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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dead or Alive returns fighting for the masses., October 2, 2012
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= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Dead or Alive 5 (Video Game)
Dead or Alive is one of those series that hasn't been taken seriously because of the beach volleyball spin off and its boob-physics. Looking beyond that however it is a quality fighting game that is simple to pickup and improve at.

The good:
-Easy learning curve. You punch, you kick, you throw (grapple), you block, and you hold (counter). Most of the combos are really simple; a series of punches and kicks, sometimes with directional movement but otherwise it's very straight forward. Combos are short (under 15 hits) and do not require hours of grinding to master. The fighting modes for DoA5 are arcade, time attack, and survival and there are 7 difficulties ranging from very easy to normal to champ to master, Tecmo kept the bar low to introduce players into the franchise while at the same time keeping the seasoned DoA players challenged.

-The fighting. Tecmo's rock, paper, scissors method to fighting as always been prevalent in the DoA series but this time its a selling point (ignoring the sexualized female characters). Punches/kicks will beat throws, throws will beat blocking and counter holds, and blocking and counter holds will beat punches. There is always a risk to each action you take and there isn't a sure way to win like other fighting game series (Marvel vs Capcom 3, Street Fighter 4). Tecmo makes the risk really prevalent with this rock, paper, and scissors design because a misread will lead to more damage. For example, a throw that is used on a block will deal x amount of damage but a throw used on a counter hold will deal 1.5x damage. Dead or Alive 5 does not have any unblockable/inescapable setups that other games find as a key to win a fight. I haven't lost a fight in the DoA series thinking "Wow that move was rigged" or "That character needs nerfing" it was a matter of the mistakes I made in that fight or the other player's mastery of the game. The question in this game is how safe will your next move be and how effective will it be, rather than how well can I trap and how well can I execute my combos? Dead or Alive 5 is all about reading out your opponents next move or creating an unpredictable offense. Players can still counter a move while they're being struck, this forces a variety of high, medium, or low punches/kicks. If that defensive player misreads a counter then the offensive player can extend his/her combo. This style of fighting leaves the game play to be more exciting, each fight is different rather than watching a replay of the same setup and the repeat same combos.

-The fighters. Most fighter's skill set is a representation of a real-life fighting style. Brad Wong - Drunken Fist. Christie - Snake Fist. Bayman - Russian Martial Arts. Hitomi - Karate. Rig - Tae Kwon Do. Tina - Wrestling. Each fighter is built for a purpose that will suit a particular play style. I'm not too sure if the ninjutsu style of fighting is real but a part from that I feel like Dead or Alive is a documentary of fighting techniques of the world. I haven't found a character that is completely useless but rather their style just doesn't suit me. The grappling characters may be sluggish in their punches and kicks, but their high damage on throws and holds make up the difference. The characters that rely on their unpredictability have lower damage in comparison to others. I've always been a lover of the special tag-throws given between certain characters. Two fighters having similar fighting styles or a close relationship in the story will give a pair of characters a special tag throw that'll deal bonus damage. [You can see these special tag throws by youtube DoA5 Tag Throws.] This addition brings that connection between characters and fighting styles, it is very entertaining to see team work to destroy your enemy. All the fighters are given unlockable costumes and Tecmo even threw in a free DLC costume pack instead of charging for character skins. People like free DLC, I hope you're paying attention Capcom.

-The online, it's not the best because it's still in its infancy. An option is open for a player to challenge you while you're playing a single player game so it's like a real arcade-fighting game experience. I'm playing on a high bandwith connection so I'm not facing any problems at the moment. It doesn't outshine any other fighting game's online play.

-The visuals. Characters are more life-like than ever: each character is now less cartoony and have their own distinct features both in their beauty and their nationality. Tecmo even went to the length of throwing in sweat and dirt into the game for a more realistic feel. I'm sure everyone can pick a favorite in how each character looks. The stages are detailed, interactive and alive, the environment will hurt you (electrified walls, being kicked off of a ledge etc.)and it is changing. Being kicked off of a ledge is not the death of the character like in Mortal Kombat or Soul Calibur, if the character still has health then the just fight goes on and the stage changes.

