Me and my friends, we like fighting games. Generally, during the weekends which we’re free, we get together and battle. We all have our general game or games which we’re significantly more experienced than the others. For me, that is limited to Marvel Vs. Capcom 1 & 2. Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 left a very bad impression on me.
Anyway, for us, when we fight, it’s not a mindless button mash, or continually trying to set up that single combo we know that does the most damage. Anyone who plays fighting games know that after trying the same set-up, continuously, is only going to hurt your offense and make you mind-numbingly repetitive.
When we fight, we’re trying to condition each other to do what we want. Making your opponent guess and react incorrectly is the only way to win, unless you’re using a character with seriously unfair advantages. Though, thankfully, most fighting games don’t have single characters that can annihilate anyone with no real effort.
As I said before, friends and I, we play fighters. We enjoy them for the most part and even if we don’t we still participate most of the time.
Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate is my first Dead or Alive game I’ve ever owned, or played and it turned out to be a fantastic game, and I promise it’s because of the gameplay and not the certain visuals the game provides on its female cast of characters.
The game features simple controls. Punch, Kick, and Hold (Guard) much like Virtua Fighter. There is also a throw button, but pressing punch and hold simultaneously registers as a throw, so it’s not required.
You may also, if you choose, hold back to block.
It, like any other 3D fighter is played using mostly close ranged combat with almost every character having a different fighting style. 3D fighters don’t have the vast array of lasers and projectiles and fireballs etc. that 2D games have. So, your goal isn’t to control space or attack from long range, but to stay in your opponent’s face (generally) and keep them guessing.
The unique thing with Dead or Alive, that makes it different from Virtua Fighter is that every character has universal counters (universal as in the command for the basic counters are the same from character to character). So, if you’re predictable, you -will- get countered.
I honestly have bad habits. When I fall on the ground, the first thing I do when I get up is kick. I get countered for it, so what do I do next? Sweep kick. If one kick doesn’t work, do a different one, right? Not if the other person predicts that’s what you’re going to do.
Counters in the game work like this: You tap a direction and the guard button at the same time. Forward for kicks. Backward for punches. Moreover, you press down-back for low punches, and down-forward for low-kicks and up-back for high jabs.
What this means is that there isn’t a single, simple option for countering attacks. You have to actually know if there’s a punch or kick coming and rather or not it’s a high or low. Countering incorrectly does leave you vulnerable, and if you are grabbed why in a counter animation, you will lose more health than normals.
It’s a very useful feature that forces you to play smart. If you don’t know what’s coming, your best option is to guard. However, like any fighting game, 99% of the time, you cannot guard against grabs or throws.
Another big difference from Virtua Fighter, (Keep in mind, I haven’t played Final Showdown for several months) I think you’re able to break grabs while you’re guarding.
However, in Dead or Alive 5, you cannot break a grab at all if your finger is on the guard button. And, furthermore, unlike Tekken, you cannot use side-stepping to evade guards. Your options are either to break the grab, or crouch under them. Or, remain standing if it’s a crouch grab.
Of course, with me being late to DoA5, I’m going to have a rough time getting wins. Over the weekend, me and a friend play around 35 matched, in which I only won a single three-round match.
But, it isn’t all about winning. I like how intricate the game’s defensive options are. It makes you think and if you mess up, you’re going to lose.
Moving over onto the offensive play style, it’s more or less like any 3D fighter, although timings on certain things like tapping grab at the same time your attack connects is a lot less strict than virtua fighter. In fact, virtua fighter is not lenient at all when it comes to pressing things at the same time. If you have to press grab at the same time of your kick lands, you have to do it at what seems to be the exact same time. So, if your kick has a 12 frame-start up, that’s all the time you have to press the throw button.
For me, I just avoid moves like that. It takes around 20 tries for me to get it right, and there is no way I’m going to have perfect timing while having to consider everything else that’s going on in a match
However, DoA being more lenient, there’s nothing so strict that I cannot feasibly do in a an actual match. Being able to do something in practice mode isn’t the same as finding the appropriate time to use it in an active match, with your enemy being active and defensive.
