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Review: Dead or Alive 5 Plus for Vita

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Title: Dead or Alive 5 Plus
Price: $39.99
System(s): Vita
Release Date: March 19, 2013
Publisher (Developer): Tecmo Koei (Team Ninja)
ESRB Rating: “Mature” for Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes and Violence

The Vita has become a bastion for fighting games, nearly all of them ports of console releases. Most recent is Dead or Alive 5 Plus, Team Ninja’s handheld adaptation of Dead or Alive 5. Fortunately, it’s just as pretty and entertaining as its big sister, though people who pick it up will have to be satisfied with one-on-one encounters with opponents.

dead or alive 5 plus

Let the new DOATEC tournament commence!

DOATEC is reborn, and new CEO Helena Douglas wants to change the company’s image and purpose. She wants to make it respectable. She’s ended the biological weapons program, sending Kasumi after her clone Alpha-152, and called upon Zack to round up competitors. As people begin to gather, there’s an ominous feeling that makes competitors wonder if there’s something darker still going on as people gather to prove their strength.

I have to admit, at first I wasn’t a fan the way in which Dead or Alive 5 Plus is told. I’m accustomed to picking a character, following his or her story, then moving onto the next. However, I have to say I appreciate the way Team Ninja’s organized its tale. It moves from one prominent character to another, with a consultable timeline. Plus, I could always go back and replay any segment later.

dead or alive 5 plus

Dead or Alive 5 Plus is pretty, even when unrealistic.

First off, Dead or Alive 5 Plus begins with everything unlocked. Players don’t have to go through the Story or Arcade mode to earn new characters or stages. Everything is already there. I was pleased to see this, as one of my fighting game pet peeves is having to waste time playing through modes as characters I don’t like just to access the one that I do. Team Ninja eliminates that right at the outset. Character specific costumes still have to be unlocked, which I liked as it still provided an incentive to go through Arcade mode instead of focusing on the Story mode and Online multiplayer.

As far as Dead or Alive 5 Plus‘s gameplay and appearance, I’d say it is practically identical to the PS3 and Xbox 360 installments. The graphics take a minor hit, but I still would say it’s the prettiest 3D fighter on the Vita. I also loved the comprehensive tutorial that eased me into the game, which controls wonderfully. The gameplay modes also don’t disappoint, as I had a Story mode, Arcade mode, Time Attack, Versus and Survival. Unfortunately, only the Story mode has the occasional tag team match. They aren’t supported in the other single or multiplayer modes.

On the plus side, the multiplayer matches that are there work reasonably well. I could pick a ranked or unranked match, sort based on connection strength, region, skill level and whether my opponent was on a Vita or on a Vita or PS3. All 10 matches I participated in proceeded smoothly with no lag. My only complaint is that it took over a minute to actually find a match, even when I used the loosest search terms.

Now, onto Touch Mode. For the first time in the series, players can take on a first person perspective and tap/slash across opponents to deal damage. Frankly, it’s a novelty. I doubt anyone is supposed to take it seriously, considering how effortless it is to win. It’s essentially fan service, so players can get a better look at the more scantily clad characters as they fight. Though, playing through Touch Mode matches made me realize Dead or Alive 5 Plus wasn’t as pretty as I’d thought, as it made me see some character model issues that I passed over during standard matches. Still, it’s there to kill some time when you can’t be bothered to play a full match, like Mortal Kombat‘s Test Your Slice Fruit Ninja parody.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Dead or Alive game review if I didn’t point out Dead or Alive 5 Plus‘s ridiculous extra features and skewed physics. The entire female cast has unnatural proportions that defy gravity. A woman can be standing still, but the girls will still be jumping around. Still, I think the series has reached a point where it is so ridiculous that it ceases to offend. Everyone already knows Dead or Alive is notorious for ridiculous fan-service, from the rampant giggling to the dripping sweat. Besides, as I woman I felt my fanservice needs were being met by characters like Zack, Hayate and Rig and, if the bouncing offended, I could just switch it off on the option. Conversely, people who do want it can crank it up from “Natural” to “DOA,” which gets them shaking like maracas.

dead or alive 5 plus

Dead or Alive 5 Plus is one of the best Vita fighter ports.

I’ve played Vita versions of a lot of fighting games. I’ve taken on Mortal Kombat, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, BlazBlue: Continuum Shift EXTEND and Street Fighter X Tekken and can say that Dead or Alive 5 Plus stands tall among them. It looks fantastic, better than Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter X Tekken and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. It controls perfectly and offers cross-play with PS3 owners. The only real downside I found was the absence of tag matches outside of the Story mode and the time it takes to actually find a match online. Aside from that, Dead or Alive 5 Plus is a very capable fighting game that helps bolster the Vita’s already strong library.

Site [ Dead or Alive 5 Plus]

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