The Dead or Alive series has always been about three main things. Beautiful women, fast paced fighting, and sleek looking backgrounds to settle scores with opponents. Over the years, each new entry into the franchise has raised the bar higher for the series, bringing together new elements to freshen up the overall experience in the DOA world. Beforehand, the only portable experience available was on Nintendo’s 3DS console, called Dead or Alive Dimensions, but it was only a matter of time before the PlayStation Vita got its chance to tango with the DOA girls. Enter Dead or Alive 5 Plus, a portable version to the newest and shiniest console addition to the series. This handheld port of the console game brings some interesting aspects to the table while still maintaining everything gamers loved about the original Dead or Alive 5.
Immediately fans of Dead or Alive will feel right at home, as most of the visuals and audio is on par with the game’s home console counterpart. Arcade mode, Story mode, versus, netplay, and everything fans have come to know is here. The newest addition however is the addition of a whole new touch fighting mode that is played in first person perspective. Unlike usual in DOA, controls in this mode switch to the Vita’s touch screen, where tapping, swiping, and pinching the touch screen will deliver a variety of moves. What is disconcerting though is the first person perspective, which can be disorienting at times and not ideal for a fighting game like Dead or Alive. In addition, the touch screen controls can be unresponsive in some situations, even substituting one command for another move sometimes. Yet the most disappointing aspect of Touch Fight is the fact that it is only limited to fighting against the computer and not with another player. Although gimmicky, it would have been nice to have the option to mess around with Touch Fight against friends through Ad-Hoc mode.
The story mode of Dead or Alive 5 Plus is exactly the same as in the console version. No changes have been made for the Vita version, so all the events from the console version are present and accounted for. While overall the story of Dead or Alive 5 is a little shallow and confusing at times, especially with the way it jumps from time to time and in-between characters, it works somewhat well on the portable in Dead or Alive 5 Plus. Since fights in Story Mode don’t really last more than a few seconds, it is ideal for anyone playing on the go. Newcomers to DOA5 may feel a little bit lost in some parts, but veterans of the game on console will appreciate the spotlight being given to all the characters.
Outside of the game modes, Dead or Alive 5 Plus is a gorgeous looking game on PlayStation Vita. The visuals, while not up to the same level as of those on the PlayStation 3, still manage to be stunning even for a portable system. Characters all look fluid in motion, with virtually no drop in frame rate even in the most hectic and effects heavy of fights. The backgrounds are alive with personality and make for some great backdrops to the action going on in the foreground. When the transitions from area to area in different levels occur, they look cinematic and don’t slow the action down one bit.
Dead or Alive 5 Plus is an overall good port for the PlayStation Vita. Fans of the franchise will love having a faithful port of the console version of DOA in portable form. The Touch Fight mode is an interesting idea that isn’t fully realized because of unresponsive controls and a disorienting first person perspective. Yet this one mode isn’t enough to keep Dead or Alive 5 Plus from delivering a quality experience on the PlayStation Vita. Anyone looking for a pretty and well-rounded fighter for the Vita will definitely want to pick this game up.
This review was based on a digital copy of the game for the PlayStation Vita provided by Tecmo Koei.