How does Dead Or Alive 5 fare on the small screen? Our review has the surprising verdict.
Published on Mar 28, 2013
Dead Or Alive 5 on Vita makes perfect sense.
The handheld is suited to the control scheme for Tecmo Koei’s brawler and makes this the most seamless transition in the genre from the big screen to handheld.
It doesn’t have the problem that Street Fighter x Tekken did, where Capcom had to map a six-button game to Vita and forced you into clunking on the should buttons for combos, leaving you battling hand cramp as much as you were fighting whoever was standing on the other side of the screen.
Nor does this have the exacting execution demanded in Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, where combos can last an age if you have the precise timing to sustain them.
Dead Or Alive 5? No problem. It’s a game that only requires four buttons and is easy and forgiving to play. If you have working fingers and working eyes, you can play Dead Or Alive 5 to some sort of level. You never feel as though you need to sit down in training mode and practice for endless hours to unlock its potential. It’s immediately obvious, as soon as you start playing, it’s as easy on the fingers as it is on the eye.
DOA 5 Plus Visual Downgrade
Well, perhaps not quite as easy on the eye as it used to be.
Inevitably, the first thing you’ll notice is that Dead Or Alive 5 Plus doesn’t match the PlayStation 3 version on a visual level. Dead Or Alive 5 on PlayStation 3 packed the background for each stage with Exciting Things – exploding barrels, swinging cranes and steaming waterfalls. Those effects have been stripped back for the Vita version. Unlike fellow Tecmo Koei title Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 Plus, the frame-rate is the priority here and it never suffers, so at least those cute visual extras have been taken out for a worthy cause.
In any case, this has hardly dipped from a Michael Bay movie set to a library in terms of visual excitement or overload. It’s just more restrained, and noticeably so. There’s some detail missing from the characters, particularly on their clothing.
The upshot is that the frame-rate never, ever falters and Dead Or Alive 5+ is easy to play as its PlayStation 3 sibling. There’s a flow you get in Dead Or Alive 5 that allows new players to compete straight away, because the main skill comes from knowing when to attempt counters, which can be done during block or hit stun. It’s the defensive side of Dead Or Alive 5 that takes skill to master over the actual attacking, with combos to do with stunning characters as much as they are air juggles.
DOA 5 Plus Single Player Content
The story mode is fun, if short. It serves as a nice way for newcomers to try out all of the characters though, because story mode sees you playing as them all at various points. It’s absolutely drowning in cutscenes though, to a point where even Hideo Kojima would nod his head in approval. If you take cutscenes out of the equation (and there’s a Trophy for watching them all in their entirety), then story mode barely hits the two-hour mark. And that’s if you don’t struggle against the final battles against Alpha-152.
For some, that may be too short but single player is beefed up by content elsewhere. Tutorials aren’t normally something we’d recommend in fighting games because being told how to block shouldn’t be a highlight yet Dead Or Alive 5 Plus goes into ridiculous depth with its attempts to teach the player about the mechanics. It’s actually a little overwhelming to be confronted with a vast list packed with categories like Critical Stun and Power Blow but if want to invest the time learning about the game, there’s enough useful material here to keep you busy.
There are titles to unlock by satisfying different criteria across the game and there are also combo challenges to complete. It’s becoming something of a fighting game standard and here, it proves that there are some tough combos possible in Dead Or Alive 5 Plus, which rely on strict timing and precise execution.
New to this Vita port is Touch Fight mode, which will entertain you for as long as a single fight takes. It switches the fighting to first-person and has you swiping on the screen to perform different moves like strikes and launchers. If it sounds awful… well, it is awful. Touch Fight might nice extra for some but besides playing it out of curiosity or to mop up Trophies, it’ll be just another option on the menu to scroll through when accessing online multiplayer.
DOA 5 Plus Online
Because that’s what makes this an attractive package – crossplay. Vita and PS3 Dead Or Alive 5 owners can play online against each other without any compromise or problems. It’s perhaps just as well this was included because fellow Vita owners rare show up in Ranked and even with the PS3 playerbase online, it often takes five minutes or more to find a single game.
Even so, the netcode is solid enough that it’s worth the wait and its in multiplayer that the gameplay really shines. Because the frame-rate holds up and the fighting itself is so accessible, this is arguably the best entry level fighting game into the world of online brawling. The very of Dead Or Alive 5 means it doesn’t have ‘cheap’ moves that can be spammed, because countering moves is easier to do than in other fighting games, which often rely on you having match-up knowledge.
Is DOA5 Plus The Best Version?
Dead Or Alive 5+ is our favourite version of Tecmo Koei’s fighter, just because the nature of the game lends itself to quick bursts of playing rather than long extended sessions. It’s one of the best-looking games on Vita and it’s definitely one of the most fun.
The PS3 version of Dead Or Alive 5 being available on PS Plus makes it slightly harder to recommend this than we’d like, because there isn’t enough here to justify this when a free version is available.
Even so, if you’re looking for your first fighting game on Vita, the fast and accessible gameplay combined with rock solid netcode makes Dead Or Alive 5 Plus an easy choice.
8.0 / 10
7.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
7.0 / 10
8.0 / 10
8.0 / 10
Dead Or Alive 5 proves it's the perfect game for Vita with a control scheme that works, lovely visuals and a rock solid port behind it. Perfect for those after their first Vita fighting game.