-The training. Training mode is one of the easiest I've seen, some moves are tricky but far from impossible. There is a video preview of what the combo should look like. The timing of each combo is more lenient than other fighting games. The combo's input is always on display, your inputs are always on display, and the direction of the arrows will change whenever your character has changed direction. Depending on your inputs, it will show the possible combos that can still be done. For example, inputting a forward punch combo will only bring up combos that start with a forward punch. It really comes in handy when designing possible initiation sequences. In addition, there are frame data that can be analyzed to see the risk of a strike if it is blocked or how long an opponent is vulnerable when a strike lands. The difference in a seasoned player and a newbie would come from the familiarity of all the character's combos and knowing this frame data.

The bad:
-The storyline. It's a mess of cutscenes, 1.5 hours of it. Rather than keeping the individual story line and ending for each character like in DoA3, 4. DoA5 created a massive timeline that connected most, but not all, of the characters into a single story. The result is a confused mess because you start with a character, play him/her in 3 fights, then jump to another one. You're left wandering into what happened to the rest of the characters that weren't a part of the ending. You can't pick your favorite character to end the game with. It forces you to sample all the characters that are involved in the story line but at the same time left out a few other characters. I don't recall playing as Christie in the story line even though you fight her with a few characters. Tecmo tried to be all-inclusive with the story line but ended up excluding a majority of characters from the ending. Tecmo built a tutorial within the story line and there's no way to go around it. The game starts off on very easy and ends with a normal difficulty fight. The ending "boss" fight is not really a boss more like a combination of 4 characters. The end result is a story that was ambitious in its attempt to include 20 characters into 1 big cutscene-driven story line but ended up having a very ambiguous ending with many character's stories either not including or ended prematurely.
-Game has an unfinished game menu. Every time you start the game it asks to 'choose storage device' and it'll show an empty menu but will allow you to continue. It'll also repeatedly remind you to not shut the game off when it's saving. It'll also forget the language options that are set and will automatically default to Voice Acting and Menu Language as English. This wouldn't be a problem with the English wasn't as good as the Japanese ones. (This problem is now fixed, patch it)
-The Virtua Fighter audio. They really sound out of place, the recordings sound like they were just copied and pasted from Virtua Fighter and I'm sure they were.

Conclusion:
Don't let the bad story line discourage you from playing the game. If you appreciate martial arts and seek an alternative fighting game DoA5 is a good choice. It's easy to pick up and to me it is how a realistic fighting game is meant to be set up.

New May 8, 2013/July 22, 2013
Team Ninja has announced 'Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate' to be released in Fall 2013 with Momoiji (from Ninja Gaiden 3) as a playable character and other content released for the Vita. They've essentially 'pulled a Capcom' which explains the price drop for DoA5. Unless it can't be helped, wait for DoA5 Ultimate.
May 22, 2013
From what I've seen from preview screenshots and etc here are the new characters for DoA5 Ultimate:
-Momoiji (Ninja Gaiden Series)
-Rachel (Ninja Gaiden Series)
-Leon
-Ein
-Jacky Bryant from Virtua Fighter

FYI:
The DLC costumes for DoA5 will be carried over to DoA5 Ultimate.

DoA5 Ultimate will be for 39.99 and can be preordered on Amazon among other places.
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 3, 2012 10:49:07 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 3, 2012 10:50:08 AM PDT
myconius says:
wow! that story mode sounds like a huge disappointment!
aside from the fantastic over the top in your face action, the cutscenes and endings were some of the best parts of the game with DOA2 and DOA3.
can't say much for part4, that seemed very rushed to me and looking back i'm sure that's one of the straws that broke the Camel's back with Itagaki and Tecmo?
i'll wait for the price to drop! ....maybe if they make part 6 hopefully it'll be better?

Posted on Oct 3, 2012 11:55:33 AM PDT
Brad Lee says:
I actually really liked how they did the story mode. Of course, the story was crap - disjointed, nonsensical, many of the fights had flimsy reasons at best. But I enjoyed how it was all integrated, rather than in most fighting games where you pick a character, fight for seemingly no reason, and then get an ending that always feels completely out of place, especially since if there's a sequel you find out that only one of the endings was probably cannon anyway.

