Dead or Alive 5: Last Round PS4 Review

Following in similar footsteps as Capcom, Koei Tecmo has developed a new version to their popular fighting game series called Dead or Alive 5 Last Round, a title that sounds like this is going to be the final incremental update for Team Ninja’s fifth major Dead or Alive game. This update also means that the franchise takes its first steps into the current generation, with both PS4 and Xbox One versions released. With Dead or Alive 5 on PS3/360, a Plus version on Vita and Dead or Alive 5: Ultimate on PS3/360, a lot of people will already know what to expect from the game, so even though Dead or Alive 5 Last Round now has the largest character roster, the largest costume selection of all time – and probably in any fighting game – and the most stages in the history of the franchise, is this move to PS4 worth your attention?

Last Round aims to be the definitive edition of Dead or Alive 5. This means that the game comes with three characters that were original downloadable content for Dead or Alive 5: Ultimate Phase 4, Marie Rose and Nyotengu – packaged in, along with two new characters Raidou and Honoka.  Raidou was the boss of the very first Dead or Alive and has now returned as a cyborg enhanced warrior ready to kick ass, while Honoka is a student who has been practising her own style of martial arts dubbed “Honoka Fu,” which blends speedy attacks with some of her own unique stances. It’s similar to Raidou, where he has other characters’ attacks that focus more on power. On top of that content are the remade stages of Crimson from Dead or Alive 2 and the classic Danger Zone from Dead or Alive. Closing off the new content are 31 new costumes, adding to the already existing costumes means there is something like over 400 pieces of clothing – a crazy amount for a fighter, hell, even for any game out there on the market.

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There are also minor changes, such as balance and frame data modifications, but unless you are an hardcore Dead or Alive player these won’t be easily noticeable for the average person. Once again a miss opportunity has revealed itself, as none of these new characters are added to story mode – that remains identical to what you played since the first incarnation of Dead or Alive 5. With plenty of characters now missing real story introductions inside the game and this being a release on current consoles, it would have been nice if the developers spent a little time to slip the characters into the plot of Dead or Alive 5 and show why they are here.

This game is very appealing for newcomers who might have never jumped in to any of the versions before Last Round. If that’s the case for you, then there is a lot to enjoy in this package. All the training tutorials that were originally included in the Vita version, then kept for Ultimate, remain here, allowing inexperienced players to learn characters without being stumped at what move does what and if it can chain into another combination. Last Round is one of the more friendly fighting games out there, due to its punch, kick and throw three button system. The counter system is on the fourth face button, allowing you to tap guard and a direction to counter low, middle or high attacks. This system makes sure that people won’t spam out the same move, because they risk having their moves countered by the opposing player, who no longer has to guess what to counter. There is a great example of this in the gameplay video at the bottom of the review.

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Multiplayer is a key component to fighting games, which makes it great that I can say the netcode feels smooth, hardly encountering a match that would result in lag. They are also 2-on-2 match battles, similar to Street Fighter X Tekken’s cooperative play, where two friends can form a tag-team and challenge other people online in tag battles. You can save replays and upload photos to Facebook. Dead or Alive 5: Last Round won’t be able to connect with the PS3 version to play online, so all your friends will have to migrate or download the free-to-play Dead or Alive 5: Last Round Core Fighters, which I recommend everyone does just so you can sample the game’s combat and see if it is to your liking.

The extra power from running on the PlayStation 4 means Last Round gets a bump in resolution to 1080p, while still running at 60FPS – very important for a fighting game. The issue with the graphics – and this is also a problem with the fact Dead or Alive 5 looked spectacular on the old consoles – is that this version doesn’t look that much better. The game is sharper, the models look slightly more detailed, getting dirty and sweaty as the fight progresses, new particles are added to offer some pretty in battle and everything stays consistent in the presentation, but it’s hardly the jump in quality one would expect. There is still an aliasing issue that spoils the otherwise attractive character and stage modelling. People have reported bugs and glitches with the game, especially on the Xbox One version. I’ve not ran into any trouble on this PS4 digital download, but some have mentioned the online not working correctly if you cancel too fast out of a match search. Koei Tecmo has said a patch is coming soon to fix this.

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You might just want to grab onto your seat for this next part, because it’s rather mental just how much downloadable content is coming for the game. There is currently a Ultimate Content Set that can be bought for just over £60, which includes 237 items for missing costumes that were purchasable for Ultimate, but weren’t included in the release of Last Round. There is also a New Costume Pass for the same price that acts like a season pass for all future content. There are supposedly costumes releasing each month until June, totalling 79 items. Not quite as many as the existing Ultimate Content Set, but I guess this is more expensive because they are new designs. Thankfully, with so much content in the game already, you shouldn’t feel the need to spend all that money on clothes, but if you do fancy some of them, you could always purchase character packs instead of the full bundle.

Dead or Alive 5: Last Round is a good fighting game that remains similar to the last release, building on the already strong foundations created by the game two and a half years ago. It’s selling for just over half the price of a full retail PlayStation 4 game to make up for this issue of similar content, but with more packed goodies, new characters and stages, this release is perfect for a newcomer, as let’s be honest, hardcore fans are already going to buy it to keep up to date with the scene. The only people in question are the middle group, the casual fighters who might not see the value in buying this, but if you have a PlayStation 4 and fancy a flashy new fighter, then Dead or Alive 5: Last Round will offer a lot of sexy, beautiful fighting with gameplay that makes you look stylishly cool.

7 out of 10