Countdown to Dead or Alive 5 - Day 4: Dead or Alive 2 Ultimate

Posted by AjayRaz (12477 posts) -

oh, hi there. i'm Ajay and i'm so excited for Dead or Alive 5 that i'm hella bloggin' until September 25th, when DOA5 hits shelves in North America. i'm playing through every game in the series and i figure i may as well blog about them while i'm at it! yesterday, i took a lengthy look at Dead or Alive 3-- DOA's debut on the Xbox which you can check out over here.

here's what i've done so far:

there are only five days until DOA5 releases. isn't that.. completely insane? hearing Jeff talk about the story mode on the latest bombcast makes me imagine that it's going to be as messed up and ridiculous as it ever was before. it should be lots of fun.

however, that's still five days until. let's talk about a game that's out now!

Dead or Alive 2 Ultimate (2004) - Xbox

this box art is pretty alright, actually

Dead or Alive 2 Ultimate is a remake of DOA2 for the Xbox, with updated graphics, cutscene, stages, and all sorts of stuff. i already covered Dead or Alive 2 Hardcore on the Playstation 2, but this version is a pretty huge leap from that game, and contains some major series additions well worth discussing in its own blog.

What's New?

Dead or Alive 2 has two of the most important additions to the series that shaped the way for DOA4 and 5. the first one is the addition of multiplayer over Xbox Live. a bunch of dudes could get together in what i think was.. eight player lobbies and beat the hell out of each other, complete with tag team and tournament modes, leaderboards and some other online goodies. i never played DOA2U over Xbox Live, so i can't say much about the quality of the netcode but it was a pretty big leap for the series.

in addition to online play, Team NINJA changed up the counter system this time around. usually, how the counter system worked is that you could use three inputs to counter incoming strikes. you could counter high, med and low strikes. in DOA2U, they changed it so you have to counter med kicks and med punches separately. prior, you could just hold back + hold button (usually X on the Xbox controller) and you could counter both med punches and kicks, but this time around you have to press forward + hold to counter kicks, and back + hold for punches. at first, it seems like a small change but it's a total game changer, giving offensive players more chances to pull off varied combos and defensive players couldn't simply mash out counter holds as much as they could before.

oh crap! look who it is!

so, there you go. two huge additions to DOA2U that made a pretty big difference to how the game played. along with that, if you've got a DOA3 or DOA Xtreme Beach Volleyball save, you could totally unlock Hitomi as a playable character. she wasn't introduced until Dead or Alive 3, so it's pretty cool that she's in this time around, even if she's not playable in story mode. also, while it's small, the addition of special grabs while you're near a slope or stairs is a a cool ass addition, too.

They weren't kidding

what do you get when you take Dead or Alive 2, an already great game and inject it full of new costumes, stages, music and overall content? you get nothing other than Dead or Alive 2 Ultimate-- my personal favorite Dead or Alive game. it's a game that when i start, i can't stop playing. the Dead or Alive 2 fighting system, with graphics that still look pretty good today and even better music than before makes for one hell of a package-- and that doesn't even include the online play.

i've already said what i had to say about Dead or Alive 2 before. it was a game that improved upon DOA1 greatly with wonderful interactive stages, a slew of brand new moves and a much better overall feel with combos and the fighting in general. things remain largely unchanged apart from the addition of some new grabs, and the change in the counter system. the change to make the counter system more complex is something i didn't like at first, but after spending a lot of time with this changed counter system, there are things i still don't like that much about it, but it makes the game a lot more rewarding for players who spend their time practicing combos and mix-ups, and simply don't want to be beaten by somebody who just decides to mash counter holds and hope that they get lucky.

at times, this game is pretty as hell

coming from Dead or Alive 3, DOA2U looks pretty stunning for both the time period and console that it's running on. being a 2004 release, i continue to be stunned by how gorgeous this game looks sometimes. there's a lot more detail this time around, such as trails in the snow when the fighters move around in it, seeing the characters' breath in cold weather, and other small details that i appreciate. the boobs are.. crazy again unlike how they were in Dead or Alive 3, but it's something that ya deal with, and don't even notice as you play more and more.

the stages in Dead or Alive 2 Ultimate are, in my opinion, the best stages in the entire series. it takes already great stages from Dead or Alive 2, and updates the a bunch, adding in more interactivity with the environment, Danger Zones and generally makes them a lot more fun to play in. in addition to that, it sports a bunch of new stages that both look great and are ton of fun to play in. new stages such as The Great Wall of China, a booming night club and a rainy courtyard during a thunder storm (which remains the only stage in the series where it rains) are great new additions that stack up with the older stages to make a pretty big amount of variety in stages. added Danger Zones to older stages such as throwing an opponent off a rooftop and through a huge neon sign, destroying all of the lights and then having it break off and fall onto the street below are nice additions too that spice up already great stages.

as if that weren't enough, Team NINJA added a ton of new costumes for each character-- especially the female characters, of course. some characters can get up to twenty costumes.

