It has been over a year since the very first Dead or Alive 5 video game had come out to consoles everywhere. Now Tecmo and Team Ninja have released an updated version, entitled Ultimate. But the question had to be asked, would this updated version of DOA 5 have enough new content to satisfy fans of the series, and also justify the double dip from Team Ninja? Well my friend, read on and find out for yourself.
As you start the game, it will give you an option to choose between three different play styles: Pro, Casual and Online Pro. These modes were designed to change the camera settings depending on the mode the player selects, but players will also have the option to change their mode later on to whatever liking they so choose. The first two modes offer a unique experience for new players as well as hardened players of the series, while the final mode gives off an experience made for online experts of the fighting world.
With this new updated DOA 5, the online mode now allows you to have two-on-two matches. It also includes a new “prize fighter” system. This system ranks from Bronze to Platinum and your rank is dependent on the number of continuous wins that are under your belt.
The storyline, for those who never caught on to it, remains the same in this game. Story Mode runs through all the lives of all the DOA characters, and even helps players get accustomed to their unique fighting styles. No two fighters are alike when it comes to their styles. And new to DOA 5, players will have the opportunity to pick their move sets for the fighter of choosing in the new Training mode. This new mode will offer an advantage to the owners of the previous games, as it carries over your save data from previous games so you don’t have to continuously play the story again and again, just to view the movies.
Within Training mode, players are taught all the combos. During this, any button that is pressed during this mode, are automatically displayed on the bottom of the screen. This will help players keep track on what buttons they are pushing and to figure out what they are doing wrong in order to correct themselves to achieve their ultimate combo. This mode also features both a tutorial (for those first time players) and combo challenge components for the experienced fighters. Sadly, the combos are hard to pull off. This is due to the nature of the battle system and how quick paced it is. And if you don’t get the moves correct, you can’t proceed through the tutorial. But do not fear as all is not lost within the game. I found myself learning brand new combos that I would never have thought up playing the previous games before this, but at the same time, are very similar to all the given examples within the tutorial.
As you look further into the menu, you will come across the Extras. Now in DOA 5 Ultimate, it comes with the movies that you have unlocked during your journey through Story Mode, as well as all your victories and defeats videos. I am not kidding you. The game encourages you to lose once in a while, just to unlock a character’s defeated movie. Some hardcore players, who hate to lose, will have to lose at least ONE fight in order to unlock the defeat movies of each character in the game.
And speaking of hardcore players who just hate to lose (like me at times) will be shocked to know that the key to being victorious within game, as with all previous Dead or Alive games, is to master the art of….reversal. While players can turn the difficulty setting down to where you can just button mash to victory without a second thought, it will not fly when playing against online players from around the world. I am still playing and still cannot master reversals in the game.
Another new addition to DOA 5 Ultimate is one to tag mode. As players play through the arcade as a tag team, they will be able to unlock costumes for both characters being used. This is good for players who get tired of using one player to try and unlock every costume in the game, and instead can use two players, cutting the time it takes to unlock every character’s outfits dramatically. But there are some costumes that do require DLC in order to be unlocked. There is also a new roster that adds the following characters into the game: Jacky from Virtua Fighter, Rachel and Momiji from Ninja Gaiden 2 and Ein who is Hayate’s alternate personality from Dead or Alive 2.
Other options players have, is the ability to change the music. DOA 5 Ultimate’s soundtrack contains a wide variety of music from the previous DOA games, including 2, 3 and 4. Players can also change the stage, display of the menu or even the character’s music on a whim.
Overall, in my opinion, I believe that Team Ninja has done an amazing job with making Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate worth the double dip most players would be afraid of. With the additional modes like team play, and a new training mode, allowing players to hone their skills, or get familiar with the controls, Team Ninja did not disappoint. Having additional features makes this game the Dead or Alive 5 it should have been from the beginning.
PlayStation 3 review copy provided by Tecmo and Team Ninja. Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate is currently available on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.