Dead or Alive 5: Last Round Review

Posted February 25, 2015 by Bryan Boshart in Video Games

Dead or Alive 5: Last Round

Developed By: Team Ninja

Published By: Koei Tecmo

Available For: PC, PS3, PS4 (Reviewed), Xbox 360, Xbox One

Release Date: February 17th, 2015


After what I felt was a mediocre entry in Dead or Alive 4, Team Ninja turned things around and released a stellar fighter with their fifth entry. A year later, an Ultimate version with extra characters was released, but now finally we reach the end (possibly) of Dead or Alive 5 with Last Round.  A few new characters and stages were added, along with the DLC fighters from the previous game, but does Last Round have enough to be worthy of a purchase?

Dead or Alive 5: Last Round controls like a dream, with every punch and kick flowing smoothly. DoA follows a simple Rock-Paper-Scissors style, but it actually is quite more than that. Strikes are your most common attack, but can be held by the defender, even mid-combo, if they guess correctly. When your opponent starts to hold or block too much, you can lay into them with a throw, dealing massive damage. The hold system is a bit unfair to button mashers, but a smart player can bait them out by stopping or delaying a combo. Juggling an opponent is the only way to ensure safe and significant damage, especially if you can slam an opponent into a wall or stage transition. The actual fights in Dead or Alive 5: Last Round are tense, mind game filled struggles that will keep you coming back.

Brad Wong just got grabbed.

Brad Wong isn’t gonna like what comes next.

The Dead or Alive fighters are mostly unique and fight quite differently. Some characters like Tina, Rachel and Bass have a small amount of strikes, but feature a wide variety of throws, including some that can be done on aerial foes. Fighters like Christie and Brad have a strong high-low game that will keep you from guessing the right type of hold. Some, like the ninjas Kasumi and Ayane will keep you guessing more due to the visual style of their moves, as they feature lots of twists and acrobatics. Others like Bayman and Lei Fang have extra types of holds and some can even execute holds that function as attacks. This wide array of fighting styles all draw from real counterparts, but take them to their most extreme. Tina’s counter-hit GTS would make CM Punk jealous and Jann Lee’s Dragon Kick propels opponents across the stage.

Quite a few new characters have been added since the release of Ultimate and are a mixed bag. Marie Rose, Nyotengu, and Phase 4 were all added as DLC, but are only on disc for the first time in Last Round. Marie Rose’s style features a lot of hops and spins to try to bait out missed attacks from your opponent, and she has a solid high low mix-up game. Nyotengu is a re-incarnation of an old series boss. She flies around the stage and can deal big damage pretty easily. Phase 4 is yet another Kasumi clone, something that the series is notorious for doing since the second title. Honoka, one of the true newcomers, uses a move or two from every fighter, albeit not as well as they would. From my limited experience, she felt like a cut-rate Dural (Virtua Fighter) or Seth (Street Fighter 4). Raidou is resurrected from the dead in a fancy new cyborg body, but otherwise feels like the same character he was in the first DoA, though nowhere near as cheap.

There are quite a few different modes to try out. DoA5’s story mode is still here, and it is standard fighting game fare. It’s ultimately forgettable outside the fact it makes you play as different characters in each chapter. Traditional arcade, time attack, and survival modes are also here for single player. Each of these modes will let you fight in single or tag team formats and is how you’ll unlock all the costumes for each character. Most players will spend their time in the robust online mode. In addition to fighting individual matches, DoA 5: LR’s online mode allows you to set up tournaments, and set rival players who you can keep track of and hope to eclipse. Replays are posted in-game and I recommend downloading some of the top players matches to see how your character can work.

It’s worth giving special attention to the great training mode in Dead or Alive 5: Last Round. There is a solid tutorial that will give you the ins and outs of DoA 5 if you are a newbie. Free Training mode has an excellent “Move Details” feature that breaks down everything about an attack including height, speed, advantage, and whether or not it will hit a sidestepping opponent. Additionally, you can set your training dummies reactions to certain attacks and even have the game adjust your inputs as if they were online. On top of Free Training there is also command training, that let’s you try out an entire movelist for a character. Finally, the combo challenge shows you practical combos for quite a few different scenarios, including tag matches.

Dead or Alive 5: Last Round is just plain gorgeous. Fights progress smoothly and most importantly without slowdown. Every move looks not only like it connects, but like it hurts, too. Character models are incredibly detailed, with extra equipment like Gen Fu’s hat getting knocked off should he happen to fall. Environmental destruction effects like explosions announce their presence, but never manage to distract from the fight. Sand, water, and dust in the environment will kick up onto your characters naturally. Sadly, while visually the game is stunning, the code is less so. Simply playing with Throwdowns set to on can cause the game to freeze. Other glitches appear, but are more infrequent and different based on your system. Luckily, as I play with Throwdowns set to off I’ve managed to avoid glitches so far.

Power attacks HURT when they hit, but aren't easily comboed into.

Power attacks HURT when they hit, but aren’t easily comboed into.

Dead or Alive 5: Last Round is a fantastic 3D fighter. Its intricate mechanics are the epitome of simple to learn, hard to master. Sadly, many of the new characters feel uninspired and the game has some fairly major glitches. The negatives aside though, if you are a fan of fighting games, or just in the mood to show up your buddies, than DoA 5: LR is worth a look.

About the Author

Bryan Boshart

Hey, I'm Bryan. I write video game reviews here at We The Nerdy. In my spare time I mostly play fighting games, but play almost anything.

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