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Dead or Alive 5 Plus Review: Definitely Gets an A +

When I played Dead or Alive 5 last year, I was surprised at how much the game had set itself apart from the rest of the franchise.  There weren’t any huge, sweeping changes to the core formula, but the additions that were made really advanced the game.  More fighters,including some from Virtua Fighter family , more finely tuned gameplay (with advanced counters), and fun interactive backgrounds.  Add in the advanced boob physics,and Dead or Alive 5  is a must own for fighting fans.

Now Dead or Alive 5 has made its way to the PlayStation Vita, something that I’m more than pleasantly surprised about.  The last time we’ve seen a good fighter on the Vita was PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, so any chance to dust off my Vita is one that I’ll take.  The game itself hasn’t changed too much, but there are new fighters added and extra modes to entice Vita owners to give Dead or Alive 5 a fair shot.

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While the new and improved boob physics are appreciated, it’s the balance that Dead or Alive 5 Plus manages to achieve that’s impressive.  The Vita controls feel very smooth and precise.  Counters feel natural and not completely luck based, combos happen swiftly with multiple hits.  And the fighters themselves respond quickly and precisely to your commands.  Using Kasumi feels natural, her moves fast and versatile.  Sarah, of Virtua Fighter, is all leg and agility; and Rig a newbie is also quite impressive with his emphasis on kicking.  There are so many fighters to choose from that it’s a joy to bounce around and be fickle until you find the one that suits you best.

Many recent fighting games have featured interactive backgrounds, and Dead or Alive 5 carries on that tradition with its varied and fun environments.  You can throw opponents through walls into new sections of the area,dealing damage and generally making yourself look cool.  You can also use sections of the area to hurt them just because, for example the electrical cables in the wrestling ring.  As you discover what you can interact with, figuring out how to use it against your opponent is not just part of your fun but also part of the strategy.

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Dead or Alive 5 Plus doesn’t stop the awesome there. It also comes with a load of unlockables: more fighters, extra costumes (including fan service), and a lot more. There’s also more modes, though not all of them are stellar. Arcade and Versus are what you’d expect, and it technically features a story mode.  Let’s be honest though, it’s not like DOA is known for its Shakespearean brand of storytelling.  There’s also Touch Fight Plus, but it screams of gimmick as it’s supposed to take advantage of the Vita’s screen.  After you try it once you probably won’t come back to it. The game probably would have been better served without it.

There’s online fighting, which is always highly appreciated and it’s pretty good.  We noticed some lag during cross-platform play with the PS3, but we’re hoping that clears up soon.  It does work pretty well though, presents a relatively smooth gameplay experience.

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Dead or Alive 5 shines with its graphics, it looks a lot like what we see on the console versions.  The actual fighting looks great, with no semblance of struggle on the Vita’s screen.  The music isn’t anything to brag about, it’s the typical fighting game fare.  The intros are cheesy (in a good way), and the voice work is a bit cringy.  So all in all, it everything we’ve come to expect from Dead or Alive.

Dead or Alive 5 Plus is a great addition to the PS Vita’s library, with hours of gameplay to keep you occupied and even coming back for more.  Yes there’s still a lot of sex appeal here, but in many ways Dead or Alive 5 Plus proves that it’s more than just jiggle that will keep you coming back for more.

 (Note: Dead or Alive 5 Plus was reviewed after 15 hours of gameplay and is also available on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.  This copy was purchased by the reviewer)

Dead or Alive 5 Plus may not completely deviate from the traditional DOA formula, but what it does change makes it clear that as a franchise DOA is ready to grow.

Review Overview

Gameplay - 8.5
Graphics - 9
Online Play - 8

8.5

Intuitive Gamplay

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