I Played Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate And Now I Am Writing These Words About It (And Other Things Too Actually)

*dusts off keyboard*

stupid thing, i can't believe

oh! hi there! my name's Ajay and i play video games... well, sometimes.

actually, i kind of barely play video games anymore. i'm way more into buying a bunch of video games and not playing them for some reason. like, i bought at least 30 games since June and have probably played like, five of them.

i don't really play on PC, either so it's not really a steam sale kind of thing. i guess it's the fact that Microsoft and Sony keep having all sorts of crazy deals with their digital distribution platforms, or whatever. like, i bought Bully for the first time for like 3$ last week on XBLA and i haven't even played booted it up. that has to be some sort of crime somewhere, right?

me, blowing up all of my money

i also, for some reason, imported Earth Defense Forces 4 like, six months ahead of its NA release and i must have played it like, twice. i've had it for like a month and i've only played it twice. i'm pretty sure i blew like 80 dollars on that game, too. i know this isn't a new problem for me, but really. jesus christ, Ajay.

...wait a minute. i'm writing words? oh man. i'm actually writing something! i can't believe that i've actually gotten around to writing words into this text box. i wonder what the catch is...

...right. of course. i'm writing about Dead or Alive. again.

Oh my god, Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate happened

Dead or Alive 5 came out, i guess and i played a whole bunch of it. what a surprise. i'd like to say... um, something like 150-200 hours and 1500+ online matches across three platforms in the span of a year? that sounds about right.

i liked DOA5 a lot. i thought the offline modes were as boring as a butt ass and there were some things i didn't like about the interface and stuff, but i did enjoy the hell out of my time with it. i thought that actual fighting mechanics were the strongest in the series, but everything surrounding it was kinda weak.

so, Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate was announced who-knows-how-long ago and i wasn't happy with it. it was probably due to the fact that i spend 200 dollars on DOA5 and didn't want to buy another version or maybe i just like to give Team NINJA a hard time whenever they make a decision that clashes with what i want. it was the first time where i wasn't excited for a a Dead or Alive game, sans Paradise, since i started really falling in love with the series.

whatever bad vibes i had prior to the release of DOA5U are pretty much gone now, since i bought it and played it way too much in such a short amount of time. that should probably speak for itself.

(spoiler alert: i like it.)

Hey, wait. What's so 'Ultimate' about it?

good question, painfully uninformed reader! they've added a couple of new cool things to kind of justify the whole 'Ultimate' subtitle (that's a subtitle, right?)

Hitomi is really pissed off at Ein because he skipped out on DOA5

they added five new characters, most of which aren't really new. Leon and Ein (Hayate's alter-ego), ugly-heads extraordinaire make their return to the series since they were absent in vanilla DOA5 for some reason. Rachel (ewww) and Momiji from Ninja Gaiden also make their Dead or Alive debuts with new fighting styles. Jacky Bryant, hilariously out of place, is also there for some reason.

they've added a few new stages too, all of which are either from older games in the series or based off levels from Ninja Gaiden... so i don't know if they're all that new, actually. also, there's like, a hundred more costumes. that's not an exaggeration, either. there's 231 costumes to unlock now compared to the 114 in DOA5. that's pretty crazy.

uhh.. what else. they added some new modes and stuff too. there's an actual tutorial now, and there's a combo challenge mode that's pretty much a better version of the trials from Street Fighter IV. once again, none of it is really new since it was just all brought from the Vita version of DOA5.

what the hell are you two doing here AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO THAT NURSE OH MY GOD

there's also some changes to the tag mode too. they've added snap backs and team critical bursts, as well as the ability to partner up with another player online to make 4 player tag matches. they've made a big deal about how there's 4 player tag now for the first time in the series but guess what, that's not something new either.

alongside little additions like the ability to change BGM, that's really the gist of it, though. there's new stuff but... it's not so new. huh.

OK, whatever. Is there anything good about it?

hell yeah!

The New Characters Are Pretty Rad

now, listen. i don't like Rachel. i think she's a terrible character, with an awful design and i think it's a shame when people say that they like her. i think Rachel is a whole ton of fun to play as in DOA5U. i've never been someone who has ever clicked with slower, grapple characters but Rachel is great. she has a bunch of cool moves and she packs enough of a weight to feel powerful, but versatile at the same time.

