the computer or just a few trophies to add to your name.
While a deep story is nice for the fans of the DOA universe, the gameplay mechanics are what keep a fighting game alive after the initial launch. There is a reason that people are still playing DOA5 after its launch last September and for a newcomer to the series it is really nice a fresh of breath air to any fan of 3D fighters.
Dead or Alive is a simple four button fighter; you can punch, kick, throw, and guard. It may not seem like you can have that deep of a fighting game system just based on this, but the amount of combos and techniques for each character is well over 100. Thankfully there is a very quick and friendly tutorial for the basic systems to use in the game. There's also an added layer of depth to training, with trials to test out every possible move and combo on each character in the game. As long as you have the time to commit to DOA5, you have no excuse not to learn every nook and cranny of any character you want to learn.The cast of DOA5+ features 19 fighters for you to choose from and these fighters offer a good amount of variety to show that each one owns their spot on the roster. There are all kinds of ninjas, martial arts masters, and even a new Canadian fighter to choose from. While the roster may not seem that large compared to other fighters, it is not about quantity. DOA5 really puts a focus on the substance of each character.
With such a focus on skill in the gameplay of DOA5, it's nice to see little has changed to make the game more mainstream. The biggest change to the game this time is the introduction of interactive stages. Now you will be able to take damage from hitting certain spots around different stages. You can even knock your opponent so hard that you can send them flying to a whole new stage.
Many fighters have tried this before and most end up feeling a bit over powered. However, DOA5 integrates a seamless system that is all about timing your attacks just right. Doing so allows you to execute a punch, kick, or throw that sends your opponent off the first stage onto the next for more damage.
Matches stay fast and fun in DOA5, playing against a computer or human is equally satisfying. Outside of normal 1v1 matches, DOA5+ offers many different sorts of modes to explore. One of the new modes lets you fight in first person similar to Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition. You also control the fight by tapping, swiping, and pulling your opponent. While it is far from offering a deep experience, it is a nice little addition to show off the game (and physics) to your friends.
A feature that is really make or break for any fighting game is the online and DOA5+ is more than prepared to keep you coming back for more. Not only does it let you play online with Vita owners, you can also play against PS3 players with a copy of the game and rarely suffers from lag. If you own both copies of the game, you can even use cross-save to transfer progress between versions wherever you are.
Like previously stated, it is truly amazing how good DOA5+ looks on Vita compared to its console counterpart. The detail in every stage and character models are still there in full force. The characters are the best in series' history and offer some of the best graphics on the Vita as far as fighting games go. The battle damage and even sweat at the end of a match is the cherry on top of this visual cake.
For anyone who is looking to pour a lot of time into one of the Vita's deepest fighting games, DOA5+ will not disappoint. Offering many new modes, training, and multiplayer options aplenty, the DOA community is definitely not going anywhere by the looks of things. Team Ninja has shown that they still want to support this latest fighting game release for a good while longer.
Shy of playing on a fightstick, Dead or Alive 5+ has everything you could want from a portable DOA title. New players and veterans have something to latch onto here and sink their teeth into in terms of content. While the Vita exclusive content is nothing anyone on PS3/360 will lose sleep over not having, Team Ninja have proved a lot of people wrong with DOA5+. Not only did they make DOA into a serious fighting game series again, but proved that they can bring it over to Vita without any sacrifices.
|Deep training modes|
|Online play with the PS3 version|
|Story mode for new players|
|New modes aren't that memorable|
|Turning off the... physics|