Fighting games are known for having multiple releases, each adding new content, characters and balance changes that will make any EVO fan wet. Released in 2012, Dead or Alive 5 saw an improved PlayStation Vita – Dead or Alive 5 Plus – release shortly after. Third times a charm, as the Ultimate edition of Dead of Alive 5 is the definitive version of the game to own.
First and foremost, the core rock-paper-scissors gameplay of Dead or Alive 5 remains intact. If you want to read an in-depth review of the combat system, you can read through Jorge’s full review of Dead or Alive 5 Plus. Team Ninja has gone through and eliminated all of the known bugs found in the original release, improving the game in just about every aspect. Some balancing and tweaks have been made; existing characters have gained new combos, and a couple new gameplay mechanics have been added. Once per round players can use the newly introduced Power Launching, sending opponents high into the air, opening them up for a combo.
Besides the addition of online Tag matches, new changes have been made making the mode more competitive friendly. No longer will characters on the sideline regain their full health, instead the regenerative factor has been lessened. The new tutorial from Dead or Alive 5 Plus has been added to the game, as well as the Combo Challenges designed to teach players combos.
As for what’s new in Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate, five additional characters have been added to the roster, bringing the total to 29. Both Leon and Ein return from Dead or Alive 4 as well as Ninja Gaiden newcomers Rachel and Momiji. The final character, Jacky Bryant plays like another Bruce Lee spinoff character, just like Jann Lee. All five of the new characters are available in Arcade and Online matches, but they have not been added to the Story mode. In addition to the new characters, five new stages have been added, as well as a ton of costumes, including some of the downloadable content from the original – 231 in total.
At the same time of the release of the Ultimate edition, Tecmo Koei and Team Ninja released a free digital version of the game, Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate: Core Fighters. Limited to only four fighters, Kasumi, Ayane, Hayate and Ryu, Core Fighters lacks the Story Mode, but allows players to play online and the offline Arcade mode. Additional characters can be purchased in the PlayStation Store, while the DLC for the Vanilla version of the game is compatible.
For those that own the original version of Dead or Alive 5, you won’t be able to play online against those with DOA5 Ultimate. If you have to have the latest addition of a fighting game with the newest tweaks and bug fixes, DOA5 Ultimate will only set you back $40. It is well worth the money, considering it is becoming harder to find an online match for the vanilla version of the game. The netcode for the game feels silky smooth, providing an enjoyable online experience. If you aren’t sure about the game, you can always try the free Core Fighters and either purchase the characters you want to use or pick up the full game. For newcomers, this is an easy choice and a must-buy.Note: Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate was reviewed on PlayStation 3. A physical copy of the game was provided by the publisher/developer.