Momiji, on the other hand, is someone that i haven't managed to get the hang of yet. i've probably played as her more than i've played Rachel so far (which isn't much, to be honest) and i just can't get a feel for her playstyle. she has cool moves though, including a double jump and a neat critical burst combo that i can't ever seem to figure out.

Leon's grapples are so amazing that i want him to do them on me even though it would probably hurt a lot

Leon and Ein are... well, Leon and Ein. they're both characters that i haven't ever really put a bunch of time into. i've always thought that Leon was the most plain character in on the DOA roster, and was just a palette swap of Bayman. although, i did play as him for a little bit and did find some appreciation for him and his playstyle. his grabs are still brutal and fun to watch, as he just relentlessly beats the hell out of everyone. i've gotten the hang of Ein a little, since i realized he shares a lot of the same moves with Hitomi-- someone that i've played as a whole ton lately. although, that same fact doesn't really me any more interested in Ein since... well, i could just play as Hitomi (who has cooler costumes, anyway.)

one of the little issues i had with DOA5 was the inclusion of Virtua Fighter characters. i don't hate Virtua Fighter at all (in fact, i think VF5FS is an excellent fighting game) but i just feel like they're so out of place in Dead or Alive. their personalities seem so thin compared to the rest of the roster, and their playstyles are pretty different, but in a way that doesn't really fit so well with the rest of the DOA roster. for some, that may seem like a good thing but i personally didn't enjoy playing as them in DOA5.

i feel like Jacky Bryant kind of breaks that, though. i only played as him once, but his movement and flow feels a lot more similar to how other Dead or Alive characters play-- which i feel is definitely a good thing. i don't think i'll ever play as him willingly, however, along with the rest of the VF cast in the game.

The New Added Modes Are Fun And Useful

for whatever reason, it seems like it's hard to create any sort of good tutorial for a fighting game. i haven't tried the Skullgirls tutorial, but apart from that, it always sounds like people are having a hard time getting into a fighting game. i don't really think that DOA5U's tutorial changes that too much, but it is pretty good at going over all of the game's mechanics. going through it on the Vita, and assuming it's the same thing, it's pretty good at shedding some light on mechanics that a lot of people might not figure out just by playing the game. it's a whole ton better than the tutorial during DOA5's awful, awful story mode, but i thought that the practical parts of the tutorial that made you put what you've learned into use against an AI opponent weren't very good.

the refined tag mode is fucking rad. 2v2 tag online making a return is probably one of my favorite parts about Ultimate. it's so fast paced, chaotic and fun that even if you have no idea what's happening, it can still manage to be pretty fun. the snap backs are fun and the new tag animations are cool, too. i mean, Ayane and Hitomi's opening tag animation is friggin' great. it makes me feel just how i felt when i first played tag mode: i thought it was the best thing ever.

The New Costumes

nuff said

The New BGM Options Made Me Squeal Like A Schoolgirl

does anyone remember that Countdown to Dead or Alive series i did last year building up to the release of Dead or Alive 5? no? well, i kind of have a huge crush on the Dead or Alive 2 OST. every time i hear it, it makes me feel funny inside in all of the good and bad ways. i love it.

with that said, i really appreciated the fact that you can set music from DOA2/3/4/5 to different characters, menus, etc. it's probably something that isn't a big deal, but this is pretty much the first thing like this in a Dead or Alive game and it makes me feel a lot more at home. i mean, changing the game's main menu music Deep Impact from DOA3? game of the year.

It's Still Fun To Play

this is your idea of fun?! giant killer statues?!

they haven't made any drastic changes that totally change the way that the game plays, which is a great thing. the strongest aspect of Dead or Alive 5 was its simple yet deep, accessible and addictive gameplay that was highly refined over DOA4. they have changed some balance stuff that has thrown me off a little, but the new moves and the addition of the Power Launcher (which just sends your opponent soaring in the air) are welcome changes that make the game more enjoyable.

with that said, though, if you didn't like Dead or Alive before, you still won't like it here.

one of the best parts, though?

