Dead or Alive 5 Plus shows its best moves on Vita
The PlayStation Vita is no stranger to fighting games. In the last year we’ve already seen the likes of BlazBlue, Mortal Kombat, PS All-Stars Battle Royale and Street Fighter all appear on Sony’s handheld console. So does Dead or Alive 5 Plus have what it takes to compete?
The first thing you’ll notice about DOA5+ is just how incredible it looks on the Vita’s OLED screen. Team Ninja has made no secret of the fact they wanted to get it as visually close to the PS3 version as possible, and it’s fair to say that they definitely succeeded.
As you’d expect, it doesn’t look quite as sharp as the PS3 version of DOA5, but it’s pretty damn close. Character models in particular look amazing, but the environments are still extremely impressive. It’s very difficult to find a single jagged edge anywhere in the game.
Not only that, but gameplay is locked at 60fps, which is crucial for anticipating your opponent’s next move and preserving the fluidity of a fight. The trade-off is that Tag matches have sadly been cut, as having two extra characters in a match would lead to a drop in framerate.
That 60fps is also maintained when fighting online, including cross-play matches between a player on PS3 and a player on Vita. In such cases, an icon next to each fighter’s name reveals which platform they are currently playing on; this is also true of the online leaderboards.
Far from being a simple port, Dead or Alive 5 Plus also comes with several new features and other bonus content that can only be played in this version of the game. Along with a handful of music tracks and costumes are two original modes that offer new ways to play.
First up is Training Plus, an overhauled training mode designed to teach everything you need to know about DOA. It’s split into four sections: Free Training, Command Training, Tutorial and Combo Challenge. The first two return from DOA5, while the latter two are exclusive to DOA5+.
Tutorial is split up into nearly 200 lessons, covering everything from basic moves to Critical Bursts and Hi Counter Offensive Holds. Even gamers who dismiss DOA as a simple button basher should seriously check this mode out, as it may force you to rethink your opinion.
Meanwhile, Combo Challenge is similar to Command Training, except you are tasked with performing lengthy combos rather than individual moves. Each character has 15 unique challenges of varying difficulty, so there’s a lot of content to get your teeth into here.
The second new mode is Touch Fight. You play in a first-person view, and moves are performed by tapping, swiping and pinching the Vita’s touchscreen. It’s a decent enough distraction, but to be honest we can’t see many serious players spending more than five minutes on it.
As well as cross-play, DOA5+ also supports cross-save. If you own the PS3 version of DOA5, syncing your save file with Plus will immediately unlock any titles and costumes you have obtained on PS3 for use on PS Vita, as well as the other way around.
However, it’s worth noting that any trophies relating to items gained in this way will not be unlocked, and an icon will be displayed next to such items until they have been obtained legitimately on both platforms. This isn’t a huge deal, but is definitely something to bear in mind.
There are also a handful of other less obvious but still extremely welcome improvements in this version of the game. For example, all 24 characters are unlocked from the very beginning, so you no longer have to drive yourself crazy earning 300 titles before you can play as Alpha-152.
Equally welcome is the fact that any photos taken in Spectator mode are automatically exported to the Photos app in the LiveArea menu, and can then be exported to other devices. In the PS3 version, screenshots weren’t viewable outside of the game, so it’s great to see this feature added on Vita.
You’ve also probably heard that the game features cross-buy DLC, so any costumes you buy on PS3 will also work on Vita, and vice-versa. Another nice touch is that the Zack Island stage (released as free DLC on PS3) is already included in DOA5+, so there’s no need to re-download it on PS Vita.
Overall, Dead or Alive 5 Plus absolutely delivers the definitive version of DOA5, with tons of extra content and very few compromises. Whether you missed out on the PS3 version or are a diehard fan who wants to play DOA on the go, Dead or Alive 5 Plus is well deserving of your time and money.