Dead or Alive 5 Plus Review
Dead or Alive 5 Plus Box Art
System: PS Vita
Dev: Team Ninja
Pub: Tecmo Koei
Release: March 19, 2013
Players: 1 (2+ Online)
Screen Resolution: 544p Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Violence
DOA5, Only Portable!
by Angelo M. D’Argenio

Dead or Alive 5 was an awesome 3D fighter that came out last year for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Now, the game is going portable with Dead or Alive 5 + for the PS Vita. Is it worth buying Dead or Alive 5 again, even if you already own the console version, or is DOA5+ only a worthy purchase for someone who missed the game’s original launch?

Well, the first thing you need to know about Dead or Alive 5 + is that it’s essentially just a Vita port of Dead or Alive 5. Very few things differ from the original console version, and that’s actually one of DOA5+’s selling points. The game has fully integrated cross-play and cross-save functionality. That means that you can challenge people online who are using the PS3 version of the game, and vice versa. As a result, game mechanics have to remain completely consistent. Character moves can’t differ, not even by one frame, or else you’d get horrible desync errors. And no one wants that.

Dead or Alive 5 Plus Screenshot

So if you are looking for a completely different game from Dead or Alive 5+, you’re looking in the wrong place. From the second you hit the character select screen, you’ll have the same roster of characters with the same properties to choose from. Everything right down to button press timing has been ported over exactly from the console version. I suppose you might have a little bit of trouble getting your button timing down on the small PS Vita buttons and d-pad, but that’s more of an issue of the handheld’s design rather than the game’s design.

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Simply put, if you didn’t like DOA5 on consoles, you aren’t going to like it here. On the contrary, if you did like DOA5 on consoles, you will love it here. Still, beyond wanting to play the game on the go or from the comfort from your bed or something, there is little reason to actually buy a Vita copy. Granted, if portable gaming is your thing, by all means go for it, but most of us will be more than content to play DOA5 from our couches rather than on the bus.

Dead or Alive 5 Plus Screenshot

There are a few Vita exclusive features that are worth mentioning, though most of them feel like last-minute add-ons. For example, the game comes with a first-person mode that lets you fight your opponent by tapping, swiping, and pinching the touchscreen. Unfortunately, this mode is much worse than the traditional control style. The touchscreen is not nearly responsive or accurate enough for a fast-paced fighting game, and it’s not even really clear what your character is doing when you use touch-based commands. It’s also not easy to tell the distance between your character and their opponent, which essentially nullifies DOA5’s complex spacing game.

For the more hardcore fans, DOA5+ includes an incredibly expanded training and trial mode. The game is programmed with the bread-and-butter combos that have been discovered since the release of the console version of DOA5. These combos allow you to learn not only how to execute a characters basic moves and strings, but also how to apply them in a real match. The lessons and missions contained within the game are greatly expanded and do a lot to elevate relative newcomers to pro status. They are also intelligently organized by move and concept type, so you can quickly navigate to lessons that focus on areas that you are having problems with. DOA5+ also has an actual build in tutorial mode, unlike the original DOA5, which essentially just had command training built into the standard training mode.

Dead or Alive 5 Plus Screenshot

DOA5 was also known for its comprehensive move data readout in training mode, and DOA5+ has expanded on this functionality. The frame data viewer now breaks down each move by its specific type of frames and timing. It will break down how your character moves, when they are invulnerable, what window you have for follow-ups, and more. Unfortunately, this is appealing only to the truly hardcore players out there. Most of the frame data viewer’s stats will be gibberish to anyone who isn’t, at the very least, familiar with the concepts of + and – moves on hit and block. However, if you are a pro looking to get all of your combos and punishes down to frame perfect timing, then that might be a good reason to buy DOA5+, even if you already have the console version.


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