It's Free on the PS3

i think this is awesome. Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate supports a free-to-play model called Dead or Alive 5: Core Fighters on the PS3 which is cool. with a free download on the Playstation Store, you gain access to four characters-- Ayane, Kasumi, Hayabusa and Hayate for free along with pretty much every mode except the game's story mode. the online is fully playable between free and retail players, and all costumes for available characters are fully unlockable. new characters can be purchased for 4$ each, and there seems to be some sort of character rotation, similar to League of Legends.

i think this is great. it's a way to gain a much wider audience, and new fans. i think that having the four ninjas available instead of a constantly changing roster is kind of lame since the four ninjas have the same fighting style and multiple similarities, but i think having Kasum is great considering how accessible she is a character.

pictured: Rachel beating up Shuhei Yoshida (cosplaying as Ryu Hayabusa) because he hid DOA5U on the PSN store

the only downside is that it seems to be hidden in on the PSN store. it has no promotion-- it's nowhere on the front page and is totally lost in the new releases section. the only way that i've found it is by going to the DOA5U page and scrolling all the way to the bottom of the add-ons list to find it. i don't think anyone who doesn't already own DOA5U is going to be looking there.

there's other stuff about Ultimate that are cool, but most of it is pretty standard stuff. there's a new ranking system for ranked matches, where players on winning streaks have point bounties, and some little changes, such as being able to change the controller configuration from the online lobby, unlocking costumes by playing lobby matches and displaying winning streaks in-game that are much appreciated.

Great, I guess. Is there anything that isn't so good about it?

...well, um...

The Offline Modes Are Still A Snoozefest

one of my least favorite parts about DOA5 had to be how god damn uninteresting the offlines modes were. it had the standard arcade, time attack and survival modes with absolutely nothing interesting to them. they felt like totally boring grinds for costumes, and nothing more.

that's still the case in Ultimate. thankfully, you can unlock costumes by playing online now, but that doesn't change the fact that the offline modes are still boring as hell.

my reaction to playing DOA5U's survival mode (wtf is this picture? it's amazing)

i don't even know to explain it. part of it comes from the game's AI. fighting against AI in fighting games isn't really ever that fun, but it's even more so in Dead or Alive. having the AI counter all of your moves and play nearly perfectly isn't ever that enjoyable. there's never that satisfaction of victory once you finally defeat that AI opponent you've been stuck on for like 20 minutes. it's just like, "ugh, i still have another seven matches of this left." Dead or Alive truly shines when you're playing another human opponent, and playing it offline gives it a total disservice.

the good news is that i never actually have to play them now. i only ever play the offline modes in Dead or Alive games to unlock costumes, but now i can just do that online by playing. although, it still would have been nice to have some cool offline modes to come back to and mess around with.

The Matchmaking Still Isn't Very Good

part of the reason why DOA5U is an entirely separate retail release instead of DLC is because they apparently overhauled the entire online netcode. it's supposed to be smoother to play and easier to get into games. i've definitely noticed that playing online is a lot more smooth now-- at least, so far. even one bar connections play just fine, but i haven't played online enough to say this with certainty.


unfortunately, the ranked game matchmaking is still junk. it still takes forever to find matches, and i don't like that you can see your opponent's fight record is before accepting the match. that shouldn't be a thing! i feel like playing ranked should be some sort of gamble, where you'll never know who you'll face. it should be a challenge, instead of giving you the option to pick and choose who you want to play against.

There's A Disappointing Lack of 'New' Content

seriously. there's not really much of anything in this game that's actually new. most of it is just stuff from previous games or other Team NINJA games and it's kind of a bummer. the characters and characters are either from Ninja Gaiden or previous DOA games, but at least there's some new original costumes.

Sky City Tokyo is a great stage, but i would have loved more new stages

it's not a bad thing, per se to use content from previous games but it just feels... disappointing at this point, especially considering how prone TN is to doing this in all of their games. i love the hell out of Ayane's Ninja Gaiden costumes in this game, but my favorite costumes in DOA5 were the brand new ones. i would have loved for there to be more new stuff.

the fact that it's old content kind of shows too. Lost World is a pretty stage, but it feels so dated at this point. especially compared to the other stages, there just doesn't seem to be much to it at all. the stage's gimmick of falling off a cliff got old pretty fast, and the surfaces are so small that you can't really get much done. it feels like it was designed for another game-- before DOA was had such elaborate combos and juggles.

it probably looks like i'm scraping the bottom of the barrel at this point, but this is how i felt about the new additions in a way. don't get me wrong-- the new stages are great and gorgeous, but i would have appreciated everything a whole lot more if it was all-new.

