Developer: Team Ninja
Publisher: Team Koei America Corp.
Platform: Xbox 360, PS3
ESRB Rating: Mature 17+
Release Date: 9.25.12
Review Copy: Yes
Its been seven years since Dead or Alive 4 and fans all over the world have wondered if Team Ninja would ever come back with another installment in the series. The competitive scene was absolutely raging with titles be it 2D or 3D. These titles began rekindling the flames of their faithful fan base – but where was Dead or Alive 5? The wait is finally over as Team Ninja brings to your remembrance why you are a fighter and continues to define what competitive fighters are truly about.
My DOA love started back with DOA for dreamcast. I remember going at it with my brother all hours of the night battling to see who would be the last man standing. Our bouts where local ones and even still we got into some heated conversations during and after our sessions. Fast forward to DOA5 and what you will find is a multi-threaded narrative which introduces the DOA cast (new and seasoned) as well Virtua Fighter characters like Akira and Sarah Bryant. The characters are more lifelike then ever and each of them possess their one unique personalities. Some of the stories are distant while others connect as the narrative progresses to the end.
Dead or Alive's take on sensual material has been brought into question for many years now and if you look at the female cast, some may argue that they are pushing the boundaries of sensuality. Others would argue that they are showing their appreciation for both genders alike. Whichever side you are on, know and understand that this argument will never cease so long as titles of similar sensuality grades exist. Having said that, the characters look more realistic then Dead or Alive 4 which I currently own as well. As the characters fight they sweat and it affects their clothing. The graphical detail from muscle tone to human like movement is very well done.
One of the newest features in DOA 5 are the power blows which allows you to interact with the stages. The elemental changes are active and depending on where you hit your opponent you can trigger many hazards that will deal great damage. Additionally, every character now has a sidestep evasion move which can actually be a great combo starter if you effectively connect it. DOA 5's fighting system includes two fighting categories – Local (Fight) and Online. The fight menu includes versus (solo and tag), Arcade (solo and tag), Time Attach (solo and Tag) and survival which is a single mode with 7 difficulties levels. Within the same sub-menu is one of the most robust training systems you will find in any fighter out there and should be a standard all across the board.
After you enter your online pass you will have the ability to play folks around the world. Online features simple match (1 on 1, no ranks), Rank Match (1 on 1), and Lobby matches (up to 16 players). In the same sub-menu you'll also find the leaderboards as well as the fighters list you've compiled for occasional throw-downs. Wanna take pictures? That feature can be used in the spectator mode and after you've taken the shots, you can view them from the album. If you'd like to see how your progressing and the amount of emblems you've acquired during the story and fighting modes, check the fight record and missions options.
Because I'm a fighter, I played about 82 matches online and won a few of them. I found matches fairly quickly and I like the fact that the rank of the players are shown just before the matches begin. DOA 5 is a technical game and folks who button mash will only last but for so long. I rematched quite a few of the folks that I played and that was because I wanted more. More of the technical, the frustration, the glory, the “how the heck did you pull that off” moment. DOA 5 built on its predecessor by making the characters very human- like as well as the killer martial arts each member can dish out. Fans of the genre will be glad of the additions and great improvements of this title. From the music, to the graphics to even the relationships revisited and displayed in the story mode - DOA 5 delivers in every single category.
Overall DOA 5 delivers a highly competitive package with a welcoming carpet for beginners to grasp how to play the game to a higher level. The graphical realism it brings to the table is refreshing and the online net code it good. Seven years we've waited and I'll say that Team Ninja delivered a package that we will enjoy for many years to come; until they release the next one.