Fighting games have always been a big part of console gaming, since the beginning. Many of the best arcade games of all time have been in the fighting genre. Although the Dead or Alive series has never been considered the best choice out there, it has always been a very enjoyable game that most people seem to take a liking to. Well now Tecmo is back teaming up with ever popular Team Ninja to bring us their latest fighting title in Dead or Alive: Ultimate for the Xbox! Is this the game to take the Dead or Alive series over the top, or does this take the series in the wrong direction? Read our full review to find out!
For those of you who might be confused about exactly what this latest Dead or Alive: Ultimate package really is, sit back, and relax, I will try to explain it for all of you! To put it quite is simply, Dead or Alive: Ultimate contains two games which are the Sega Saturn’s classic Dead or Alive and then a totally revamped version of Dead or Alive 2 which was originally on the PS2, both of which now with Xbox Live support!
To start off this review, let’s begin with the Sega Saturn classic Dead or Alive, which is a real treat for any fan of the series to be able to see how far the DOA series has come over the years. This inclusion of the Saturn version of DOA is an interesting idea but kind of seems a little bit "gimmicky" if you ask me. With this being said the addition of this classic game is going to attract the die hard Dead or Alive fans who have been following the game from the beginning. I also enjoyed seeing how far the fighting genre has come by playing this game and remembering all of the fighters of the older consoles. The addition of this classic may not be all that exciting to everyone out there, but for some of us this addition could mean a whole other gaming experience in one package deal.
Now the big attraction I am sure for most people interested in DOA: Ultimate is the new upgraded version of Dead or Alive 2, a game that really I think put the DOA series in the elite category for the fighting genre. Now with the DOA Extreme Beach Volleyball engine, how does this game end up playing out?
Well for the most part Dead or Alive 2 is a game that was great when it was released for the PS2 in 2000 and it still impressive in this latest upgrade. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the DOA series, all of there games have two things in common, which are that they are fast paced and that they all have very deep countering system which is still prevalent in this version as well. The game does hosts a number of different single player modes including a story mode which hosts a ton of different unlockables, that will give reason for players to keep playing offline for quite sometime. The one and only downside to the offline play is that the computer AI does get somewhat repetitive after a while and for that you are going to need to get some more challenge, which is why Team Ninja added the Xbox Live support.
Speaking of the Xbox Live support, this is the one reason why I have the ability to say Dead or Alive: Ultimate is a great game. I can honestly say that Team Ninja really went for it with their online mode, as it tries a different type of Live experience, that no one has done before. Instead of always jumping right into the game, DOA Ultimate has a sort of lobby feature that puts you in a room with up to eight players, and you have to wait for your turn similar to an Arcade setting. What this really does is provide the game with more of a "community" feel to it, which actually gets more competition thrown in the game. What this also does is gives everyone the opportunity to talk smack and critique each other’s playing abilities, which just makes for an extremely entertaining online fighting experience.
And of course for those of you who are impatient and don’t feel like waiting around for a game, you still can just jump right into the game, but really where is the fun in that? Overall DOA: Ultimate takes two classic games, and makes an extremely entertaining and lasting experience that will make all DOA fans happy. The addition of online play just puts this compilation over the top to create a game that really has all of the makings of a great game.
You know Team Ninja has been on fire as of late with all of the great graphics they have been throwing Xbox users. With DOA: Extreme Beach Volleyball being one of the best looking games on the Xbox, as well as the beautiful Ninja Gaiden, could they really fail with DOA: Ultimate? The answer is simply no.
The original DOA has not been changed or altered at all and still looks just as it did on the days of the Saturn, which is actually quite good for those days. But the work done to DOA 2 is just breathtaking. I can honestly say that I was amazed with the amount of detail that Team Ninja put into all of the characters of the game. The DOA style has always been good, but never as impressive as they are in DOA Ultimate. The amount of detail and color, combined with the rich environments is just extremely hard to overlook.
Overall I was just amazed with how perfect the graphical engine worked for DOA Ultimate. I can honestly say this may be the best looking game to ever make its way onto the Xbox, it’s just that good.
You know for a while the classic version was a whole lot of fun, but then when I through in the enhanced version of DOA 2 I never really went back, and that’s because of how much fun the Live support is for this game. Everyone on Live puts up a great fight, and the lobby idea in my eyes works really well. You really will make a lot of friends on Live with this game, and then again a lot of enemies too, which equals some great fighting experiences. The Live support is really what makes this game as fun as it is!
To put the word "ultimate" on the title is quite a risky endeavor, but one this game truly lives up to. For any fan of the series or the fighting genre in general looking for a new game, DOA: Ultimate is a great game for you, go pick it up today!
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.