There were glimpses of greatness in the story mode, very brief, but they were there. I felt the strongest chapters were the drunk and Eliot. Those two actually had real character chemistry and didn't feel like a flimsy excuse for two characters to meet up, and their cutscenes were highly entertaining. I actually thought like it could have been a few scenes ripped directly from an over-the-top martial arts flick.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 3, 2012 12:49:31 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 3, 2012 12:53:18 PM PDT
myconius says:
i'm definitely planning on buying this game, but from what the series used to offer with the story mode taking your fighter of choice and battling your way through the tournament and finding out more of their backstory was really quite awesome!

and the endings for the DOA series all pretty much lined up with the other characters stories as well for the most part. even when they didn't they'd reveal the motivation for the character very well.

this big long multi-character story mode trend is pretty bogus!

and had the company decided not to exclude pre-order bonuses to specific retailers i'd have actually bought the game at launch.

making the collectors edition a gamestop exclusive plus splitting the cast for the bunny costume dlc is really dissuaded me from buying it at launch.

Mortal Kombat did that same nonsense with the retail exclusive 'klassic skins & fatality" dlc. later sells a pack that includes ALL the dlc. then re-releases the game cheaper than launch price with all extra content included.

when i see these schemes it makes me not want the product at all!

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 3, 2012 2:41:49 PM PDT
Tim says:
you sound like an offline player who focuses alot on the singleplayer experience. in that case, yes the story mode in this game is sub par. it gives you unlockables and stuff but for a player like you who likes to pick a single character and go through the arcade mode to unlock specific endings and stuff you may be disappointed.

i am an online player and for me story in ANY fighter is a non issue. i care about the gameplay, balance, and depth. this game has that and it's good at it

i also agree with your "marketing scheme" things that publishers do also. I didn't like how gamestop was the sole seller for CEs because i NEVER shop at gamestop.

but aside from that, if you are an online player and a FIGHTER fan, then this game is good

whether you like to wait until price drops that's your call, but by then everyone will be good and community will be smaller

waiting for DOA6 at this point sounds kind of dumb because 5 just came out

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 3, 2012 2:50:28 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 3, 2012 4:35:20 PM PDT
Sono says:
@Tim You're right, I'm more of an offline player but I did give a lot of weight to the things Tecmo has done right and thus the 5 stars review. The difficulty in their AI is a great way to build up experience in this game. From the way I'm seeing this, DoA5 is a litmus test to see how much the Tecmo-Koei merge has affected Team Ninja's development of Tecmo's franchise games. I'm glad to see that DoA5 is still doing well as opposed to Ninja Gaiden 3. The success of DoA5 may or may not affect DoA6.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 3, 2012 2:55:19 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 3, 2012 4:35:41 PM PDT
Sono says:
@myconius Amen that DLC schemes drives away fans. I still hope that Tecmo does not sink into DLC costume pack schemes but having 4-6 costumes for each character out the box is fine by me. Tecmo's recent free DLC pack is a 68mb download unlike Capcom's several kb file that unlocks the costume that came in the box.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 3, 2012 3:00:08 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 3, 2012 4:35:50 PM PDT
Sono says:
@Brad Maybe Tecmo can be encouraged to create a full CGI movie. With that many characters though it seems over-ambitious to say the least. The story line from previous DoA games actually involved interactions between a couple of characters and it follows it from beginning to end. In DoA5, the character interaction was there, but fragmented and ended prematurely.

Posted on Oct 3, 2012 3:44:51 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 3, 2012 3:46:11 PM PDT
myconius says:
@ Tim-hahaha! do you think i'm really going to wait holding my breath for part 6!!!
i'm merely stating at this rate team nina/tecmo are skating on some seriously THIN ICE with the DOA/Ninja Gaiden franchises!!!!

look at the Ninja Gaiden 3 fiasco! that game seriously dropped the ball! and now the way the release of DOA5 was handled?? unacceptable by any standard! doesn't matter if your on-line, off-line, off-your meds, whatever?
this was a piss poor treatment for a very big franchise! and being such it should have an over-all balance of quality, especially if your game comes out at a $60 price-tag as WELL as having a damn collector's edition!

that's just common sense!!!!

@Sono your review was actually very good and did sway me to be more interested in purchasing this game in the future. after Itagaki left i seriously thought the Dead or Alive franchise was dead. when i heard news of DOA5 i was thrilled, but being as big a fan of the series i do have certain expectations for the game to live up to.
this entry seems to have fallen short in too many areas for me to overlook.
the pre-order dlc situation did not help them in my eyes!

not that they would do it, but even if they created in-game graphic cut-scenes for endings like DOA2 had i'd be satisfied. but i seriously doubt they would do that.

i do hope Team Ninja success in that DOA has been my favorite fighting series since Dreamcast.
but i guess time will tell what happens from here?
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