Controversy has always surrounded the Dead or Alive franchise, the infamous fighting series with a heavy emphasis on scantily-clad women beating up equally semi-naked opponents. I picked up Team Ninja’s re-release of Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate, Dead or Alive 5: Last Round, with some reluctance; I typically avoid games with any ‘sexist’ tone and box quotes like “enhanced graphics make the hottest fights in gaming even hotter” and a CD printed to make it appear to have moist was certainly cringe worthy. Although having played – and thoroughly enjoyed – what the game has offered, I’ve come close to having my opinion totally reversed. Dead or Alive 5: Last Round is a game that certainly knows its niche. It’s totally understands how people view and play the game. It knows exactly what it is, a guilty pleasure.
Whilst the game does feature a story mode, it is obviously not the main feature of the game and hence does not deserve to be treated as such. Hence, you can be forgiving of the absurdity, poor-pacing, lack of any real character development and lack therefore of most other concepts you usually associate with a ‘story’. Instead, the mode really serves as a vehicles to meet the roster of characters that appear in Last Round, learn their play styles and explore the variety of stages.
That being said, the story mode is not absent of enjoyable moments. There are several genres present within the one storyline; at times it attempts to be more thrilling and dramatic, at other times, comedic or soap opera-esque. This served me nicely as a first time player of the franchise as there were story arcs that diverted from an more elaborate back story and provided more straight forward context for the fights that were about to ensue.