I don't care about all of these words. Is it good, or what?

yes! i think Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate is fucking excellent. it builds upon an already great playing, gorgeous looking, lovely sounding fighting game. it's still the accessible, content-packed and long lasting fighting game that was released a year ago... just with, you know, a cat hoodie for Eliot and an option to change the breast physics.

you should play it. really. if you own a PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system, a controller and an internet connection, you should try out Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate. it's fun, frantic and it's free. you like free stuff, right?!

geez, i wrote a lot, huh? i hope you kind of enjoyed reading that, at least. it took me more than a year to finally gather my thoughts on Dead or Alive 5, so these thoughts are anything but final. it's just how i feel about everything right now. first impressions, i suppose!

...it's no DOA2 Ultimate, though.

thanks for reading.

- Ajay

27 Comments Refresh
Posted by TehFedro

stupid ass costume things don't make any sense look so dumb what the fuck

Posted by ThunderSlash

Free huh? I guess I'll try it out.

Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate supports a free-to-play model called Dead or Alive 5: Core Fighters on the PS3 which is cool. with a free download on the Playstation Store, you gain access to four characters-- Ayane, Kasumi, Hayabusa and Hayate for free along with pretty much every mode except the game's story mode. the online is fully playable between free and retail players, and all costumes for available characters are fully unlockable. new characters can be purchased for 4$ each, and there seems to be some sort of character rotation, similar to League of Legends.

This sounds like a great model to get more people in the playerbase of relatively niche fighters. Tekken Revolution should've done this instead of that energy crap.

Posted by AjayRaz

@tehfedro said:

stupid ass costume things don't make any sense look so dumb what the fuck

Posted by Demoskinos

I'm just glad this thing is free hopefully that keeps the player base going for awhile. I was surprised right before launch of DOA 5 when we played a bunch of DOA 4 and there were tons of people still playing.

Posted by falserelic

Free? I didn't know that I might go download this now.

Posted by Phatmac

how are the tits

Posted by Demoskinos
Posted by AjayRaz

@phatmac: plentiful

@demoskinos: totally, and there's still a bit of people playing DOA4 right now, too... although it's mostly a bunch of SS rank dudes that probably find DOA5 revolting. with or without the free-to-play thing, i think we'll still have enough people playing this game a couple of years down the road... unless TN decides to release another Dead or Alive game.

@thunderslash: i still, at least appreciated Tekken's stab at the whole free-to-play thing. i didn't have much of an issue with the energy stuff, but it's apparent that a lot of people did. i, personally just can't seem to click with Tekken's fighting systems all that much.

i think DOA's approach is super cool, but i'm just so disappointed that it seems to be hidden in the PSN store. there could be so many more people playing right now. i mean, two people here already didn't know there was a free version.

Posted by AngelN7

I don't know man I think the Hayate/Ein tag intro is the superior one... I stopped playing online in the PS3 version a while ago (regular DOA5) but maybe I should try Core Fighters even though I only like to play as Mila.

Edited by AjayRaz

@angeln7 said:

I don't know man I think the Hayate/Ein tag intro is the superior one... I stopped playing online in the PS3 version a while ago (regular DOA5) but maybe I should try Core Fighters even though I only like to play as Mila.

the Ein and Hayate intro is so stupid but i love it so much. that's a good contender, for sure. also, i haven't tried core fighters for myself but i think you should give it a shot, just to play around with the new stuff for a bit. Mila's only a 4$ unlock, and she might be free for a week at some point, or something. whatever, play it! Hitomi and Jann Lee are free right now if you like them any.

Edited by aurahack


p good read, though. I need to wait for my next bandwidth cycle but I want to get that F2P version of the game and see what's what.

Posted by RecSpec

Oh man, I didn't realize the F2P version was already out. I spend enough time in Tekken Revolution, might as well give this a shot.

Posted by AjayRaz

@recspec: do eeeeet (and play with me!)