TWENTY COSTUMES. THAT'S NOT EVEN LIKE, DLC OR LIKE, ADD ON CONTENT OR ANYTHING.

looks like they just couldn't get rid of the DOAXBV vibe

that's a lot of costumes, and while some of them have really questionable designs, such as Hitomi's costume where she wears a polka-dotted bikini top, jeans and then heels don't really make that much sense, but there's a good majority of them that are good enough to forget about those odd ones. a few of them are just palette swaps, but maybe i'm just biased because this game contains all of my favorite Lei Fang and Ayane costumes. there are some bikini costumes thrown in there, which was part of what earned the game an M rating (first for the series excluding DOAXBV) but at least they were good picks. real good.

finally, DOA2U features the best soundtrack out of every game in the series. while that's not saying much, it's crazy how they managed to make the DOA2 soundtrack even better. instead, they found a way by making some pretty cool remixes of DOA2 character themes. most of them are pretty good, such as the Ayane, Lei Fang, Kasumi, Jann Lee and Ein remixes. a special note of Helena's remix, which is probably my all time favorite DOA track.

there's an online component too. as i said before, i think up to 8 dudes could join up in a lobby and beat each other senseless. however, i picked up on DOA2U around the time that the original Xbox servers were shut down, so i never got to play my favorite Dead or Alive game online. it's disappointing, and it, for some reason gives me some curiosities on how online play worked on the last gen consoles (fyi, i had a modded PS2 so i couldn't play it online). sometimes i really wish that the servers didn't shut down, but what's done is done, and if i really wanted to, i could probably set up a weird private server. people are probably still playing original Xbox games online somehow.

oh, and i know.. Dead or Alive 3 plays like how DOA2 did, and i wasn't too fond of that game in my write-up, but DOA2U comes with a lot more additions, unlockables and better refinements to the system than DOA3 did. it's a game that i can easily spend a lot more time with.

DOA2's Story: Now with 100% more CG

the story is the same as it was in DOA2, though new to Dead or Alive 2 Ultimate was this CG opening that it had, explaining the origins of Kasumi, Ayane and Hayate as they were kids. it also shows Raidou totally beating the hell out of everybody. it's.. weird. check it out if you want:

there's all sorts of dark shit, like rape and this entire village being total dicks to Ayane for something that wasn't her fault. it's probably the most story that DOA ever got until Dimensions was a thing.

That's about it

finally. i'm done. now i can go play more of this game.

come back tomorrow. our special is gonna be Dead or Alive 4, the series debut on current gen consoles and the DOA game i, no doubt spent the most time with.

thanks for reading.

~Ajay

#1 Posted by AjayRaz (12477 posts) -

oh, hi there. i'm Ajay and i'm so excited for Dead or Alive 5 that i'm hella bloggin' until September 25th, when DOA5 hits shelves in North America. i'm playing through every game in the series and i figure i may as well blog about them while i'm at it! yesterday, i took a lengthy look at Dead or Alive 3-- DOA's debut on the Xbox which you can check out over here.

here's what i've done so far:

there are only five days until DOA5 releases. isn't that.. completely insane? hearing Jeff talk about the story mode on the latest bombcast makes me imagine that it's going to be as messed up and ridiculous as it ever was before. it should be lots of fun.

however, that's still five days until. let's talk about a game that's out now!

Dead or Alive 2 Ultimate (2004) - Xbox

this box art is pretty alright, actually

Dead or Alive 2 Ultimate is a remake of DOA2 for the Xbox, with updated graphics, cutscene, stages, and all sorts of stuff. i already covered Dead or Alive 2 Hardcore on the Playstation 2, but this version is a pretty huge leap from that game, and contains some major series additions well worth discussing in its own blog.

What's New?

