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Review

Dead or Alive 5 Review

  • Game release: September 25, 2012
  • Reviewed: September 25, 2012
  • PS3

Dead or Alive 5 is a deceptive game: behind all the gorgeous women and explosive areas rests a dynamic and enjoyable fighter.

by

The Dead or Alive series has always had an enthusiastic appreciation for the fairer sex. Dead or Alive 5 is no exception. Katsumi, Hitomi, Tina, and the rest of this top-heavy cast have returned as full-figured as ever. But DOA5's exaggerated brand of beauty is only skin deep. It's the foundation of solid fighting mechanics that gives this game its true appeal.

Combat in Dead or Alive 5 is divided into strikes, holds, and throws. These attack types form an rock, paper, scissors relationship: strike beats throw, throw beats hold, and hold beats strike. Strike has a good chance at beating hold as well, since the defending player must execute the correct hold with perfect timing. Strikes also have the greatest potential for damage because you can combo them together--while the majority of holds and throws end with a hard knockdown. This damage potential is further enhanced by one of DOA5's two new techniques, the critical burst.

Critical bursts are a new tool designed to extend combos and guarantee damage. Visually, they are almost indistinguishable from normal strikes, but successfully landing one puts opponents into a helpless state. From here, attacking players can finish out their combo unhindered by the possibility of a hold. The second new technique is the power blow. You can perform this highly cinematic attack only once per round, and only when you are below half health. Landing the power blow triggers a brief combo, and then the recipient is slammed into the environment, which deals substantial damage.

Only certain fighters can use expert holds, but they really hurt.

Moment-to-moment fighting in Dead or Alive 5 carries with it a satisfying feeling of weight and brutality. While difficult to perform consistently, holds grant quick-witted defenders an active way to influence the fight. However, being on offense has a definite advantage. The addition of critical bursts gives skilled fighters a means to maximize damage, making matches more lethal than ever before. Throws and holds have their uses, but are simply not as potent as punches and kicks.

Dead or Alive 5 still has plenty to offer for those unconcerned with the relationship between throws and strikes. In a fighting landscape filled with meters, gauges, and hyper combos, Dead or Alive 5 masks some of its complexity with a minimalist appearance. Take the critical bursts discussed earlier. There is a very subtle visual cue that indicates when you can successfully perform one; however, it is so slight that you would miss it if you didn't know to look for it.

Without a cluttered HUD, this fighter draws the eye toward its outrageous visuals. What starts as a friendly sparring match between friends could easily end up causing a massive train car pileup or a raging oil fire. Dubbed danger zones, the environmental hazards can give you an edge (so long as you're not the one getting your head slammed into an electrified barrier), and their over-the-top violence adds some extra excitement to the fight. These design choices let newer players pick up and enjoy the game, while still feeding seasoned fighters the information they need.

Cliffhanger events are rare and give the opportunity for extra damage.

For players new to the Dead or Alive series, the best place to start is the game's Story mode, which doubles as its main educational mode. In brief, series veteran Helena has assumed control of DOATEC, a corporation that does something and is hosting another tournament to celebrate. Each fighter has his or her own reason for entering, but it's difficult to keep track of when (and why) events are happening. The plot is entertaining in its ridiculousness, but not so much that you stop laughing at the story and start laughing with it.

At the start of each fight in Story mode, a challenge is presented that is designed to teach you about the game. These start out simple enough: land five punches, block 10 strikes. A counter at the bottom of the screen tracks your progress, and success unlocks new titles (and occasionally characters) for your use.

Kasumi's designer hand lotion packs a serious punch.

In later fights, when more complex or technically difficult tasks are introduced, it becomes too easy to ignore these tasks. During the more difficult fights, your desire to win the round supersedes trying to figure out how to use a critical burst, so you could miss that whole lesson. And because there's no indication which matches correspond with which lessons, it's difficult to go back and retry the one's you've failed (or ignored).

Outside of Story mode, there are numerous single-player modes in Dead or Alive 5. Arcade, Survival, and Time Trial are all present. Each mode is divided into seven difficulty levels, ranging from rookie to master. Completing a play through on one of these difficulty levels could earn you a new title or costume, as well as a slot on the leaderboards.

Tag team matches let you control two fighters or join up with a friend.

On your journey to becoming a master, you need to spend some time in Practice mode. Two especially helpful tools are command training and move list. Command training takes you through the selected character's move list one move at a time, while the move list tool displays a short list of commands in the bottom corner of the screen that dynamically update as you perform combos. If you throw out a low kick, for example, the list updates to show which moves you can follow up with.

