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Dead or Alive 5 Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . You might not know it from the box, but Dead or Alive 5 is one of the most baffling games of the year. It's full of weird editing, ninja clones and large breasted women. And that doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of what makes this game so incomprehensible. Thankfully the solid gameplay and gorgeous graphics make up for the often disjointed story telling! Rating: 78%
Dead or Alive 5
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  • Review Score:

  • B+
With the skimpy clothing and annoying characters, I wouldn't blame you for wanting to dismiss Dead or Alive. This is a series that looks like it's specifically designed to appeal to teenage boys and nothing else. And yet, after five iterations, I'm constantly impressed with how much I enjoy the core fundamentals of Dead or Alive. Sure it's full of busty beauties brawling in skimpy clothing, but it's also one of the most accessible fighting games currently available on any platform. As goofy as it is, this is one series that shouldn't be dismissed.

This fourth sequel keeps things simple, refusing to radically change the core mechanics or add too many new characters. In fact, all of the characters you've grown to know and love return for another go at the DOA tournament. We get Bayman the soldier, Bass the motorcycle-riding pro wrestler, stoic Hayate, a very drunk Brad Wong and, of course, Ninja Gaiden's own Ryu Hayabusa. But wait, you can't forget the women that ultimately dominate this roster. We're given fan favorites like Kasumi, Helena, Tina, Christie, Ayane, Leifang and Hitomi, all with plenty of outfits to try on.

Dead or Alive 5 (Xbox 360)

New to the roster are Mila (a spunky young MMA fighter) and Rig (a dark man who wears a hoodie). Sadly, neither of these characters are as colorful as Zack or Kasumi. Rig's bad temper left me cold and I could only handle so much of Mila's chirpiness. Also new to Dead or Alive are Akira Yuki, Sarah Bryant, and Pai Chan, all from Sega's Virtua Fighter series. This addition isn't ad jarring as you might think and help round out the game familiar faces.

In crafting Dead or Alive 5, Tecmo decided to take a page from last year's wildly successful Mortal Kombat reboot and include a lengthy story mode. In short, the plot revolves around Helena trying to rebuild the shattered DOATEC by funding (surprise!) a brand new fighting tournament. Oh, and she might be building an army full of cloned super fighters to help her take over the world.

Dead or Alive 5 (Xbox 360)

I imagine that at some point the game's plot was written out just like that. However, somewhere between creating the story and fitting it into the game, the script shattered into a million little pieces when it was accidentally dropped on the floor. Unfortunately, nobody at Tecmo could figure out how to put it back together, leaving us with a scatterbrained narrative that makes no sense. Dead or Alive 5 suffers from a severe case of ADHD.

We're fed pieces of the story a little at a time, cutting between characters and events in the most jarring way possible. Characters will seemingly teleport from country to country for no reason. Early on, Ayane travels from the United States to China to Antarctica without a single word of explanation (or wardrobe change). Even when the game eventually wraps back around to show the same events from a different point of view, it doesn't explain how everybody is able to travel great distances without concerns about money.

Dead or Alive 5 (Xbox 360)

Also confusing is the tone of the story. At times it's deadly serious and full of personal drama. And yet, other times, it's so laughably goofy that I almost expect Porky Pig to jump out and do his best to say "That's all, folks!" This is a soap opera full of good looking people with devious plots. Unlike One Life to Live or General Hospital, here the characters don't have mad passionate sex. Instead they fight.

The reasons why characters fight is comical at best. Half the time it's for something so petty that it wouldn't even provoke an argument, let alone fisticuffs. Granted, a bit of that is to be expected in this kind of story, but it's hard to take any of Dead or Alive's story seriously until it's too late. The real tragedy is that the schizophrenic editing actually undermines what should have been an emotional ending. It all just left me scratching my head in utter bafflement.
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