Review: Dead Or Alive 5 Plus leaves a jiggly impact on the PS Vita
When Dead Or Alive 5 came out last year for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, it was a superb addition to the series. While it didn't do anything fundamentally different from previous releases, it did include some great new fighters -- including a pair of Virtua Fighter legends -- and incorporated some fun gameplay (with better counters) and interactive backgrounds. Oh, and, of course, it brought back the boob physics -- that's still a huge selling point, after all.
Months later, we now have the PlayStation Vita version, which is a welcome surprise since we haven't seen a quality fighter for the handheld since PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale back in November. The game as a whole hasn't changed much in its transition to the handheld front, though there are even more fighters than before and a couple of extra modes to keep you coming back.
While "boob physics" are a nice selling point with the DOA franchise, I happen to like the balancing that's present in Dead Or Alive 5 Plus. It actually feels more natural than ever before -- counters don't rely entirely on luck to execute, swift combos can be chained together into multiple hits, and precision controls can easily turn the tide of a match. It feels great with the Vita, and without the need of touchscreen controls.
It's great to see fighters that make a difference in combat, as well. Tina's ideal for wrestling, throwing foes around and doing some great jump-kick moves; Sarah feels almost as natural as her Virtua Fighter days, with some devastating leg maneuvers and versatility; and Rig, a great new addition to the series, is quite swift with his kicking techniques. These are just a minor part of the cast, with various fighters and styles to choose from.
Another tactic that'll grow on you is the interactivity with backgrounds. You can slam opponents through walls into new fighting areas, watching them take damage as they come tumbling to the ground. You can also use certain things to your advantage, like electrical cables in a wrestling ring and exploding panels in a factory. Knowing where they are and launching your adversaries into them is part of the fun.
Dead Or Alive 5 Plus comes with a slew of unlockables, including additional fighters (many available right from the start), extra costumes (bikinis and cheerleading costumes for the win!) and more. You can also take on a variety of modes, though some are weaker than others. Arcade and Versus are rather straightforward, but Story is rather dull when it comes to explaining the mantra of the DOA franchise. Touch Fight Plus, meant to take advantage of the PS Vita's capabilities, is gimmicky at best; it's something you'll play once or twice and never return to, despite the idea of fighting in first person.
The online fighting isn't bad, either. There is some noticeable lag during certain matches, especially playing cross-platform with PS3 owners. However, it works rather well in the long run, letting you set up counters and combo attacks with ease. Don't be afraid to log in and give it a try.
Where DOA 5 Plus impresses the most is in its presentation. The graphics resemble the console versions, with hardly any loss of detail -- or jiggle -- during the proceedings. The explosions look fantastic, and the way the fighting action keeps up on the portable screen is really something, even if some of the cinematic intros are cheesy. The music's not bad, though most of it is typical fighting fluff. While the voicework is okay, if we're being honest, Tina's a little too Texan for her own good. Yee-haw?
While Dead Or Alive 5 Plus can't really compare to the much-superior Mortal Kombat on PS Vita, it's a fine second place title -- a capable fighter that will keep you busy for hours at a time as you play around with all the combatants and unlock the goods. And yes, the sexiness continues to flow from this series -- because why stop a good thing now?