Dead or Alive 2 has two of the most important additions to the series that shaped the way for DOA4 and 5. the first one is the addition of multiplayer over Xbox Live. a bunch of dudes could get together in what i think was.. eight player lobbies and beat the hell out of each other, complete with tag team and tournament modes, leaderboards and some other online goodies. i never played DOA2U over Xbox Live, so i can't say much about the quality of the netcode but it was a pretty big leap for the series.

in addition to online play, Team NINJA changed up the counter system this time around. usually, how the counter system worked is that you could use three inputs to counter incoming strikes. you could counter high, med and low strikes. in DOA2U, they changed it so you have to counter med kicks and med punches separately. prior, you could just hold back + hold button (usually X on the Xbox controller) and you could counter both med punches and kicks, but this time around you have to press forward + hold to counter kicks, and back + hold for punches. at first, it seems like a small change but it's a total game changer, giving offensive players more chances to pull off varied combos and defensive players couldn't simply mash out counter holds as much as they could before.

oh crap! look who it is!

so, there you go. two huge additions to DOA2U that made a pretty big difference to how the game played. along with that, if you've got a DOA3 or DOA Xtreme Beach Volleyball save, you could totally unlock Hitomi as a playable character. she wasn't introduced until Dead or Alive 3, so it's pretty cool that she's in this time around, even if she's not playable in story mode. also, while it's small, the addition of special grabs while you're near a slope or stairs is a a cool ass addition, too.

They weren't kidding

what do you get when you take Dead or Alive 2, an already great game and inject it full of new costumes, stages, music and overall content? you get nothing other than Dead or Alive 2 Ultimate-- my personal favorite Dead or Alive game. it's a game that when i start, i can't stop playing. the Dead or Alive 2 fighting system, with graphics that still look pretty good today and even better music than before makes for one hell of a package-- and that doesn't even include the online play.

i've already said what i had to say about Dead or Alive 2 before. it was a game that improved upon DOA1 greatly with wonderful interactive stages, a slew of brand new moves and a much better overall feel with combos and the fighting in general. things remain largely unchanged apart from the addition of some new grabs, and the change in the counter system. the change to make the counter system more complex is something i didn't like at first, but after spending a lot of time with this changed counter system, there are things i still don't like that much about it, but it makes the game a lot more rewarding for players who spend their time practicing combos and mix-ups, and simply don't want to be beaten by somebody who just decides to mash counter holds and hope that they get lucky.

at times, this game is pretty as hell

coming from Dead or Alive 3, DOA2U looks pretty stunning for both the time period and console that it's running on. being a 2004 release, i continue to be stunned by how gorgeous this game looks sometimes. there's a lot more detail this time around, such as trails in the snow when the fighters move around in it, seeing the characters' breath in cold weather, and other small details that i appreciate. the boobs are.. crazy again unlike how they were in Dead or Alive 3, but it's something that ya deal with, and don't even notice as you play more and more.

the stages in Dead or Alive 2 Ultimate are, in my opinion, the best stages in the entire series. it takes already great stages from Dead or Alive 2, and updates the a bunch, adding in more interactivity with the environment, Danger Zones and generally makes them a lot more fun to play in. in addition to that, it sports a bunch of new stages that both look great and are ton of fun to play in. new stages such as The Great Wall of China, a booming night club and a rainy courtyard during a thunder storm (which remains the only stage in the series where it rains) are great new additions that stack up with the older stages to make a pretty big amount of variety in stages. added Danger Zones to older stages such as throwing an opponent off a rooftop and through a huge neon sign, destroying all of the lights and then having it break off and fall onto the street below are nice additions too that spice up already great stages.

as if that weren't enough, Team NINJA added a ton of new costumes for each character-- especially the female characters, of course. some characters can get up to twenty costumes.

