Sunday | July 23, 2017
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‘Dead or Alive’ is still kicking

<p>Stephens Media</p><p>This screenshot shows a scene from “Dead of Alive 5.”</p>

You kids today are so lucky. I’m sitting here playing “Dead or Alive 5,” the fighting game, past midnight. I want to play against a real person.

So I just go online and play against a real person.

You kids are lucky not only because online competition is an option now, but because it is an incredibly fun, fluid and high-resolution experience.

A decade ago, online gaming wasn’t a great option. If I wanted to play a fighting game against someone, I would get a friend to come over and use the same low-fi TV.

I can still invite a friend over to play “Dead or Alive 5” in my home. And that’s preferable. But it’s not realistic at 12:15 a.m. on a Wednesday.

I just want everyone to be grateful, is all I’m saying.

As for “Dead or Alive 5,” it is a great return to form for my favorite fighting series.

I dig the 360-degree arenas of “DOA 5,” and its realistic portrayal of punching, kicking and mixed martial arts moves.

If you’ve never played a “Dead or Alive,” this is what it’s like: You punch. You kick. You grab opponents by the head and toss them. On defense, you try to grab a rival’s fist or foot while it’s approaching your face or torso.

It’s pretty simple. And yet, you also memorize combinations of basic moves in conjunction with a thumbstick, resulting in scores of character-specific attacks.

But unlike other fighting games, you don’t suddenly pull out a machine gun or spit fire and ice at your opponent. I do have fun with

spit-fire fighting games.

I just enjoy “DOA 5” more for the same reason I choose five-card draw over joker’s wild poker. It tests my abilities on a fundamental

level, without substantive trickery.

But let’s talk about “Dead or Alive 5” in its two main modes. First, you can play solo against the game’s artificial intelligence. That’s pretty fun.

Second, you can play online competition. That’s where the excellence is, because fighting games (as a rule of thumb) excel as a two-person dance.

In fact, I would rather lose an online match against a real person than win an offline solo match against a virtual fighter. That’s my only complaint: The solo fighting is above average (still a good time) compared to the online experience (sweetness).

Oh. I almost forgot to mention there’s not as much partial nudity in “DOA 5.” Previous “DOAs” lured in gamers by objectifying women characters, with magnified upskirt views at their undies. We get less of that now.

But there are still lots of scantily clad women in “DOA 5.” They just don’t roll around naked on beaches this time.

Judge that development with your own sexy moral compass.

“Dead or Alive 5” by Tecmo Koei retails for $60 for Xbox 360 and PS 3 — Plays fun, more so online. Looks terrific. Challenging. Rated “M” for partial nudity, sexual themes and violence. Three and one-half out of four stars.

Doug Elfman is an award-winning entertainment columnist who lives in Las Vegas. He blogs at Twitter at VegasAnonymous.


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