Dead or Alive 5 Plus Review: The Best Around

Dead or Alive 5 Plus Review: The Best AroundI’m now truly convinced that Tecmo Koei’s Team Ninja completely understands the Playstation Vita system. The powerful handheld has been on the market for just over a year, and Team Ninja has developed three games for it. Each game has been a meticulous port of a console game, and each game has been executed wonderfully. Dead or Alive 5 Plus is another spectacular homerun from Team Ninja and is arguably one of the best handheld fighters of all time.

What the Dead or Alive series has always done better than most is focus on the fighting, as opposed to gimmicky trick moves like throwing fireballs or stretching parts of the body across the entire screen to hit someone. DOA5+ continues that tradition, presenting a tight fighter that relies on the player’s skill more than random luck.

The power tree of moves, or Triangle System, acts like rock/paper/scissors in the level of pain they unleash. Punch overcomes a Throw, which overcomes a Hold, which overcomes a Kick. Punch and Kick are both strikes and basically have the same power. There are also differing levels of holds and throws, depending on which direction is pushed when the hold or throw button is pressed.

Once you grasp the Triangle System, and the buttons that correspond, DOA5+ becomes a fighters dream in how smooth the moves appear and the sheer amounts of devastation one can unleash by linking combos. And the PS Vita’s tiny face buttons are perfect for linking high-hit combos and insane Power Blows. Finally, a good purpose for the small, too-close-together buttons that have plagued gamers since the Vita’s launch has materialized.

Dead or Alive 5 Plus Review: The Best Around

Dead or Alive 5 Plus is stocked with game modes and features. There is a story mode that picks up after the events of DOA4. Helena Douglas, who is desperately trying the right the wrongs of her father and his DOATECH nightmare from the previous games in the series, is organizing the fifth DOA tournament. The best fighters from around the world answer the call, and the usual suspects return, like Ryu Hayabusa, and Ayane, and Bass and his daughter, Tina. There are a couple of new characters for this game, and even fighters from SEGA’s Virtua Fighter series make an appearance.

Dead or Alive 5 Plus Review: The Best AroundAll in all, there are around 24 fighters to choose from, and the number of women is higher than the men. And of course, every female fighter has considerable…talent…which makes each fight an interesting bounce fest. I mean, if DOA had a calling card, it is this. Sure, it totally objectifies women, but those same “objects” kick a ton of ass – most of it male ass – so really, who’s complaining?

Other modes include a simple fight mode, which allows the player to fight the CPU or another player in local ad hoc; Training Plus, an intricate training regime designed to introduce gamers to the ways of DOA; Touch Fight, which uses the PS Vita’s 5″ OLED touch screen to orchestrate first person fights using taps and swipes. Don’t let this mode fool you, it picks up the screen touches rather well and it is as addictive as any iOS fighting game.

Lastly, there is the Online mode, which opens up the game to full online battles (both ranked or simple) with any other fighter in the world. DOA5+ keeps all records and there is a worldwide leaderboard. Online fights are smooth with very little lag and the framerate is outstanding. Online fighters unlock new titles and higher ranks add to the unlocks so there are so many reasons to jump out there and take on the best fighters in the world.

There is also an Extras mode, which holds all the replays and photos that you take of your conquests, and fighters can even tweak the background music of the fighters.

Music is not the only thing that can be changed, as each fighter has multiple costumes and they can be changed before each fight. Completing certain tasks unlock new costumes, and new costumes have special Critical Bursts and Power Blows, which are devastating combo moves that unlock when the new costumes are worn.

Dead or Alive 5 Plus Review: The Best Around

There is also a social media component where trophies and match results can be uploaded directly to Facebook.

Dead or Alive 5 Plus looks fantastic and runs at a full 60 FPS. There is almost zero difference between the rendered cut-scenes and the actual fights. In fact, if not for a brief loading screen and the shift in music, the line between the two would be even blurrier. The PS Vita’s processing power never falters and the game, even in an intense fight with a ton of background graphics exploding all around you, never skips a beat.

DOA5+ is also 100% compatible with the PS3 version of Dead or Alive 5, and the cross-play and cross-save feature is enabled so stories and save files can be transferred between the two games.

Dead or Alive 5 Plus Review: The Best Around

The LiveArea contains a link to the Playstation store for DLC purchases, a link to the DOA5 website, and the game’s owner’s manual.

The Playstation Vita has been on the market for thirteen months, and it has seen a few must have games, a ton of stripped down ports, and some really hit or miss titles that failed to generate any hype. Team Ninja has delivered three of the best games for the Vita with Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus, Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Plus (even with its weird framerate problem), and now Dead or Alive 5 Plus.

Dead or Alive 5 Plus is a marvel of a handheld fighting game and a true must-have for any fan of the fighting game genre. To date, this game is without peer. With the track record of success that Tecmo Koei and Team Ninja have going, I can’t wait to see what they do next.

Dead or Alive 5 Plus was reviewed for Playstation Vita using a game code provided by Tecmo Koei.

Shop for Dead or Alive 5 Plus on PS Vita for a discounted price at (March 19, 2013 release date).

Dead or Alive 5 Plus Review: The Best Around

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