TWENTY COSTUMES. THAT'S NOT EVEN LIKE, DLC OR LIKE, ADD ON CONTENT OR ANYTHING.

looks like they just couldn't get rid of the DOAXBV vibe

that's a lot of costumes, and while some of them have really questionable designs, such as Hitomi's costume where she wears a polka-dotted bikini top, jeans and then heels don't really make that much sense, but there's a good majority of them that are good enough to forget about those odd ones. a few of them are just palette swaps, but maybe i'm just biased because this game contains all of my favorite Lei Fang and Ayane costumes. there are some bikini costumes thrown in there, which was part of what earned the game an M rating (first for the series excluding DOAXBV) but at least they were good picks. real good.

finally, DOA2U features the best soundtrack out of every game in the series. while that's not saying much, it's crazy how they managed to make the DOA2 soundtrack even better. instead, they found a way by making some pretty cool remixes of DOA2 character themes. most of them are pretty good, such as the Ayane, Lei Fang, Kasumi, Jann Lee and Ein remixes. a special note of Helena's remix, which is probably my all time favorite DOA track.

there's an online component too. as i said before, i think up to 8 dudes could join up in a lobby and beat each other senseless. however, i picked up on DOA2U around the time that the original Xbox servers were shut down, so i never got to play my favorite Dead or Alive game online. it's disappointing, and it, for some reason gives me some curiosities on how online play worked on the last gen consoles (fyi, i had a modded PS2 so i couldn't play it online). sometimes i really wish that the servers didn't shut down, but what's done is done, and if i really wanted to, i could probably set up a weird private server. people are probably still playing original Xbox games online somehow.

oh, and i know.. Dead or Alive 3 plays like how DOA2 did, and i wasn't too fond of that game in my write-up, but DOA2U comes with a lot more additions, unlockables and better refinements to the system than DOA3 did. it's a game that i can easily spend a lot more time with.

DOA2's Story: Now with 100% more CG

the story is the same as it was in DOA2, though new to Dead or Alive 2 Ultimate was this CG opening that it had, explaining the origins of Kasumi, Ayane and Hayate as they were kids. it also shows Raidou totally beating the hell out of everybody. it's.. weird. check it out if you want:

there's all sorts of dark shit, like rape and this entire village being total dicks to Ayane for something that wasn't her fault. it's probably the most story that DOA ever got until Dimensions was a thing.

That's about it

finally. i'm done. now i can go play more of this game.

come back tomorrow. our special is gonna be Dead or Alive 4, the series debut on current gen consoles and the DOA game i, no doubt spent the most time with.

thanks for reading.

~Ajay

#2 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4702 posts) -

DOA2U is the shit. I love that game. I played it a bunch, unlocking all the costume and just fighting the computer. I too never got to play it against other people. I adore that flaming opera stage. Just so cool to fight in. It is probably my favorite stage in the series. At least the most memorable to me.

I think i'd say it is my favorite in the series as well, I wonder how much of that is nostalgia. I have played DOA4 the most but am kinda tired of it now honestly. 5 just looks so good I don't want to bother with it anymore.

I'm curious to hear what you have to have to say about DOA4.

#3 Posted by Demoskinos (15183 posts) -

I played the online and it was about what DOA 4 was netcode wise. Pretty hit or miss honestly. One thing I do remember though is that you could go into the options and create your own voice filters for use online. They had straight up a bunch of phat sliders you tweaked to make your voice sound different. It was hella creepy. I remember playing with it and I once got the filter to make me sound like a female voice that was absolutely convincing. I do love all the costumes as well there were just so many. And of course I was also really glad Hitomi made it in the game. Looking back though it made me realize how damn amazing Team Ninja was back in the day. Because not only did they have what I believe what was the first online fighter (I think) they had all this content in it and did cool shit like having saves unlock extra characters. With Ninja Gaiden they straight up gave away all the hurricane packs for FREE. Updates which fundamentally changed how Ninja Gaiden played. And of course their games on the Xbox were always SO damn pretty. And like you said some of them still hold up even today. I can still totally play Ninja Gaiden Black and be fine with how it looks.

#4 Posted by RE_Player1 (7526 posts) -

Only DOA game I have is dimensions so these have been fun reads.

#5 Posted by AngelN7 (2973 posts) -

Wait from what game is that pick from?! it looks pretty sharp.

#6 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4702 posts) -

@Demoskinos said:

I played the online and it was about what DOA 4 was netcode wise. Pretty hit or miss honestly. One thing I do remember though is that you could go into the options and create your own voice filters for use online. They had straight up a bunch of phat sliders you tweaked to make your voice sound different. It was hella creepy. I remember playing with it and I once got the filter to make me sound like a female voice that was absolutely convincing. I do love all the costumes as well there were just so many. And of course I was also really glad Hitomi made it in the game. Looking back though it made me realize how damn amazing Team Ninja was back in the day. Because not only did they have what I believe what was the first online fighter (I think) they had all this content in it and did cool shit like having saves unlock extra characters. With Ninja Gaiden they straight up gave away all the hurricane packs for FREE. Updates which fundamentally changed how Ninja Gaiden played. And of course their games on the Xbox were always SO damn pretty. And like you said some of them still hold up even today. I can still totally play Ninja Gaiden Black and be fine with how it looks.

