Dead or Alive 5: Last Round is the latest release in the Dead or Alive series and is basically a remake of Dead or Alive 5. But does it survive the transition to next-gen?
If you’re talking about the insane boob physics, hell yeah. Let’s get this out of the way up top, Dead or Alive 5: Last Round has crazier boob physics than any previous DoA game. There’s even different modes for physics, including Original, Dead or Alive and the aptly named OMG mode. Playing with the physics set on original or Dead or Alive isn’t that bad, but the moment you put on OMG mode the boobs get a mind of their own.
Despite that though, Dead or Alive 5: Last Round continues to succeed the DoA series as a solid fighter with a really in-depth story. I’ll be honest, the story mode requires some knowledge of the previous Dead or Alive games (which I have little of) but is still pretty enjoyable. Each character gets a great introduction that really shows off their personality and abilities. Despite the linearity of it, I recommend the story mode if you’re new. It has a fair learning curve and lets you pick up a few of the easier characters to play as, such as Kasumi and Mila. Speaking of Mila, she is my main and I challenge you all to a fight.
The story begins with showing that Helena has taken over DOATEC, an evil company from the DoA series, but means to use the company’s tech for peace. She then decides to have another Dead or Alive tournament, hosted by Zack, “to show the world the principles and philosophies upholding the new DOATEC.” Meanwhile, Kasumi is hunting down a clone of herself called Alpha-152. Like I said, it’s complex and needs a little context, but is still pretty enjoyable.
Y’know what, I’ve got to come back to it. You are gonna see a lot of boob and upper thigh in this game. Even if you don’t pick the swimsuit costumes, some characters just don’t wear much. Even Kasumi’s basic costume features a bit o’ good ol’ cleavage ‘n thigh. The thing is, DoA knows how absurd it is. The huge fanbase the series already has is, at this point, pretty much used to how ridiculous the costumes and sheer amount of fanservice is in store for them. I can’t stress this enough, if you don’t like fanservice then steer clear of Dead or Alive 5: Last Round. This is how good/bad it can get. And there’s even a mode for viewing the female characters enjoying a private island and a splash in the sea in their bikinis… If you’re so inclined.
Each character is unique enough to feel differently as they fight – even the two playable Kasumi clones Alpha-152 and Phase 4 are completely different. Some of the roster have slightly similar movesets but there’s enough there to differentiate them.
Gameplay-wise, there’s not much to expand upon. You’ve got a huge roster of characters and costumes, a boatload of stages and a bunch of combos to learn. Like I said, this game is essentially an updated remake of Dead or Alive 5, so it’s nothing insanely new if you’ve played the previous one. You’ve got high and low attacks, grabs, combos, running moves, counters, stuns etc. Some characters are better at certain things, but most of the basic characters like Kasumi and Mila are easy to pick up and learn without too much effort – until you get into their in-depth combos at least. The controls are tight and precise, making combos a little easier to pull off but still tough if you’re not well-versed in fighting games.
Dead or Alive 5: Last Round also gives you a selection of gamemodes including Versus, Tag Team, Time Attack, Arcade, Endless and Online. These modes give you a nice variety of things to master and get high scores on, but doesn’t really mix it up from kicking the crap out of enemies until you’re dead, out of time or you’ve beat the gauntlet of fighters you’re taking on. The Online mode is great but a little inactive, so it was hard to get a good feel of it for this review. That said, you basically join a lobby and spectate fights until it’s your turn – usually the winner stays in and the loser is put to the bottom of the queue, and you’ll move up a place until you’re on the battlefield.
Graphically Dead or Alive 5: Last Round is absolutely beautiful. It’s definitely the best the series has ever looked, especially when you notice the smaller details. Characters that fight on warm stages will start to visibly sweat, and you’ll often be able to see the beads of sweat run down their face and across their body (depending on your costume). If your character steps into the water, droplets will get kicked up as they walk. When you fall in, there’s a satisfying splash. The devs clearly know how to make a fighting game look pretty, and totally succeeded. The soundtrack accompanies the intense combat fantastically too. Some stages will feature the most intense track in the game, others try to match the theme (such as Zack Island‘s track filled with steel drums, acoustic guitar and upbeat rhythm). The biggest issue I had with the soundtrack though is that it’s often hard to even hear the music over all the combat. That’s more of an issue on my end though, as the sound options are fully customizable.
So is Dead or Alive 5 worth it? If you like fighting games, absolutely. It’s hard to learn the more in-depth combos which can leave players with a frequent ass-whooping online, but the entire offline game will give a fantastic and satisfying challenge.
This game was reviewed with a PS4 copy from the lovely devs.