Dead Or Alive 5: Ultimate

Year: 2013
Platform: Xbox 360
Publisher: Koei/Tecmo
Developer: Team Ninja
Genre: 3D fighter
Review Date: 2/17/14
Rating: ****

"Dead Or Alive 5: Ultimate" is a significant update to "Dead Or Alive 5" (2012) and a worthwhile investment for any DOA fan. The core mechanics are the same, but it includes more content and fixes several issues that I found annoying in DOA5. It also includes a lot more downloadable costumes, and you can easily spend up to $200 on them.

The first thing you notice about the game are the new stages, which include several classic arenas from "Dead Or Alive 3" (Forest, The Lost World, Zack Island) as well as some new and reworked stages (Desert Wasteland, Aircraft Carrier, Sky City Tokyo). Five new characters have been added to the roster including Momiji and Rachel from "Ninja Gaiden", Jacky Bryant from "Virtua Fighter", and the return of Leon and Ein. Momiji looks fantastic and is easily the best looking character in the game. Rachel's hair is amazing, and new hair styles are available for Lei-Fang, Hitomi, Christie, and Pai. Lei-Fang's twin tails and Hitomi's ponytail are especially enchanting. Additional downloadable updates to the game include a haunted version of the Lorelei stage from DOA3 and a new character named Marie Rose.

The two biggest system improvements are an option to turn off the annoying bouncing breast feature (finally!), and the Japanese language option has been fixed so that you don't have to reset it every time you play. The latter was the most aggravating problem I had with DOA5. Unfortunately, the second most aggravating feature of DOA5 still remains, which are the constant reminders to go online when you're intentionally playing offline. Overall, the game plays exactly the same as its predecessor, but fans of the series will definitely appreciate the improvements and extra polish.

And here's an excellent costume guide for the game: DOA5 Alternate Outfits