@aurahack: its like 3 gigs for reference. also, i've tried writing things with proper capitalization and stuff and it just does notwork for me. not sure what it is. part of me thinks that i've been typing like this for so long that it's the only way i can read my own voice in writing... if that makes any sense

Posted by BoOzak

I've never had any problem with the AI in DOA games. I'm not gloating or anything. The one time I actually fought Ajay at DOA5 I got destroyed.

You just have to fight more defensively than you would a real person. Personally I think the AI in DOA is better than Tekken because it feels less like your selecting how good they are at juggling and more that you're choosing how aggressive they are. The only reason I play against the AI is to fill time between each online match because I prefer it to waiting in lobbies but they're not that bad once you get used to them.

Anyway I've barely had a chance to play much of DOA5U but I love the fact that you can choose different BGM's. Which is kind of a trivial feature, but I never liked the menu music in DOA5. And as someone who didnt buy many costume packs the fact that they've added a lot more in Ultimate is a nice feature, as unlocking stuff, however pointless, is pretty fun.

Posted by Flappy

@ajayraz: I can respect that. From this side of the computer, I imagine as a robot that enjoys DOA...and stuff. Anyway, nice read and I'll be sure to check out Ultimate soon.

Posted by aurahack

@ajayraz: 3GB seems reasonable for what you get out of it, I s'pose. Also just practice writing with proper capitalization and shit. Learning to use proper punctuation and take it easy on contractions helped greatly in college, especially when you need to write excuses to your teachers to benefit your own agenda...

Posted by GnaTSoL

Not worthy of the 'Ultimate' moniker like DOA2U. Put everything into perspective and there isn't really much new in 5U and there are still some huge omissions.

- Not enough costumes. The costume count for this game jumped so high because of all the dlc costumes from DOA5 they added. Not enough. A bunch of duplicate costumes that can be summed up as color swaps.

- No addition to the story mode and/or return of a true DOA style arcade mode and by that I mean the inclusion of in-between character interaction scenes. I think Team Ninja is misjudging how important their cast is to fans. We'd like more narrative and life infused with the characters. Something like Dimensions did.

- Lack of intros/outros/tag specials. This one kinda revolves around the same complaint as my last. Special intros/outros between related characters add in sooo much more life and vibrancy to the cast. The lack of those things make the characters feel disjointed from their proposed world and static with just their generic battle begin/end quotes. Do some dialoging between characters outside of story mode or your weak story mode becomes even weaker as it holds no ground outside of its blackhole. Tag-mode, outside of gameplay, feels absolutely unfinished like DOA5. Not enough of an effort placed there. DOA fans know what I'm talking about.

- New characters are way lacking in the moves department compared to the original cast. I guess that's just how its always been but I wouldnt say it kills the gameplay. IT's just that the new characters don't come close to the complexity of characters like Ryu, Ayane, etc. Just check their command list for proof.

I may be asking for too much but I only wish for the best for DOA and I don't think the team has been putting their best effort towards making the de facto best DOA. The two most important things to a fighting game they have. The gameplay and cast. The rest needs to step up as they can't just pull a SF and everything being alright, less they continue to be considered as the 'titty physics' game.

I do wanna establish that I do like the game. I just feel it could be a lot better and perhaps would have preferred they went straight to a 6 and went all hands on deck. I love the inclusion of DOA2/3 music. Some of the best fighting game music ever. 'Shooted' makes anything hype.

Posted by Ravelle

Great read, man. I'll pick this up sometime later this year. Glad to hear you can change the menu music because I missed the DOA2 BGM which just pumps you up for fights.

Posted by ImmortalSaiyan

I'm glad you wrote this blog. I have not been following this game at all and was surprised it even came out this week.

The game does not seem to offer me enough to get back into DOA5. Just like you I have been playing few games lately. Not that I am not playing games, just that I got crazy into Smash Bros to the point that getting into another fighting game is time i'd rather spent on Smash.

The Characters added seem real lazy as none of them are actually new and I the characters excluded from DOA5 like Ein (dispite liking him) and Leon were not missed.

I find it weird how Team Ninja seems to be combining Ninja Gaiden and DOA these days. Did we really need Racheal and Momiji in the game? The latter fits well but looks like another ninja character which is not my play style. Racheal looks mad out of place and I agree that see is a stupid design.

