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Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . With five new characters, improved online play and extra modes, Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate is a great deal at $40. Fans who own 2012's model may not like buying a brand new game, but everybody else needs to pick it up on the strength of the single-player story mode. Trust me; you've never seen anything like it before. Rating: 78%
Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate
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  • Review Score:

  • B+
Is it possible to create a fighting game without releasing a bunch of questionable expansions? Apparently not, as Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate marks the second retail update to Tecmo's popular 2012 fighting game. Cynical cash grab or not, this enhanced version of Dead or Alive 5 offers enough new content to warrant a second look.

For the budget price of $39.99, Dead or Alive Ultimate comes with all of the characters, stages and story found in last year's release. In addition, this expansion features five new characters, including two from the Ninja Gaiden universe and one from Sega's Virtua Fighter franchise. This version also includes new modes, gameplay tweaks and a complete overhaul of the online tag-team battles. It's a good deal for anybody who missed out on the 2012 model.

Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate (PS3)

For those who haven't been following this long-running series, Dead or Alive is best known for its accessible gameplay and roster full of busty beauties wearing revealing outfits. But gamers who are able to overlook the blatant sexism will find a rewarding fighter with some of the most impressive levels the genre has to offer. 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 and a very drunk Brad Wong. 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 Ultimate (PS3)

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, Pai Chan and Jacky Bryant, all from Sega's Virtua Fighter series.

On top of the Virtua Fighter characters, Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate also includes the return of Ryu Hayabusa. But he's not the only one from Ninja Gaiden, as Rachel and Momiji join the cast. I don't think I need to explain why Rachel is a perfect fit next to Tina and Christie.

In crafting Dead or Alive 5, Tecmo decided to take a page from the 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 Ultimate (PS3)

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.
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