Dead Or Alive 5 Plus Review

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Let’s get this out of the way – prepare to see generous pairs of mammary glands hanging off impractically clad anime ladies. Like a visit to Hooters, you will come for the boobies and stay for the chicken wings, only this time you will stay for the fighting. I could harp on all day about the shameless panty service we have come to expect from the Dead or Alive series, fortunately the game does get a lot of things right, resulting in a solid fighting game and one of the Vita’s best ports.

Now I’m sure you all loved the 2006 smash-hit Dead or Alive feature film. Who doesn’t love Hollywood raping and pillaging our fondest childhood memories? If you loved the stunning and innovative story and characters from the film, then you will love the 5 hour long story mode in Dead or Alive 5 +. While I appreciate the effort many modern fighting games have made to add some story and context to the fights, most recently seen in Injustice, after an hour, I am preparing to stab myself in the eyes with blunt spoons. Every excuse to explain why one big breasted bimbo must fight a Japanese school girl ‘for honour’, can be and will be used. When an all out brawl can start over the last piece of sushi, or from an elderly pedophile on a train attempting to cop a feel of a teenage girl, it’s time to give up on the story, focus on the fights and accept that you have just purchased a DOA game.

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Seems like the appropriate attire for a ninja.

While the 13 year old in me was fumbling through the settings to find the ‘DOA Advanced Breast Motion’ setting (makes them jiggle more, I checked…for research), my self-respecting 23-year-old grown up self is trying to focus on the gameplay. Yes, the DOA series is shamelessly aimed at a specific audience, but by now we have all accepted Team Ninja’s usual MO. It is just a shame that hidden underneath the confusing plot twists and stripper outfits is a well-polished, competent fighter. Although handling almost identically to previous DOA games, DOA5+ falls short from any revolutionary leap in gameplay mechanics but instead continues to polish the already well-established formula. Reversing a kick in the shins into a Bass Armstrong combo throw is still a satisfying system.

The simple four button gameplay gives rise to the more advanced techniques. Watching your opponent’s movements is often as important as remaining unpredictable yourself. Your movements and patterns can always be broken, and any slip up is quickly punishable. Whether it is a mistimed hold or a fumbled combo, if your opponent can read the fight, you will quickly find yourself being pummeled for 50% of your health. One added element in DOA5+ is the stage-specific Danger Zones. Strike an opponent into the right corner of a stage and you will send them flying into explosive barrels or into a new arena.

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Time for a bitch slap.

If you’ve played Team Ninja’s Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus on the Vita, you may have noticed that not all ports hold up when scaled down to the system. While attempting to maintain console quality visuals, Team Ninja sacrificed the actual fluid action Ninja Gaiden is known for, resulting in messy and at times N64-esque visuals. This time around they have made sure not to make the same mistake twice. DOA5+ on the Vita is the definition of console quality gaming on the go. While it does forgo visuals to preserve 60 fps speed, Team Ninja has been careful in prioritising where to cut detail and anti-aliasing. By removing detail and texture from the less important aspects of a stage such as backgrounds and the floor, and maintaining solid character models and smooth animations, DOA5+ easily handles like the big boys. The Vita version also includes a few new notable modes for those taking a second dip into the game, including a new training mode and the less notable ‘Touch Fight’ mode, placing you in a first person view giving you an excuse to fondle virtual breasts and score some creepy-uncle up-skirt peeks while fighting.

After playing through the story, the excellent real-time training mode and the combo trials to master the fundamentals, it’s time to jump online and see how bad you actually are. Like any fighting game, the online communities are hubs for some true e-talent. The online mode is as solid as any console offering. Matches run smoothly, skill pairing is effortless and the Facebook integration, replay downloads and online training are a godsend for any serious fighting fan looking to improve.

  • PS Vita

The Verdict

Despite the occasional creepy uncle feeling, DOA5+ conjures after staring at high school girl ninjas play virtual fisticuffs for hours, it is an example of a fighting game port made well. Cross-save, cross-play and smooth animations help it feel and perform just like its big brother on consoles, while still fitting snuggly in your questionably moist pocket.
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