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Dead or Alive 5 Review

With Dead or Alive 4 being an early release game for Xbox 360, the sequel has been a long time coming, especially considering the slightly creepy Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 we got in-between. Finally, though, Team Ninja have released Dead or Alive 5 across multi platforms, giving us a chance to test out its slightly more realistic fighter.

The Dead or Alive games have always set themselves apart from many other fighters as they are based more on quick counters and swift combos rather than spewing projectiles and gravity defying moves, that said there are still plenty of more outrageous moves out there to attempt. As with the previous titles, Dead or Alive 5 has quite an original take on control with it supporting only two direct action buttons, a punch and a kick; with directional inputs then changing the specific style of attack; mix these in with throws and blocks and you can create all sorts of brutal combos. Newcomers will get by with some button bashing but to make any headway online it is crucial to learn about the many counters, rolls and the Critical System plus, and all new to the Dead or Alive games, the ability to sidestep.

Though simpler than many fighters on the control side, when it comes to variety there is an abundance of fighting styles to not only master, but also learn how to defend against with kickboxing; wrestling; taekwondo and drunken style, all present and correct. There is also not a character that plays the same, making practice essential before you can even dream of getting a win online.

Dead or Alive 5 has the usual strong selection of modes for solo, local versus and online fights. Time attack, survival and a solid training mode complement the long story mode. The story has always been a little confusing and nonsensical in previous Dead or Alive outings, what with so many characters in the previous games; some being connected to one another, others being just downright weird. 

This time around the story mode provides us with one long story thread, allowing you to control different set characters. Based two years after Dead or Alive 4 and the destruction of the Tri-Tower, the ass kicking opera singer Helena has taken control of DOATEC and is now looking to prove it is no longer the ruthless corporation it once was by restarting the Dead or Alive Tournament and calling in the help of DJ and fighter Zack to travel the world recruiting potential contenders. Running alongside this story we also have Kasumi?s clone and DOATEC's ultimate weapon Alpha still at large, leaving Kasumi on yet another quest to find it, her sister Ayane hot on her heels as she still believes she betrayed her clan. The story also introduces each of the characters with its own unique brand of comedy, including favourites like Bass, Bayman and Christie plus newcomers Rig and Mila and also a few familiar faces from Virtua Fighter games like Akira. With each fight there are also bonus missions that acts almost like a tutorial, tasking you with pulling of specific moves as you battle solo, in tag teams or even one against two until you reach the finals of the Dead or Alive Tournament.

Dead or Alive 5 has been developed with accessibility as a priority, allowing beginners to get to grips with the controls and moves, thanks to its offline training modes and an online Dojo which allows you to train with others. For the pro fighters there is also a statistics system called the Fight Screen. Now I would be lying if I said I understood all of what was going on, but what you get is real time telemetry information of critical damage and damage output plus a record of how many frames used in a specific move. How to use this information I really do not know but pro fighters should be able to use these stats to improve their game even more.

As with most fighters now there is an element of destruction when it comes to the fighting arenas, more so with Dead or Alive 5 with many of the levels having Danger Zones which will boost damage taken if you throw or punch an enemy against it. Most of the arenas also have multi-tiered levels, unlocked if you hurl a contender at the right part of the arena, with the game then moving to a brief cut scene - showing clips such as the fighter falling down some stairs or getting knocked off a crane, which results in lots of damage and a new area to fight in.

With so many decent fighting games out there at the moment Dead or Alive 5 may struggle with its smaller roster of not-so-familiar characters, but given a chance this will be the fighting game of choice as it allows for some fast and brutal fights across some of the best designed arenas to date.

Words by Ash Buchanan.

Review Policy (Version tested: PS3)

Edited On 04 Oct, 2012

( 11 )
Anonymous user's avatar
LLOYD 4 years ago
I'm so tempted to get this!! but i'm not sure even after the review..
Shnoorum's avatar
I'd say if you're a fan of the older ones you'll probably like this one. Only gripes I've had with it is the lack of character arcade endings and the rather silly story mode. Otherwise it's kept me pretty busy
Shnoorum 4 years ago
Dead's avatar
Dead 4 years ago
I'll probably pick it up at some point, DoA is always good for a laugh, not really a priority at the moment though.
hallben's avatar
hallben 4 years ago
Certainly sounds like an excellent fighting game. I have always enjoyed the goofy presentation of this franchise. Something to pick up when its quiet.
Shnoorum's avatar
They've really embraced the goof in this one. While Zack has always been a bit of a weird one, they've brought him out even further this time round
Shnoorum 4 years ago
Nijogi's avatar
Nijogi 4 years ago
It sounds good but DoA hasn't been on the PS format for ages, I would have to invest a lot of time to learn the mechanics.
Shnoorum's avatar
Shnoorum 4 years ago
I really wasn't sure of the game when I bought it but it's grown on me something fierce. 100%'d the story mode, done most the character trainings, and unlocked a good 5 - 6 costumes aswell. If you're a fan of DOA games I'd definately say go for it
Bindiana's avatar
Bindiana 4 years ago
Got my copy in the post today looking forward to playing it this weekend always thought DOA was a good pick up and play fighter you dont need to be able to memorize 10 button combos you can just pick it up and you can get somewhere with it.
scourge's avatar
scourge 4 years ago
gave it a quick go around my bro's house the other day, really enjoyed it I'll probably pick this up when it's on sale though too many other games coming out.
Datastatic's avatar
Datastatic 4 years ago
This is great for someone like me who isn't the best at fighting games. Only probs I have had with it is finding an online match for myself to get beaten in. There are a couple of annoying loading times IN GAME but you can reduce these by installing. Nice phone case as well if you are still dishing them out.
Shnoorum's avatar
Yeah, was trying last night to find games. Found 2 really laggy matches. It was about 12am though so it may have been too late
Shnoorum 4 years ago

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