Dead or Alive 5: Last Round Review

Gaming

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Dead or Alive 5: Last Round
Developer: Team Ninja
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One (Reviewed), PC
Release Date: February 17, 2015
Price: $39.99 US – Available Here $69.95 AU – Available Here

Overview
Since 2012 Koei Tecmo and Team Ninja have managed to produce three different versions of Dead or Alive 5 with their latest and supposedly version being a fully upgraded Dead or Alive 5: Last Round on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and soon the PC. Makings its debut on current-gen consoles and bringing with it some improved visuals and a few new additions is this re-release worth picking up or has the well run dry?

Story
Similar to their previous release, Dead or Alive 5: Last Round does not feature an updated story in any way. This means that if you happened to play any of the original release then this means you’ll be treated to the same exact story as before which offers at least some continuing narrative of the Dead or Alive series, DOATEC and leaves room for more to come, but it is worth noting that a number of the characters simply play minor roles and do not have stories of their own.

While this story mode has always been relatively short, it really begins to show weakness this time around. The reason is that we have now seen the introduction of two brand new characters in Dead or Alive 5: Last Round including a few that were previously only available as DLC and they are still not given any exposition.

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Considering the fact that Raidou, a boss from the first game that players have long thought dead, makes his return with some metallic enhancements and we now have the introduction of Honoka, a schoolgirl who wields a power similar to Raidou’s and interacts with long standing characters but no extra exposition is provided for why these two are back and what their relationship might be, making the lack of any additional story being included all the more disappointing.

Gameplay
Those who have experienced Dead or Alive 5 before should know what to expect with the game’s combat system as it remains the same as before, though it is worth noting that various adjustments have been made to some characters’ moves meaning that not all of your strategies may remain intact in this new iteration.

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For those who haven’t tried it out before, the combat system follows a unique four button combat system where Y and B dish out punches and kicks while throws are performed with the A button and players can guard, or perform ‘hold’ counters when timed properly, with X. There is a certain strength and weakness to each of these moves, with strikes being countered by holds, holds being countered by throws and strikes overpowering throws, making the title easy to pick up and play but quite intricate at the same time as predictable fighters can easily be toppled by those with experience.

Once a fighter finds themselves damaged to a certain degree, they will also be able to pull off Power Blows and Power Launchers. Both of these charge moves can only be used to their full extent once per round with Power Blows being able to send opponents flying across the stage, potentially into stage hazards that will cause additional damage to their opponent or, in the case of a Power Launcher, send them flying high into the air to allow for a juggling attempt.

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If all of this sounds a bit difficult to grasp don’t worry, as Dead or Alive 5: Last Round sports an extensive tutorial mode and a training suite for every character in the game. These tutorials will run over every aspect of the game’s combat system to help players get the hang of their favorite characters while those looking for more of a challenge may wish to try and complete their character’s highly difficult combo challenge line-up.

Of course those who simply wish to jump into the action will find plenty of ways to do so as Dead or Alive 5: Last Round sports not only Solo matches but Tag matches for every mode except for story. Arcade, Survival, Score Attack, and Online can all be played through in Tag and this system works as fine as before, with players being able to swap between fighters in combat while laying down extensive tag-combos or triggering special tag-grapples.

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As for the two new characters exclusively available in Last Round, both Raidou and Honoka feature the same type of playstyle in the way that both characters take moves from other fighters in the roster. Raidou is the faster character of the two while Honoka received more power moves and appears to be the more enjoyable character to play thanks to the fighter’s she is copying instead of Raidou, though Raidou does feature some unique moves of his own. It is also worth noting that there are a couple of new stages included in this release and a whole ton of costume DLC that I will discuss later.

As for the online mode, players will be treated to the same line-up of modes as before, such as Ranked Matches and Lobbies that can be created and customized, or searched for, to fit your style. Of course players can also choose to open themselves up for “Throwdown” matches whenever they play a single player mode and when a fight is found they can choose to either accept an online match or deny it. That being said, at the present moment Dead or Alive 5: Last Round on the Xbox One is currently suffering from a number of bugs and issues concerning the game’s online mode forcing the game to freeze and crash while searching for a Ranked match or leaving Throwdowns on. Interestingly enough lobby matches still work just fine as long as you invite friends with the game to come into the lobby.

Visuals & Audio
One of the things that Team Ninja talked about the most when it came to the release of Dead or Alive 5: Last Round was the “Soft Engine” that has been implemented into the current-gen release of the title. This engine is meant to create a more realistic looking skin texture and I must commend them for doing a great job here as the character models in this release have never looked better. The male characters have been given a nice improvement though it is worth noting that the most attention has been paid to the female roster receiving visual upgrades that end up being quite eye catching, especially when combined with the sweat and dirt systems that also seem to have been upgraded to make sure that most characters will have see through outfits by the time a match ends.

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As mentioned, Dead or Alive 5: Last Round includes a ton of costumes that were previously only available as DLC for every character on the roster. A large chunk of these outfits are available right at the beginning of the game though there are still a number of outfits that need to be unlocked by playing through the various modes. These outfits range from ridiculous looking to titillating and for certain characters players can even change the type of underwear that they are wearing by changing the ‘detail’ option when selecting the character.

Unfortunately, despite the large amount of costumes available in the game at release, a large number are automatically held back as DLC at launch though players who have previously purchased outfits that aren’t automatically unlocked in the game can import them from the past versions by going through a small process.

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The stages themselves look as wonderful as before and seem to have been given a nice touch up while the actual voice work (both English and Japanese) remains the same as before, though I must say that the new characters do a great job fitting. That being said, the Virtua Fighter guest characters still sound off due to the poor nature of their voice work compared to the rest of the cast.

Overall
Dead or Alive 5: Last Round brings a lot of content to the table but unfortunately most of this content is something that fans have likely already seen before. If you have only played the original then you will find plenty of brand new characters, stages, and outfits to enjoy but those who have already played Ultimate will find less here than before.

The new characters help expand the roster and give this already bursting title some extra variety while visual upgrade is a nice improvement and a major plus for those who like their characters to show some skin in the new outfits. That being said, the lack of an updated storyline and mechanics that, while tried and true, remain the same as before mean that Dead or Alive 5: Last Round is simply something to tide fans over while they wait for a new iteration.

8-0-capsules-out-of-10
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