Author: Heath Flor
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Wednesday, September 26th, 2012
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Games/Reviews/dead_or_alive_5/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.
Not counting the PSP game released two years ago, it's been well over a decade since Sony fans have seen a Dead or Alive title on their favorite home console. Tecmo Koei and Team NINJA have teamed up to remedy that situation by delivering the latest in the long running series, conveniently titled Dead or Alive 5.
Dead or Alive titles not only showcase bad ass 3D arcade-style fighting in a tournament almost as silly as Mortal Kombat, but also features well endowed women and skimpy outfits which has all but defined the action series. Fans will be happy to know little has changed in the new iteration.
There's so much cheese in the story, I had to go out and buy a box of wine and crackers to go with it. I know it's a bit much to ask for a solid plot in an arcade fighting game, but I still enjoy a good story now and again. Instead I found myself groaning as each individual chapter of the story became more wildly unbelievable than the last.
In reality, the story is nothing more than a smoke screen for a tutorial mode, which gently takes you through the various moves available. From kicks and punches to high strikes and throws, you will gradually move your way up the set list until you have a firm grasp of the controls.
It's fairly obvious from the start this game is made to give a helping hand to players who have very little experience with fighting games in general, let alone the Dead or Alive series. It's great Team NINJA is trying to garner more fans with lower skill sets, but for folks who live and breathe fighting games it's going to feel oversimplified and become stale rather quickly.
Dead or Alive 5 may not have the most appealing storyline, but what it lacks in narrative gusto, it makes up for with solid action. This is one of the smoothest fighting games on the market. The moves are packed with devastating combos and powerful blows. The only drawback here is the action is limited to two major attacks: punch and kick.
This of course is excellent for newcomers who aren't typically into fighting games, whereas hardcore fans looking for a game with a more technical list of moves will find it a bit disappointing. Even with only those two basic attacks, the move list is still considerable, and every character has their own specialty moves which help break up the monotony.
The character attacks flow seamlessly, and one may get the impression they could win by merely mashing the buttons. This is quite a deception, as it can take a bit of practice to master the counter and hold moves necessary to turn the tide of battle. Even with these in your arsenal, it can be quite tough to break out of a well delivered combo. There are times where the CPU feels like a cheat, but learning everyone's strength and weaknesses is a major aspect of the game.
Yes the boobs do indeed jiggle -- a lot. Beyond the titillating aspects of the game, the graphic engine shines. By introducing 3D environments and characters who not only sweat, but show fatigue, Dead or Alive 5 takes the series to an all new graphical high. Destructible environments leading to new areas of the fighting area only add to the overall experience, and the fights feel intense.
Losing a match in story and arcade mode will net you some time alone with your favorite characters as they pathetically sob in misery like the losers they are. Here is where you'll find your opportunity to exercise the inner voyeur, and the camera can be conveniently located to catch your character in a most compromising position -- whether that be an upskirt or a busty cleavage shot. Go ahead, we're not here to judge -- pervert.
There isn't much in the way of music to be found here. In fact there's only one song for the online menu which drones on and on while you're waiting for a match to finally come about (see below), which I had to mute after the third time of hearing it. In total, I only saw four songs in the credits, and 3 out of the 4 are performed by the same cookie cutter gangster/playa from Japan -- Lotus Juice. If you're into monotone "I'm richer/cooler/better than you" type of music, you won't mind it too much.
The voice acting isn't too bad, but the script leaves quite a bit to be desired. Fans of Japanese voice overs will be happy to know you can turn them on. It makes sense why people prefer the Japanese voices as it saves you the pain of hearing the English translations, and this holds true in Dead or Alive 5.
I entered an online pass code. I attempted to play online -- for hours. I even delayed this review in the hopes the online portion of the game would stabilize enough for me to play a few matches. Instead I found myself facing hours of frustrating connection errors, game freezes, and even the occasional system reboot.
The online features sound promising at least. You have the choice of a simple match, rank match, or a lobby match. After dozens of attempts I was finally able to get into two lobby matches and a simple match. Every time I made it through the loading screens and stepped up to take on the main challenger in lobby mode, the players either dropped out completely or the game froze. When I finally made it to a simple match, the game stuttered for a few seconds and then locked up the entire system. Forget about the rank matches -- I was never able to connect.
I'm assuming the online portion is working for some people, seeing as how there are a few thousand on the leaderboards. Seeing this only raised my frustrations with the game, especially since I attempted off and on with no success to join in and wasted quite a bit of precious time doing so.
Unfortunately when the combat wears thin, there's nothing left to help Dead or Alive 5 stand on its own. Though the fighting is smooth and the graphics are gorgeous, the weak story and the redundant action keep the title from soaring. However fans who enjoy unlocking the various skimpy outfits as well as those itching for some online combat are going to give this title more longevity in their play schedule, if online ever becomes a viable part of the equation, that is.
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