Dead or Alive 5: Last Round
Developer: Team Ninja
Publisher: Koei Tecmo, Tecmo
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
We might be a year into the current generation of consoles, but there is a distinct lack of variety in the games available. Sure there’s plenty of shooters, open-world games and racing games, but there’s hardly any fighting games or Japanese titles. If you’re like me and love a good beat-em-up then you’ll be pleased as punch to know the intense Dead or Alive series has made its way to the current generation with ‘Dead or Alive 5: Last Round’.
As the name suggests, this is not a completely new entry in the Dead or Alive series with a brand new engine, but a more updated and refined version of Dead or Alive 5. As some of you will know, Dead or Alive 5 was upgraded previously with Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate, though this version stands as the final upgrade to Dead or Alive 5 – in fact, players who previously purchased Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate on last-gen consoles can upgrade to Dead or Alive 5: Last Round for a small fee, and all previously released DLC for Ultimate works with Dead or Alive 5: Last Round.
So what do you get in this, the greatest version of Dead or Alive 5?
- 2 new characters, bringing the total roster to 34!
- 31 new costumes, bringing the total to over 400!
- 2 additional stages from previous Dead or Alive games (Xbox One and PS4 only)
- Upgraded graphics (Xbox One, PS4 and PC only)
Even experienced Dead or Alive 5 players will have a reason to return to the ring with all that new content, but in case you’re still on the apron about whether or not to purchase it, allow me to introduce you to the series and what to expect from Dead or Alive 5: Last Round.
Dead or Alive is a Japanese fighting game with gorgeous characters, lightning-fast action and a focus on strategy. The roster is predominantly female, and while controversy has followed the series in the past for its “unrealistic” portrayal of female characters the game has matured into a fully-realised martial arts fest. Here ninjas fight karate experts, soldiers and professional wrestlers in the ring, each one bringing their strengths and weaknesses.
Behind the action, is a rather silly plot involving DOATEC, an organisation that is involved in so many industries that it’s impossible to keep track. In previous Dead or Alive titles, the sinister Donovan organised a fighting tournament as a front for human cloning experiments. He created the ultimate bioweapon, a clone warrior with all of the strengths of the Dead or Alive fighters combined. Ayane, Hayate, Kasumi and Hayabusa managed to defeat Alpha-152 and destroy the laboratory in the process, though Donovan has escaped.
The story in Dead or Alive 5: Last Round is the same story as played in Dead or Alive 5. Helena, the new head of DOATEC, is looking to right the organisation’s wrongs by sponsoring the Dead or Alive tournament once more, though who can she trust, and who is conspiring with Donovan in the shadows?
The story is still very silly, and little more occurs than chance meetings between characters as an excuse for them to fight in some exotic locale – but I wouldn’t have it any other way. The Dead or Alive games are also incredibly self-aware, knowing and embracing the sillier plot points and delivering some genuinely funny humour in a fighting game. Brad Wong and his apprentice Eliot engage in a chopstick battle over their dinner’s last dumpling, Zack attempts to win the hearts of any female he comes across (only to be thoroughly beaten and embarrassed) and Bass’ ridiculous attempt to enter the Dead or Alive tournament under the guise of “Mr Strong” fails hilariously.
For what it’s worth, there’s a stigma that fighting games can’t deliver a meaningful or entertaining narrative, but the Dead or Alive, Street fighter and Tekken games have really come into their own with the last few entries in their respective series. Dead or Alive 5: Last Round’s story does a fantastic job of introducing the game’s many eccentric character and arenas, I only wish there were a few bonus story moments for the guest characters. Oh well..
Gameplay-wise, Dead or Alive 5: Last Round is easily the best DoA yet, as the silky-smooth framerate and improved graphics truly does offer the player the most gorgeous experience yet. The improved framerate also allows players to react to their opponent’s attacks quicker. It might sound inconsequential, but ask fighting game fan will appreciate this refined experience.
Apart from the upgraded graphics and smooth frame rate, nothing else has changed from the previous Dead or Alive 5 games – though nothing needs to. The game already includes a fantastic amount of game modes, including Story, Arcade, Time Attack, Survival, Training and Online Battle, as well as offering solo and tag variants of those matches. There’s more than enough to keep a fighter happy!
The new characters fit in quite well, and impress me with their unique fighting styles, particularly Honoka. Honoka has the uncanny ability to learn any fighting style she witnesses – meaning that her own fighting style is not limited to one particular martial art. She is raw, unpredictable and very cool.
Note: At the time of writing this, there are numerous bugs within Dear or Alive 5, but most of these are isolated to non-English languages, or when porting your existing DoA 5 or DoA Ultimate save data over to this new version. If you’re an experienced DoA 5 player, you might want to wait until a patch hits before porting over your progress.
Dead or Alive 5: Last Round takes the already perfect DoA 5 gameplay and somehow improves upon it. Despite the series’ controversial beginnings there can be no doubt that this is a game that deserves to be held in the same high regard as Street Fighter and Tekken. Give it a try, who knows, perhaps it will become your new favourite brawler.