I like the idea of the new costumes. So many added does the "ultimate" tag proud. Some of them I have seen in trailers looked really cool. Such as one like looks like Tifa for Kokoro. I must have that. However there is a downside here, and that is Team Ninja increased priority on falling back to their ways. Meaning stuff like those Nurse outfits and the Bikini ones. The breast slider. The super creepy mode where you oggle the fallen animations of the characters. I could really do without that stuff.

It sucks that not more have changed about the gameplay. I had my issues with that area in DOA5. It was the best in the series of course but the progress made showed me the potential in DOA as a serious fighter on the level of Tekken.

I hear that Racheal is a beast in the game with fantastic set ups, which is what I wanted from all characters so Ironically I would probably play her and Jann Lee. I hear Eliot is garbage now, which makes me sad. Poor guy.

Posted by falserelic

Played it earlier it was alright, though I still need to get use to countering.

Edited by JJOR64

Why no Wii U version? :_(

I thought about getting DOA5 for Vita when it gets cheap.

Posted by Yummylee

You can't beat free, I guess. I haven't been truly invested in a fighting game in years, but I may give it a look see sometime. Just hope I have the space...

A fine read, ajay-san.

Posted by AjayRaz

@jjor64: the Vita version is excellent but may as well be abandoned at this point. i don't even know why they wasted the resources to make that game if they decided not to even update it with the release of Ultimate. part of me thinks it was just a test to see if the game's added features would be received well.


thank you abyss-lee. it's like 3ish gigs to download and you don't really need to be totally invested in it to enjoy it. it's easy enough to get into. also, i think it has some Warriors inspired costumes, or something if that's your thing.

@ravelle: thank you! the DOA2 OST is BGM is still excellent, although i'm equally as happy with some of the DOA3 music. some of that music hits me not like much else.

@immortalsaiyan: thank you for reading! i barely kept up with the game either, and i wasn't excited at all until the game came out. i was still totally fine with another one or two years of vanilla DOA5.

the new content is good, but it's nothing new. that's probably one of the most disappointing parts about the entire game. i'm wondering where Team NINJA's creative talent even lies at this point if so much content is rehashed and reused-- but it sells. they give the fans what they want, and it just seems like they just want everything Team NINJA in one game. i'm totally in the minority here.

Momiji and Rachel are fine additions, but while they're set in the same universe, i kind of wish that the franchises would stay separate. i feel the same way about Kasumi being playable in NG3 Razor's Edge. it just feels out of place, especially considering the kind of character that Kasumi is. i also just wish that Rachel wasn't in anything. ever.

anyway, i'm just happy that the game still plays well and there's a lot more costumes to collect. i can talk all i want about how certain decisions disappoint me, and how negatively i feel about it, but the fun of the gameplay keeps me coming back and there's not really any way i can argue with that.

Edited by BradBrains

DOA5 is the most accessible fighting game in terms of platyability ive ever...played. highly reccomend it. ultimate is just more of that with a lot more stupid things for the girls to wear. which im fine with.

the hits feel hard and there is no jumping around like an idiot.

Posted by Demoskinos

The more I play this the more I think this is what I wanted DOA 5 to be in the first place. I fell off of vanilla pretty quickly. I think between playing the last two nights online for like a total of 8 hours with various friends. And some of the changes and tweaks like the new moves and tweaks to characters and the addition of the new characters. Although, not sure why they didn't just say fuck it and include Irene Lew as well. Wouldn't mind Joe Hayabusa as well.

Also, what the hell happened to Rio the character they added in DOA Paradise? They haven't done anything with her since. Anyways, shits pretty damn cool I'm enjoying it fucking already put 34 hours into it. Probably going to put a bunch more into it. Hopefully they iron out the ranked stuff which apparently if Team Ninja's twitter is to be believed is actually being caused by overcrowding on the match making service.

Posted by Apathylad

I see myself getting this eventually, but it doesn't feel that long ago since I bought Dead or Alive 5 Vanilla! D:

Posted by ESREVER

Wow, all these words and pictures and absolutely NO MENTION of Christie and Pai's amazing new hair.

I rate this blog -12/10

(Just kidding, was a fun read.)