If you were unfortunate enough to miss both Dead or Alive 5 and Dead or Alive 5: Ultimate during the last-gen era, now is your chance to experience Team Ninja’s definitive version of their acclaimed fighter. Dead or Alive 5: Last Round isn’t just a visual upgrade, it’s packed with content from: DOA5, DOA5+, DOA5 Ultimate and DOA5U Arcade. For DOA5 Ultimate owners, Last Round may not be an immediate must buy, since Ultimate already came with a wealth of content, but for everyone else, this is undoubtedly the greatest Dead or Alive entry to date.
When Dead or Alive made its debut in 1996, it captivated fighting fans with a newly introduced countering system and unique environmental Danger Zones. Ironically, the series became infamous for its jiggle factor and scantily clad female fighters, rather than its excellent gameplay. DOA’s innovative fighting mechanics carried from one sequel to the next, but continually crawled behind genre veterans like Street Fighter and Tekken. With their fifth release, Team Ninja finally proved that beyond the thick layers of eroticism hid a beautifully complex fighter with a ton of depth and diversity. If you loved DOA5, the Ultimate version may provide just enough new content to satisfy your cravings until an official sequel is announced…and for everyone else, well this is an absolute must have!
"Dead or Alive 5: Last Round isn’t just a visual upgrade, it’s packed with content from: DOA5, DOA5+, DOA5 Ultimate and DOA5U Arcade."
Dead or Alive 5: Last Round impresses the moment you reach the character select screen. It’s been a year since I last played DOA5 Ultimate, and the game still looks stunning. The fighters look remarkably realistic while still maintaining the traditional DOA aesthetic. They sweat and get dirty as the environments collapse around them, and everything moves at a flawlessly smooth frame rate. Last Round boasts a roster of 34 character (with each fighter having access to countless costumes), including newcomers Raidou and Honoka, making this the largest roster in series history.
"Last Round boasts a roster of 34 character, including newcomers Raidou and Honoka, making this the largest roster in series history."
The dynamic stages are designed with great detail and diversity. From tropical jungle forests to urban cityscapes and circus arenas, each area provides a distinct aesthetic and a sense of life. A rooftop will suddenly crumble to pieces as fighters brawl through the falling debris. Other times you find yourself fighting in the midst of a war torn street surrounded by bombarded buildings, with an attacking tank just waiting to interrupt your combos. It’s quite a spectacle. The jump to 1080p brings out all the little environmental intricacies, although the baffling lack of anti-aliasing results in unpleasant shimmering.
"As an HD remaster, Dead or Alive 5: Last Round may not be a vast technical leap from its predecessor, but as a definitive DOA experience, it has no rival."
Danger Zones are back and you can trigger crazy special that look even more stunning in high resolution and 60fps. Glaciers collapse, cars crash, things blow up all around you… it’s dazzling. Returning stages include various fan favorites (like the beach, desert, and more) in addition to some pleasant surprises, like the Sky City Tokyo from the Ninja Gaiden series. There are also two new stages: The Danger Zone and The Crimson. With 31 fighting arenas in total, it’s impossible not to find a favorite. Dead or Alive 5: Last Round can be played solo or with a tag partner. The latter is a nice alternative to Tekken Tag Tournament and offers some classy special moves that can be mixed with combos. I still prefer the tag diversity of moves in Tekken, but DOA does a fine job of providing a similar mechanic for team fighting.
What started as an arcade fighter has grown into a serious tournament contender. While Dead or Alive 5: Last Round is still easy to pick up, mastering the game’s complex mechanics and facing masterful online opponents is no easy task. The online scoring system is both intimidating and rewarding. Points are awarded and distributed based on performance, which then gets summarized into an overall grade. This is where tag team really comes into play. Pairing up with a more skilled player allows you to both hone your skills and improve your rankings. DOA’s online component is a great system that will only get better as the community grows.
As an HD remaster, Dead or Alive 5: Last Round may not be a vast technical leap from its predecessor, but as a definitive DOA experience, it has no rival. Last Round has more content than any fighting game to date, and its gameplay style is suitable for both newcomers and genre experts. Considering the slim selection of fighting games on the current console generation, DOA5: Last Round is a wonderful choice until Team Ninja announces an official next-gen sequel.
Review by: Tin Salamunic | Reviewed on: Playstation 4