Once you feel confident in your abilities, you can test your mettle against new opponents online. Ranked matches improve your online standing, while joining a friendly player lobby does not. You can also pair off with a friend and practice sparring online. Replay support is the only area that is severely lacking. Finding a replay means diving into the general leaderboard and searching for an entry with the replay icon. Even then, you don't know which characters will be fighting until you download the match.

Performance-wise, Dead or Alive 5 keeps pace with genre standards. Against online opponents with three connection bars or below, there is noticeable input lag between when you enter a command and when you see it performed onscreen. In contrast, matches with four- and five-star connections run without serious issue.

Dead or Alive 5 is a deceptive game. The subtleties of its solid fighting mechanics are easy to miss under all the flashy visual effects layered on top. It is a game new players can pick up and enjoy without feeling overwhelmed by too many options, while still offering complexity to those who know where to look. It's a dynamic fighter that can be enjoyed by players of all skill types.

The Good
Complex and hard-hitting fighting mechanics
Stable online play
Smooth character animations.
The Bad
Poorly executed educational mode
Sorting replays is a chore.
7.5
Good
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Discussion

3 comments
master_zidane
master_zidane

There might be no indication of which chapter corresponds to which lesson, but it certainly tells you which ones you haven't completed.  So no, its not difficult to find and go back to complete the missions you've missed (or ignored).

Sheik2
Sheik2

I will buy this game to hear this:

♫ You spin me right round baby, right round like a record baby, right round round round! ♫

Sheik2
Sheik2

I will buy this game for hearing this:

♫ You spin me right round baby, right round like a record baby, right round round round! ♫

rhymesmatter
rhymesmatter

Okay seriously i didn't wish to post this before but this review is totally out of sync with reality.I mean when i FIRST played  the game i was expecting it to be simply good (due to GS initial Review)but then  i was surprisingly blown away by the new gameplay additions and the astonishing graphics along with the fresh new character design and magnificent storyline.I have been playing this game for almost 2 months now...It is literally one of best fighting games i have EVER played.So how in the name of god is this REMOTELY inferior to Tekken ??It didn't even worth that 7.5...It worths at least 8.5 or even 9 in my book!Cause everything was done perfectly and the Educational mode was anything but poorly executed...So explain to me how could you possibly rate this game simply 7.5 while the only valid bad point is honestly the one about Replays which may be tedious but really: WHO GIVES A F*** ABOUT REPLAYS MAXWELL? I don't know what's wrong with you but Gamespot ought to post an Update on this review remunerating some things.This Review had a serious Impact on Metacritic and it was definitely unfair.SC 5 for example was certainly a 7.5 and this comes from a DIE HARD Soul Calibur fan but this????The same rating as SC V?? Shame on you Maxwell...I really cannot fathom what was going on in your head while rating this.

SSS1989
SSS1989

I played both games and they're good in some ways. Mr. McGee is no gamer for sure, he just loves getting paid by CBS. Admit you suck at Dead or Alive 5, Maxwell. I bet you can't commit a parry using Jann Lee. Foolish liberal media these days.

zaiwen
zaiwen

i bet xtreme 3 would rate much higher than this

XBgyManX
XBgyManX

Reviews here are now a joke.

ccusick
ccusick

ha ha ha....

*bounces* back!!

 

DOA's original contribution to gaming is the bounce.

bovian
bovian

Totally agree with this review. 

Wensea10
Wensea10

This review works although I would rate it better even though it is just a little improved over Dead Or Alive 4.

s_yanki
s_yanki

your poor review wont change my mind for buying this beautiful game. its deserve more rating points compare to tekken . coz it have better graphic and much better combat system . so HELL YEAH . i will buy it anyway

toyo75
toyo75

The game's title reminds of an ancient  Manhattan Transfer song  ^_^

monster637
monster637

the tut worked into the story mode has worked great for me,,,it seems such a easy way to teach you the mechanics and enjoy a story mode kick ass and watch them jiggle

kirbymaster5
kirbymaster5

"Smooth character animations". I see what you did there.

juliangui
juliangui

I really like boobs...

 

I didnt even need to read the review...

 

A part of me is ashamed of myself

UnwantedSpam
UnwantedSpam

Now THIS is a game I would literally shove down my pants. Not even joking. Why? Well...boob physics...that's why. Boob physics. Sweet, sweet boob physics...

