Dead or Alive 5 was another solid entry in the popular series, and perhaps it makes perfect sense to bring all that “bouncy” goodness to the PlayStation Vita. Arriving in March in the form of Dead or Alive 5 Plus, the portable iteration not only boasts cross-platform features, but it’ll also include a new Tutorial Mode and nifty little extras like being able to select your favorite music for each battle. And don’t forget that the Vita is a very capable unit; it should be able to effectively capture all that great color and detail we saw in the PS3 version.
The cross-platform stuff is the most appealing. Developer Team Ninja is going all the way with this feature: If you unlock a character in one version, it’ll be immediately available in the other; if you purchase downloadable content for the game, it’ll be available for both versions. And yes, Vita players will be able to challenge PS3 players and vice versa. Your progress – ala your game save – will also transfer between the two versions, so it should feel like one cohesive experience from top to bottom. Therefore, if you’ve got DoA5 sitting at home for the PS3 already, Plus for the Vita would be a logical addition to your library.
The developer is promising a fluid 60 frames per second with no lag, regardless of platform. The lag issue has been a sticking point for some Vita users who have experienced such a problem in the past, but you shouldn’t run into that here. On top of which, there’s a darn good reason this game has “Plus” in the title— In addition to over 20 playable characters and all the destructible stages from the PS3 version, there will be new moves to master. That alone should be enough to appeal to the hardcore fighting aficionados, especially if your favorite fighter has a few extra moves at his or her disposal. True fans know all the moves!
Lastly, there’s the new touchscreen controls specifically designed for the Vita. With a simple tap on your opponent, you can execute a certain attack; you can even hold the Vita vertically and use a unique first-person view! In other words, you wouldn’t see your character; just the character of your opponent, and then you’d strike various parts of the body with your finger. Team Ninja is also saying there are even more animations; to be specific, “three times the detail for each move in real time,” such as delay interval frames. Oh, and I’m sure the new Tutorial Mode will help newcomers to the series who aren't schooled on all things DoA.
Dead or Alive 5 Plus is set to hit the Vita on March 19 in North America. Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus launched with the Vita last February, if you recall. However, I think this new DoA5 iteration offers more than Sigma in terms of fresh additions and upgrades, and with such a robust suite of cross-platform features, it’s extra enticing for those who own the PS3 version. I’m just a little worried about how cheesy and tacked-on the touchscreen mechanics might feel; there’s just no shot they’ll be as accurate as the standard – and always ultra-precise – button inputs. But hey, touch controls are optional and in general, it should be a great game.
1/21/2013 Ben Dutka