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Dead Or Alive 5: Last Round, Has Tecmo’s brawler punched itself out?

There’s Something Telling about the way Team Ninja promotes Dead Or Alive 5: Last Round. Just as with the three previous releases of the game, the team’s preference is to refer to the game as ‘fighting entertainment’ rather than a fighting game much in the same way as the WWE promotes its product as ‘sports entertainment’ rather than professional wrestling. In both cases, the core genre remains an integral part of what’s on offer, but the goal is to draw in a wide audience by placing a particular emphasis on the surrounding spectacle.


What this means in practical terms is that the things which take effort to learn in most fighting games combos, reversals and the like are easy to perform in Dead Or Alive 5: Last Round. Every player is capable of pulling off moves that look awesome and the course of any fight can change in an instant, which makes it the perfect game to play with friends. Unfortunately, hardened fighting game fans will find that the game doesn’t offer as much scope for advanced play as the likes of the Tekken and Virtua Fighter series. Of course, this is nothing new, as this was true of Dead Or Alive 5 when it first arrived two and a half years ago.

What is new in this edition of the game is the character roster, which includes the debut of high school girl, Honoka, and the reanimated Raidou, making his first PlayStation appearance since his role as the final boss in the original Dead Or Alive. Raidou lives up to his imposing appearance, being strong in all areas except speed, but while Honoka is speedier, her move set isn’t quite as combo-friendly as you might expect. She actually borrows several moves from the grapplers including the bear hug, a technique which looks hilarious when delivered by a diminutive teenager.
“THE VISUALS ORIGINATE FROM A PS3 GAME THAT CAME OUT IN 2012, AND IT SHOWS”
The game also includes every character featured in previous editions of the game, including Virtua Fighter crossover characters such as Akira, and those originally sold as DLC such as Nyotengu. Also included is a pair of new stages which hark back to older games, The Danger Zone and Crimson.

Given the focus on spectacle, you might think that the move to PS4 for Dead Or Alive 5: Last Round would result in something of a graphical feast. The game still does some things that we’re waiting for other games to catch up to, particularly the way dirt and damage accumulate on fighters, but sadly the upgrades are rather unspectacular overall. The game runs at the expected 60 frames per second in 1080p, particle effects have been added to explosive environmental attacks, and there are some small enhancements to the appearance of the characters.

This leaves us to focus on what hasn't been enhanced, which happens to be quite a lot. Jagged edges are visible throughout the game due to the lack of anti-aliasing, and environments appear to have been given very little attention. Background objects stand out more than they should due to their low-polygon models, and there are instances where low-resolution textures are particularly noticeable especially during throw animations, when you get a good look at the floor. We’ll definitely take performance over prettiness when it comes to fighters and the game never disappoints in that regard, but the visuals originate from a PS3 game that came out in 2012, and it shows.

If you’re an existing owner of Dead Or Alive 5: Ultimate on PS3, you’re able to retain your existing DLC purchases in Dead Or Alive 5: Last Round, which is welcome for die-hard fans. However, if your interest in the old version has waned, the number of extra stages and characters on offer just doesn’t provide enough new gameplay to justify making the upgrade. For newcomers, the game
is worthy of consideration particularly given the price point. If you can accept its limitations, chiefly the lack of depth and the lack of visual upgrade, Dead Or Alive 5: Last Round is a solid game with a lot of content which will provide some great multiplayer entertainment.

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