Dead or Alive 5: Last Round - PC

Release Date:

March 30, 2015

Also on:

PC PS4 Xbox One

Viewing USA:

Also on UK.


In Dead or Alive 5: Last Round, gamers can now choose from 34 characters, including the new additions Honoka and Raidou, and battle in 26 different arenas, including the return of the classic Crimson and Danger Zone stages. Characters also have new costumes and hairstyles, the graphics have been upgraded, and the included DLC offers more than 20 alternate costume sets. Combat once again takes a rock-paper-scissors form, with participants exchanging a series of strikes, holds, and throws to outmuscle their opponent.

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'Dead or Alive 5: Last Round' hit the market as one of the lead in fighting titles of the new generation. We put on our gloves to get a taste of the fight ourselves.

Dead or Alive' has been one of the keynote franchises for the developers at Koei Tecmo. The fighting title first became a commercial success over a decade ago, back when the genre was much more crowded than it is today. As more and more gamers chose to chase after different genres, such as the open world and sandbox fads that we are currently experiencing, Tecmo kept plugging forward with what treated them well. Despite the fact that the franchise has had a few lean years, things are finally looking on the up and up.

When we ask the casual gamer what 'Dead or Alive' is about they'll typically respond with something about scantily clad Japanese women and then mention the fighting aspect as a secondary part of the equation. While these fans aren't wrong, they may be misdirected with their priorities. While the games are definitely hyper sexualized, they are still well crafted fighting engines. 'Last Round' did not deviate from this adherence to quality fights and we are thankful for it.

'Last Round' brings back to life an older entry of the series but it does it in such a way so as to generate a new fanbase. Right off the bat, 'Last Round' stands tall over the 2012 release based on the fact that it is released with all of the DLC that had been individually purchased for the prior title. This will aggravate gamers who paid every hard earned dollar with the last release, but new gamers are being given the keys to a mass of new content.

With that being said our first thoughts upon picking up the title were, 'Wow'. 'Dead or Alive' has never looked as good as it does today. Harnessing the power of the PlayStation 4 and the savvy of game development advances over the past couple of years, 'Last Round' comes to us as a sleek and sexy game. Character models are completely unique, no longer looking like reskinned versions of one another, and the physics involved with just the hair looks impressive. Textures are gorgeously done and the various outfits that your fighter can wear all pop off of the screen.

The majority of the action takes place in the same sorta three dimensional fighting environments. You'll find pretty much all of the same maps that you grew familiar with in the last edition of the game, only they look better thanks to the graphical facelift. The environments feel more a part of the game rather than backgrounds. Snowing, raining, and other weather elements are more incorporated and while they aren't mindblowing, they still add to the overall experience.

Along with these old maps we've also been given some great new environments to do martial arts battle inside of. There are danger zones which make you learn to be aware of the land around you. You will want to avoid certain parts of the map for fear that the AI will kick or punch you into it. Conversely you can also use these danger zones to your advantage in order to end a tough fight while in the early going. It takes some practice and patience but boy is it satisfying to end a fight that you've been struggling with in the opening minute.

All of the other things we've mentioned take a back seat to gameplay once the announcer yells 'Fight!'. So with that in mind, 'Last Round' needed to deliver the goods when the controller was in our hands and it was time to mash on some buttons. But did it? Is this entry still struggling with the problems that have plagued the last few entries? Namely, slow response times and a general feeling of lag in the fight?

As we've said before, the game features all of the DLC characters that you had to pay for in the last entry. Beause of this the roster is huge and there are a ton of different fighting styles to choose from. Some fighters, like Honoka, are good at a little bit of everything (except avoiding the Japanese School Girl trope). Other characters are made with certain combat styles in mind. Finding which works for you is part of the fun and the process of becoming good at 'DOA'. Everyone plays these characters in mostly different ways, so if you can find the keys to their best maneuvers then you can lead them to the win.

The fighting on the screen is as fast as ever and we get to feel every punch due to the beautiful sound mixing. Fights are furious and filled with a flurry of acrobatic maneuvers. Some attacks will leave you scratching your head as to their physical possibility, but mostly you'll be enamored by the different attacks that you can get in before you get pulled into a masterful AI combo.

The game fights pretty cleanly and you don't feel like you've been cheated when you lose (though you'll still feel bitter). Going through the campaign mode is a joy thanks to a rather interesting set of stories (at least for a fighting game). We don't really think the campaign mode is the primary draw as the majority of gamers will spend their time in the multiplayer modes.

At the end of the day we want what Tecmo so readily offers with, 'Dead or Alive 5: Last Round'. We want a fighting game that brings us back to the classic fundamentals: big hits, cool combos, and attractive characters. Some games, like the 'Naruto' or 'DragonBall' series tend to overload the controls with combos. We like this scaled back approach because it feels more true to course and based on skill, rather than luck.

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Koei Tecmo Games

Release Date:

March 30, 2015

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