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Dead or Alive 5 Plus Review

See PixlBit's Review Policies

On 04/14/2013 at 03:13 PM by Daniel Iverson

"Plus" may be a stretch, but this port is at least equal to its source.

A strong port of a strong game, DOA5+ is most recommended for fighting game fans who missed it the first time. Although by no means essential for owners of the original, it may be worth re-buying if the portability appeals to you.

Dead or Alive 5 earned my respect with its accessible and fluid combat, healthy challenge, and wealth of single-player content. Following the Plus ports of the first two Ninja Gaidens, DOA5 is Tecmo Koei’s latest re-release to hit the Vita and joins Mortal Kombat and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 as another fighting game port done right for Sony’s handheld.

If you missed DOA5 the first time around, PixlBit’s review can get you up to speed about the fighting mechanics and improvements from past entries of the series. The original version featured a ton of single-player modes, including a groan-worthy but lengthy and sometimes entertaining story mode. It also included several difficulty settings to choose from and a large collection of titles and costumes to unlock.

The transition to Vita sacrifices little by way of content. Almost every mode is included, and a couple new ones such as a combo training mode are added. The only thing missing is tag team (except for a few parts of story mode), but I hardly noticed because of everything else available to entertain me.

Dead or Alive 5 Plus also reproduces the original release’s quality presentation. It maintains graphical integrity particularly well. Backgrounds are slightly less detailed, but the detail cut is smart—mostly things you’d be too focused on fighting to notice unless you were trying. Character models are still high quality; if you played the Vita port of Mortal Kombat, which reduced the character model polygon count enough to be distracting, then you can appreciate how important this is. Performance is equally strong, consistent at (or close to) 60 frames per second with no perceptible differences from the console versions.

For owners of the PlayStation 3 release, Tecmo Koei softens the blow of buying again with cross-platform perks. The PS3 and Vita versions share DLC and unlocked costumes as well as titles earned, while Cross Play allows you to challenge players of either release online. Xbox 360 players don’t get these perks, but it’s understandable because the Vita is a Sony device and something is certainly better than nothing.

Cross Play is welcome because it increases the number of potential opponents, although its usefulness is limited by the fact DOA5 launched for PS3 more than six months ago, and a lot of the online community is already gone. In fact, every opponent I played against was a Vita player. Cross Play’s bigger contribution is probably the new competition now available to remaining PS3 players. Still, the more options the better.

My testing of the online mode found matchmaking to be a little bit slow but still reasonable, a small problem I attributed to the low player base instead of the game itself. Once I got up and running with opponents who wanted to play for a while, matches were impressively smooth. I didn’t experience any dropped connections or noticeable lag.

The new Touch Fight mode, ostensibly a big selling point of the Plus version, is a contrived and underwhelming way for Tecmo Koei to check off touch controls from a list of Vita features. Played in first person with the option of rotating the system for a vertical display, Touch Fight trades buttons for taps, swipes, and pinches. The mechanics are too simple to be challenging, and I managed to win every fight with no concern for strategy. Commands are the same for every character, which homogenizes the roster. If that wasn’t bad enough, Touch Fight restricts you to individual rounds with no ladders to climb or other challenges to complete. It plays like a cheap tablet game and may be slightly entertaining for a couple minutes before you never touch it again (pun intended).

Despite adding little new of value, DOA5+ faithfully reproduces an already solid console experience without forsaking owners of at least one of the console releases. While owning both versions is probably redundant, the advantage of portability may well be a reason to trade up.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.




04/14/2013 at 06:05 PM

The lack of stories with the #bouncing boobies tag on this site disturbs me. -_-

Seriously, though, I was super impressed with the demo. I'll be picking this up one of these days. 


04/15/2013 at 01:08 PM

This is great and all but I want to know if this game has the same Online Pass crap like the console releases. It was bad enough the box had no info of this until you looked at the instruction manual.

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