I believe DOAU was the second online fighter. What ever Mortal Kombat was new at the time was the first. Proceeded it by some months. Ninja Gaiden Black does still look excellent today.

@AngelN7 said:

Wait from what game is that pick from?! it looks pretty sharp.

The game being blogged about. Dead or Alive 2 ultimate.

#7 Posted by AngelN7 (2973 posts) -

@ImmortalSaiyan: But come on! compare it with some of the other images of the same game they don't look half as good as that on, almost looks like a texture mod.

#8 Posted by AjayRaz (12477 posts) -

@AngelN7: that stage in particular looks fantastic. the game looks a lot better in motion than it does in low resolution screenshots

#9 Posted by ninjalegend (462 posts) -

I also have played this one a bit today as well as 4. Your right on about the soundtrack. I liked the tag feature in this one where you could play a tag mode that lasted like 5 rounds on 5 different stages. You could tell it was pushing the old Xbox to it's limits. Going back to 4 where you could only play tag mode in survival and another mode I think with 3 stages or less felt a little tacked on. I expected more from a game on the 360, with the jump in hardware and all. The story levels themselves felt a little bit more inspired than the new ones in 4. The stages in 5 look like they may once again push the systems with more than just a pretty coat of paint.

The story feels like it gets more and more silly from 2 to 3 to 4. There was a seriousness to the silly that made it work so well. I think it really started to jump the shark by the time 3 came around. I think the word Jeff used to describe the story mode of 5 was incredible. My spider sense tells me that this could mean it is real dumb in the good way. If your going to jump the shark, do so in a rocket powered, out of control, motorcycle on fire blindfolded. The bits in the TGS video where characters are shot out of a cannon, hit into a tank, had a train fall on them, and get mauled by a circus tiger point to it doing just that. And I could not be more excited for it.

#10 Posted by AjayRaz (12477 posts) -

@ninjalegend: the stages in 5 looks like the most creative ones since DOA2 Ultimate, but i just hope that they don't get old fast. it looks like they're focusing heavily on those events triggered by Cliffhanger moments, and you can only see something so many times before you get tired of it. i'm just sad that there's no nightclub or vegas stage where you can get hit by cars this time around

#11 Edited by ninjalegend (462 posts) -

@AjayRaz: I don't think they will get old so fast as I did not see a ton their use in the story mode. And the story mode.........weird. That is some weird shit. By far and away the most interesting in the series. I really like the crazy all over the place weirdness, and when she punched out that tiger.................and there seems to be both tag mode, two vs. one, and one on one in story mode.

(edit: I had a link to a you tube video thinking it was pulled from a preview event, but I think this dude somehow snagged an early copy, and I don't want to give him traffic.)

#12 Posted by Apathylad (3067 posts) -

You know, I'm not sure why this got an M rating. There to be more to it than the bikini costumes, right?

#13 Posted by AjayRaz (12477 posts) -
@Apathylad bikini costumes, and because of the rape themes in the story
#14 Posted by DocHaus (1377 posts) -

The only DOA games I've ever played were 3 and 4, so it's interesting to see this perspective on the older titles.

#15 Posted by MideonNViscera (2252 posts) -

Crazy how good the graphics look.

#16 Posted by Vaancor (247 posts) -

Man I put a lot of hours into this game. Was the first fighting game I sank my teeth into, mainly due to the online component. I still get upset when a lot of modern fighting games, like SFIV, don't include a in-game lobby system. Yes ladies and gentlmen, an first gen Xbox could let up to 8 people sit together and talk smack about a match in progress! Loved the counter system to, worrying about highs and lows.

As far as the crap load of costumes, I unlocked each and every one of them, twice! This was one of the games that included annoying anti-cheat stuff so the old trick of downloading a saved game off the internet barely worked, so I did it the hard way by playing through that survival mode and collecting all the items that would randomly drop.

The worst was waiting for specific characters to drop specific ones, sometimes making entire run throughs pointless.

Reason I did it twice by the way is I had the misfortune of stepping on the controller in the right way to confirm deleting the save >.<

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