Continuing on with offensiveness, the combo system is closer to that of Tekken, and not virtual fighter. There are weight classes like in Virtua Fighter, but you can get launched 20 feet into the air too, just like Tekken. With me being so new to DoA, I’m not sure if there are any other delicate things about the combo system, other than how fast you fall, depending on your weight class, which means lighter characters can me much more easily comboed. Tekken, in particular pushes back the attacked enemy with each hit in a combo. So, doing too many hits in a combo is a bad thing.
Dead or Alive also has things like stagger escaping. What this means is that you can recover quickly from certain moves that leave you stunned. An opponent that fails to stagger escape can be hit with extended combos that shouldn’t normally work against someone who’s adept at the game.
There’s also attacks that resemble super attacks, which can only be done at half health, which can lead to the opponent being further damaged by stage hazards.
But, to put things simply, there’s a lot this game has to offer in both offensive and offensive play. I’m simply not going to be able to get too detailed with each feature the game has or else I’d never finish this review.
One of my biggest gripes about the game is the fact that you cannot lock your commands on screen. Tekken, for example, allows you to lock any particular move from the command list on the screen so you can see it while trying to perform it correctly.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 allows you to scroll through the movelist while having it locked on screen, showing one item listed at a time, so you can scroll at your leasure. The only way to see the attack on screen in DoA5U is to go to command training. But, as soon as you perform the move, it automatically scrolls to the next move in the list.
It makes things much more tedious to learn.
However, it, unlike Tekken provides full attack details. For every fighting game, 2D and 3D, each attack has special attributes. Information about their start-up, recovery, etc needs to be known to be effective.
For example. If your jab is 11 frames, and the person you’re fighting against has 9 frame jabs, you cannot jab faster than your enemy. It is numerically impossible. What this means is that you have to do something else. Either a counter the jab, block it, or move out of the way. Or, if it’s a high punch as most jabs are in 3D games, you can crouch under it.
The game also features neat little options such as saving replay data and has a story mode. But, honestly, the story was so dull and forgettable, I’m not going to bother making that into it’s own section.
Before I close, I know I’m leaving out a lot of things, but, there’s only so much I can cover. The game features a hefty amount of characters, and four of which are guest stars from Sega’s Virtua Fighter. From what I can tell, their commands have been left the same, so it’s not too much trouble to adapt from Virtua Fighter to DoA if you use one of those four characters.
The game also features nice looking stages. There isn’t a single one of them that struck me as being so boring. Some even have stage hazards which includes being punched or kicked through walls and floors and continuing the fight in a different area. There are no ring outs in this game, however.
Voice acting, from what I could tell, was in most cases pretty bad. Virtua Fighter’s low quality voice recordings are obvious in this game, which makes me wonder why those characters didn’t just get new voice dubs for this game.
But, rather the voices are set to English, or Japanese, they are equally as bad. Some worse in Japanese, while others worse in English. It’s a mixed bag and unlike Street Fighter IV, or Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, you cannot mix and match. All characters will either speak English, or Japanese, except the Virtua Fighter characters in the game, who will speak their usual tongue.
The game does also feature an online mode, however, I’ve not yet been able to take the game online as of yet and will not be reviewing that part of the game.
At the end of the day, the game looks and plays great. It’s easy to pick up and play, and features controls that are pretty simple. As a whole, the game is complicated to master, but that is expected.
As great as it is, the major problems I have with it are the ridiculous amounts of Paid Downloadable Content featured in the game. Costumes, costumes, and more costumes. Much of the female characters (well, all of them) feature several sets of bikinis, some of them covering more skin than others and it is a bit much to charge 2 dollars for one costume, of 15 for a set. There’s no point in paying for some of these items. They don’t effect the game play, and to me, it’s foolish to pay so much for the sake of having multiple different sets.
This is the reason i waited for this game to go on sale before I touched it.
Based on this, and the other negative aspects of the game, it’s final score:
Definitely worth the price, as long as you don’t go to crazy with the DLCs at various prices. Even at $40.00. However, you can pick the bare game up right now in PSN, during a limited time sale for about 23 bucks, as featured in a previous blog post.
I’ll leave you with a gameplay from the weekend that was uploaded today specifically for this review. It’s honestly nothing special. I tried to avoid combos since I don’t know any and relied solely on mind games and mixing up limbs and high and lows to keep myself from being countered.