Let’s be perfectly blunt here, the Dead or Alive series has always been a mish-mash of an arcade-like button-mashing street fighting game with somewhat tawdry peep-show attire. In truth, the mix of titillation (pun intended) with violence is probably aimed at some determined psychological fix, a great way to lure in the angry and confused gamers out there. Well, short of claiming that it’s all a big conspiracy and designed by connected shell corporations to lure people into psychologically accepting violence against anything feminine, let’s just say that some will really like this type of gameplay.
If you didn’t already know it, arcade-like fighting games such as this actually follow a pretty strict design. There’s the obvious emphasis on the fighting aspect, particularly the controls, which is part of the fun in picking up a new title like this – learning all the various unique moves. Then there’s the story progression and how the dramatic elements link up with individual fighter’s progress. Anyway, speaking of characters, there are quite a lot in DoA5: LR…32 characters in all, in fact. The great part is that there are picks from all over the world, basically all the major national players on the current socioeconomic stage (are represented by their own fighter(s). Peeling away at all the past references and over-arching themes from past games is also prevalent here.
What really makes the otherwise good, but standard graphics even better are the destructible sets, which just seems to improve the experience in a subtle yet necessary way. Since it isn’t always possible to really “progress” a character through a fighting game like you would with an RPG, affecting the stage with destruction creates dramatic action. It might even be a bit harsh to harp on this game’s graphics too, there’s really not much to complain about, actually. Some players have apparently taken note of various glitches, bugs even the odd abrupt freezing…but that seems to be here and there, not universal in occurrence.
Dead or Alive 5: Last Round has a certain art style which is immediately recognizable as being both highly Japanese as well as aesthetically cartoonish. This isn’t to say that elements of the game aren’t highly original and “good”, only that it leans heavily on the work they’ve done in the past. All in all, they certainly know what they’re doing when it comes to making fighting games, the new soft engine features really seems to create a certain added physical depth to the fluid motion of a character. Of course, there are also the other modes which promise online play and competitive / teaming up opportunities. Of course, that’s to be expected these days with any title out there which might be considered a fighting game.
In short, dedicated Dead or Alive fans will probably really enjoy Last Round, it has all the token elements required to get the job done and then some. Likewise, it stands pretty well against other fighting games out there, with somewhat accessible or conventional controls too, so Tekken or Street Fighter devotees might also want to take a look.