 

Oh, and the fighting is great, too.

mikeyMKII
mikeyMKII

DOA2 was the last one I played, but I'm going to get this eventually.

jcwainc
jcwainc

wow that doesn't sound right at all. the reason for a low score are not really justified imo. i give the game a 8.5 for replay value, the bomb ass levels, the different modes, graphics and fighting mechanics

 

Xpyder
Xpyder

"Poorly executed educational mode   Sorting replays is a chore."

Seriously, THAT is enough to take away 2.5 points from the game? Something smells fishy here...

ErickPS4
ErickPS4

This review lacks too many information for his purpose, like cast of fighters, customization options, replay value, if there are any fighter development, any comment about music and sound effects... It seems was rated based on demo version.

J-007
J-007

Sounds great enough for me bt not for 7/10. Shame

Iridescent406
Iridescent406

"Sorting replays is a chore." There's that complaint again. You know what Max, maybe the replays think YOU'RE a chore! 

emodack
emodack

just wondering, in what way does sorting replays affect the actual rating of the game, coz to me such a thing isnt as  important as the game itself being good or not. i havent played the game myself since it hasnt been released on my side of the world yet so i cant exactly comment on anything else

Atermi
Atermi

 @rhymesmatter Excuse me, but this game is objectively inferior to Tekken: it has less (4 times less) fighters, less styles, grants unholy advantage to experienced players over noobs, has no tournament value, only friend party value (which Tekken, of course, also has). Also, provided that DOA5 has realistic, life-like characters and styles, the characters have much less personality and the battle has much less possibility than in Tekken.Tekken is a FATHER of fighting games, even MK and SC are inferior to it. 

Tensho85
Tensho85

 @XBgyManX I agree with you. Sometimes i wounder if they actually play the games before rating.

 

ErickPS4
ErickPS4

 @s_yanki better combat system? with so many poligon colisions? 75 is more then this game deserves.

Justforvisit
Justforvisit

 @mikeyMKII

 Same here as well. Though the game certainly is good and fun and reminds me of the good old DOA 2 I kinda are a bit disturbed that when you fight VS CPU in VS you can't determine the difficulty o_O

shalashaska88
shalashaska88

 @mikeyMKII Same here! Mostly because the sequels weren't released on Sony consoles as I only had the PS2.

LingeringRegime
LingeringRegime

@Xpyder What's funny is that educational mode is executed pretty well.  I am brand new to the series and I just go into training and select command mode and I am learning fast. 

Crystal_Dream
Crystal_Dream

 @Xpyder 

You act like a game deserves a 10 right out the bat and then they deduct points.

It doesn't work like that.

shalashaska88
shalashaska88

 @emodack Let's wait for other reviews too. Not saying GS is not trustworthy, but I do feel that this review is not as fair as it should be. I mean VF5 was good, but It thought it lacked content, and it got 8.5, so let's just wait first.

Xpyder
Xpyder

 @Crystal_Dream I know! but citing some stupid negative points makes it look like it does(work like that)!

Xpyder
Xpyder

 @rhymesmatter  @sidious360 im not really into the "numeric score removal" thing, i just think scores should reflect more than sum of advantagens - disadvantages, some games are just much better than the sum of its parts...

rhymesmatter
rhymesmatter

 @Xpyder  @sidious360  Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning also got a 7.5 but 38 Studios were shut down...The point is that the game is magnificent as i am playing it right now.I love the eye candy, i love the game mechanics even more and the story mode was excellent.There are people out there that get turned off by scores that do not meet their standards and that's a shame because they effectively lose the chance to enjoy wonderful games and at the same time they create the possibility of IP abandonment or in other words if the game doesn't sell satisfactory Team Ninja might also get shut down and there will be no DOA nor NG ever again.People should use their heads more and GameSpot should FINALLY remove the numerical scores COMPLETELY so that they will allow those people to think and so that great companies like Team Ninja can continue to exist and bring such beautiful games

Dead or Alive 5 More Info

First Release on Sep 25, 2012
  • PlayStation 3
  • Xbox 360
  • PlayStation Vita
Dead or Alive 5 incorporates a variety of martial arts fighting techniques into its signature fighting style to create a new generation of intense DEAD OR ALIVE combat.
8.2
Average User RatingOut of 409 User Ratings
Please Sign In to rate Dead or Alive 5
Developed by:
Team Ninja
Published by:
Tecmo Koei America Corp., Koei Tecmo Games, TECMO KOEI GAMES CO., LTD.
Genres:
3D, Action, Fighting
Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
Mature
All Platforms
Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Violence