It appears that Tecmo Koei has caught Capcom’s infamous habit of re-releasing their signature fighter with incremental updates with the launch of Dead or Alive 5 Last Round, the fourth release of DOA5 and the latest game in the franchise to make the leap to current-gen consoles. Is this PlayStation 4 re-release worth dipping into once again?
The most drastic improvement to DOA5 in Last Round lands in the graphics department. The powerful hardware of the PS4 granted Team Ninja a greater resource budget to enhance the visuals. Everything runs at full high-definition 1080P resolution and at a steady performing 60 frames per second, and the game’s frenetic action benefits from the boost. A highlighted improvement is the way the engine renders characters’ skin, which creates a softer, more realistic appearance. Dead or Alive has never looked as good as it does here, but there are a handful of visual shortcomings. A lack of anti-aliasing throughout can make jagged lines stand out at times. A number of textures, including some on characters’ clothing, appear to be low resolution assets. It’s a bit perplexing to see these issues that shouldn’t be around in a port of a last-generation title.
DOA5 Last Round is decently packed with content and represents solid value for fans who didn’t buy any of the previous DLC. Everything from the original game is there: the somewhat interesting story campaign, fighting mode staples like arcade, time attack, and survival, and online multiplayer. The roster of stages features a wide variety of environments to kick, punch, and grab opponents in, from ancient Japanese temples and tropical jungles to an ocean oil rig and a neon-lit cityscape. Characters who were previously DLC in the last game DOA5 Ultimate – the gothic lolita-style Marie Rose, Kasumi clone Phase 4, and the Tengu female Nyotengu – are included. Team Ninja added two brand new characters as well to mix things up some more: a pink-haired high school girl named Honoka and the Mugen Tenshin cyborg Raidou.
A whopping majority of DOA5’s DLC came in an gratuitous amount of character costumes ranging from sexy swimsuits to Santa suits. Dozens of those previously paid costumes are now included in Last Round, but must be unlocked by completing certain tasks, such as clearing a run in the Arcade mode with a character. If you think that Last Round alone will finally give you the complete collection of costumes, guess again. Team Ninja is still chugging out new outfits for the DOA5 cast to adorn. That’s just the nature of modern game publishing and one has to wonder how much Tecmo Koei has made from the re-releases and DLC for DOA5.
The online multiplayer runs smoothly the majority of the time, but don’t be surprised to encounter glints of lag. To help avoid the possibility of encountering such network issues, Last Round does provide an indicator showing the quality of a particular user’s internet connection. Even so, I did encounter very brief moments of lag while fighting an opponent with full bars. In a fighting game, such an occurrence can be nothing short of frustrating. When it comes to jumping into the online fray, I never found myself waiting too long to find a match. The ability to spectate matches in progress is entertaining and a feature that would be welcome in other games’ online experiences. Meanwhile, local matches ran perfectly without a hitch, as should be expected. With few same-screen multiplayer offerings on PS4 in this day and age, Last Round provides an adequate option for gamers looking to play something with a buddy on the same couch.
To answer the quintessential question facing all game re-releases: should you buy another DOA5 re-release? For a franchise fan, sure, maybe? There’s enough value in Last Round for you to enjoy and appreciate: the enhanced visuals, the library of costumes, and the all-new characters, especially if you missed the previous DOA5 Ultimate DLC cast members. Be advised though that there isn’t anything radically different here: it is still DOA5 at its core, with most of the 2012 original’s strengths and shortcomings intact, so read my original Dead or Alive 5 review for more details. If you missed out on the initial release and have a mild interest, Last Round presents the best rendition of the game to date and could be a fun time. And if you’re on the fence, check out the free-to-play Dead or Alive 5 Last Round Core Fighters, which grants access to a set of four characters (Ayane, Hayate, Kasumi, Ryu Hayabusa) and all modes except for the Story Mode.