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Dead or Alive 5 Plus Review

Replay Value:
Online Gameplay:
Overall Rating:
Team Ninja
Tecmo Koei
Number Of Players:
Release Date:
March 19, 2013

I never thought Dead or Alive would actually be a better experience on the PlayStation Vita. While I’ve always respected the excellent power and potential of Sony’s new portable, I’ve always seen DoA as a franchise that is best played on the big screen. Perhaps it’s because the technical proficiency and smoothness of the visuals need the capability of a console, or maybe it’s because the overt, over-the-top nature of the series is just begging for portrayal on your HDTV. But despite the reservations, Dead or Alive 5 Plus turned out very well.

While it’s true that not every element of those super slick graphics has faithfully made the leap to the portable world, this remains one of the most impressive graphical presentations ever seen on a handheld. There’s plenty of great detail and the character modeling is fantastic. There are also a lot of really nice touches, such as the dirt and water accumulating on a fighter during a fight (falling on the ground a lot will do that). The animations are great and even though you will spot a few low-res textures here and there, this is a beautifully appointed visual display.

The audio doesn’t hit the same level of accomplishment in my eyes, but that’s only because I have an issue with the generic soundtrack and some of the effects sound off. Still, the ability of the Vita to produce high-quality audio comes to the forefront, and it actually seems to make up for the software’s lagging. This is the one area where I found the console iteration to be significantly better but again, much of this is based on subjective perception. The objective analysis is solid, as the combat effects are on point and appropriately loaded with jarring impacts, and even the voices aren’t too tremendously bad. …as if that really matters.

As I said above, I was a little leery about playing this supposedly updated version of DoA5 on a handheld. #1 on my reservation list was the fact that if Tecmo really wanted to go all out with the graphics, the frame rate was bound to suffer. This has happened in past Vita productions and when it does, I always lament the design choice because I’d much rather have silky smooth frame rate as opposed to a few extra pixels. Thankfully, Dead or Alive 5 Plus sacrifices very little and still runs like a champ. Those crystal clear visuals and awesome animations don’t have any negative effect on a frame rate that rarely – if ever – dips below 60 frames per second.

The best part is that Tecmo did a really good job of making very minor graphical cuts. Therefore, what they did have to sacrifice is barely even noticed, resulting in a production that looks great and consistently runs along without a hitch. You also won’t complain about the gameplay sacrifices because in truth, there really aren’t very many. Sure, we don’t have the online lobbies anymore, but we’ve got cool replay downloads, in-depth training, Facebook integration, and even a slight reorganization that makes the experience more streamlined. All in all, most every significant and important feature made it into this handheld installment.