Dead Or Alive has kind of always been the quiet kid in the playground, surprisingly. You know, the one who’s shy but actually a lot of fun when you get to know them? Perhaps you’d expect a bit more from a game with ‘Ultimate’ in its title, but this time around this is more akin to the Best Of… albums you get in Tesco’s bargain bin – it’ll be worth the lower entry fee, but do you really need to hear those songs again?
Needless to say, if you’ve played Dead Or Alive 5 then you’ve played Dead Or Alive 5 Ultimate. The story is unchanged – not that this is a criticism – and the combat is mostly the same. There are tweaks, though, such as the Power Launcher, a character-specific ability that can be used to – unsurprisingly – launch opponents high into the air. It works in a similar fashion to the not-so-ultimate version’s Power Blow, and though it doesn’t really do much in terms of enhancing combos it is, if nothing else, bloody funny to watch. And really this is the benefit to modern Dead Or Alive: it may not be able compete alongside the most tactical fighters in the genre, but it is nonetheless a lot of fun to play with friends.
Outside the myriad changes and tweaks to the core of the game – most of which are intended to improve online competitive play – there are a host of other additions not previously seen. Tutorials return from Dead Or Alive 5 Plus, with a number of challenges designed to help the newcomer pick up and play. None of this is presented in a particularly entertaining way, but it does the job if nothing else. Five new characters have been added to the roster, with two from Ninja Gaiden and three returning characters from the Dead Or Alive series. Then there’s the plethora of skins, costumes and months worth of DLC all crammed into this tiny little package.
You’ve probably got the picture now then: this isn’t so much ‘Ultimate’ edition as ‘The One With All The Bits In’ edition and, you know what, that’s fine too. If you’ve yet to play Dead Or Alive 5 then of course you’re best off picking this one up instead; but then being the best version of its predecessor was pretty much a guarantee.