Review by LiquidGearSolid

"A premium-quality fighting game, Team Ninja has regained my trust."

The Dead or Alive series has long been one of my favorite fighting game series, but after the disastrous reception of Ninja Gaiden 3 and the sexist treatment of the women by the male characters in DOA Dimensions I was afraid the new Team Ninja would not be able to produce a quality DOA game. All sorts of crazy rumors about changes in DOA5 started flying on the message boards, but thankfully many were greatly exaggerated. Now here's the real info:

Presentation: First off, the main menu has changed drastically. Gone is the traditional side-scrolling menu, replaced by a more practical branching vertical menu. The colors are now red and black with white text. This is jarring at first, but I found it made accessing different modes much easier. It also gives the game a gritty, more serious feel that I really like. Story mode has been overhauled as well. Now instead of multiple endings, all of the series' new and returning characters are involved in a single plot that manages to make most of them playable while not having their victories/defeats contradict each other. This in my opinion is a huge improvement over the old 'individual endings' story mode, which never really explained what exactly was going on. 9/10

Graphics: This game is beautiful. The new, more realistic art style makes DOA4 look like a previous-gen game. Looking at one of the famous DOA ladies, even if you're a series veteran, is like seeing her for the first time. And yes gentlemen, their breasts are still big. Just not as huge as they used to be. The character models, costumes and environments are detailed to a level that makes even Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 look dated. The characters will even sweat and get dirt on them as the fight progresses. The only weak points are the animals, which almost look like they could've been done on a previous-gen console. 9.5/10

Sound: This is the game's biggest weak point. The quality is alright, but the music itself is largely forgettable. Only the BGM for the Lab stage stands out to me. They also decided to use rap music during the credits instead of the usual Aerosmith rock music. The new song is titled "I'm a Fighter", which makes it seem like Team Ninja is trying way too hard to push its tag line. That line is already on the disc label, the back of the case, the instruction booklet, and one of the in-game titles. Enough is enough, I get the point! That said, the english voice acting is actually good this time around. I was going to switch to Japanese voices at first, but the new english voice actors actually sound right. 7/10

Gameplay: The DOA triangle system is friendly to newcomers while still giving serious players ways to perfect their skill. Characters are easy to learn, but hard to master. In Story Mode, there is no tutorial mode. The game trains you as you go along. Any remaining questions you have can be answered in Training Mode. One of the few flaws is that some characters don't have enough moves in certain areas. One of the new characters has only 69 moves, in a game where the low end is usually 80-90 moves. This makes the character difficult to use on higher difficulties. Also, Survival no longer has a tag team mode and Team Battle has been removed completely. 8/10

Replayability: With addictive fighting, 524 titles to get, and very high requirements for unlocking certain characters and costumes, this game will have completionists playing for literally months to unlock everything. 10/10

Conclusion: DOA5 is the definitive game in the series, a rebirth that makes all other DOA games look obsolete. It has very few flaws and a new, darker, more lively feel. The characters now have personalities thanks to the redesigned story mode, and some are certain to worm their way into your heart. If you're into fighting games or beautiful women, do yourself a favor and give DOA5 a try. I doubt you'll be disappointed.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 10/05/12

Game Release: Dead or Alive 5 (US, 09/25/12)

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