Also On: Xbox 360
Publisher: Tecmo Koei
Developer: Team Ninja
Medium: Blu-ray Disc
Usually when a great game gets a “Super” or “Ultimate” version, it’s usually just one or two added features, maybe a new character or two, but Tecmo is slowly changing that rule. The original DOA 5 was a great fighter, with excellent graphics and solid gameplay. Tecmo upgraded DOA 5 slightly for the PS Vita with DOA 5 Plus, but that was only the beginning. Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate is here, and it is truly an “Ultimate” version worth picking up!
I usually don’t say this, but if you have plain Dead or Alive 5 for Xbox 360 or PS3, it’s time to sell it, trade it, or give it away, as this is the version you need. Your saves and costumes you’ve unlocked carry over from the original so no worries about having to beat the story mode or unlock the costumes again. You also retain all of your titles you’ve unlocked previously, plus Tecmo have added even more titles for you to acquire if you so desire. All of the characters from the original are included each with new costumes to unlock and a variety of new combos to master. Rejoining the cast are the guest Virtua Fighter characters Akira Yuki, Sarah Bryant and Pai Chan, along with the new (and welcome) addition of Jacky Bryant. Joining Jacky are Dead or Alive 4’s Leon, Ninja Gaiden’s Momiji and Rachel, and Hayate’s alter ego Ein from Dead or Alive 3, rounding out our list of newcomers. Everyone is available from the start (including Alpha 152 and Gen-Fu) with no crazy tasks to complete to get them.
Along with new fighters, outfits and combos are new fighting arenas to pummel your opponents in. Sky City Tokyo is a large open area, with a giant statue that can crush you. Desert wasteland features an uneven play field that can change the way you defend, and the Aircraft carrier has all sorts of dangers surround you. Finally, the return of one of my favorite arenas from Dead or Alive 3, The Lost World, where you are fighting on an endless series of high cliffs! There are other tweaks made to the original arenas as well, they almost feel like new areas themselves. Controls feel even tighter and more fine-tuned than the Vita version, with each button press feeling more responsive. I had a much easier time pulling off more difficult combos in this version than I did previously. Even the Power Blow (renamed to Power Launcher) seems easier to pull off, thanks to the fine-tuned controls.
Carried over from the PS Vita Version is the Training Mode, the Legend Difficulty (which is insane) and the Combo Challenge. To make things even better, there are completely new Modes that will definitely keep you busy. Survival Mode is a welcome addition from DOA 4, as is Team Battle mode, where you can stage a 7 on 7 marathon battle. Team Battle has been attempted in previous games in the series, but it is really tuned here and is a blast to play. As one fighter is defeated, the next fighter on the team jumps right into the fray, so there’s no waiting between fights. Tag Battle has been updated as well, with new Tag throws (depending on which characters you team up) and the ability to knock an opponent back, forcing your opponent to Tag. Tag Mode has also been added to the Online Modes of play, which is something that fans around the world demanded since the original DOA 5 was announced. Speaking of online, Jumping into an online battle has never been smoother or more of a joy to play, thanks to a completely rebuilt net code. I experienced no drop outs, lag or slowdown during the many online fights I had. The inclusion of Tag Mode online just makes the whole experience that much sweeter, and is just as smooth as one on one.
The updates don’t end with new characters, arenas and modes. The graphics have also been tweaked with added animations and more special effects. Everything looks cleaner and a bit brighter than the original and Vita versions, with little touches like the amount of sweat on your characters, and cosmetic changes to breakable objects. The sound is just as great was the original, with the added ability to select different music tracks for your character and for selected arenas. You can select your favorite tracks from DOA 5, DOA 4 and DOA 3, so there are a lot of choices to play with.
Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate has raised to bar when it comes to upgraded editions to great games. Everything added only enhances the overall experience and doesn’t overshadow what was already there. Like I stated before, if you already have the original, it’s time to trade up. If you somehow skipped over it, then this is the only version you need to hunt down. There is a rumor that an Arcade version of DOA5U is coming to Japan with one new (yet unnamed) character added. Tecmo may release this update as a free download in the near future, so keep your fingers crossed! Capcom and other companies known for constantly upgrading their games in this manner should really take note, as this is the way to upgrade an already fantastic game. Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate truly is, an Ultimate experience, a must buy!