Ask anyone who knows anything about DoA, and the first thing they'll say is "Boobs". However accomplished the gameplay, however good a DoA game might actually be, nobody seems to see beyond the breasts.
But then, if you will put enormous, pendulous, wobbling, inhumanly large tatt-ays in your game - and affix them to characterless mannequins - what do you expect?
We suppose it's a bit like all that subtext about third world debt which was snuck into the Carry On films; nobody remembers that, just Barbara Windsor's bra flying off.
But so shameless has the DoA franchise become, that Dead or Alive 5: Last Round has an option that allows you to adjust just how much the game's breasts jiggle. We can't pretend we were enormously offended - so plastic and un-emotive are the characters anyway that they're anything but "sexy" - but it does all seem slightly unnecessary in the current climate.
However, when speaking to Weekly Famitsu, producer Yosuke Hayashi seemed rather proud of the attention to bosoms in the next-gen update: "We call the technology we used to advance skin and breast physics the 'Softness Engine'. Once you see it on the new consoles, you won't be able to go back."
Well, now we have seen it, we probably still could go back... but we can confirm that this is indeed the wobbliest of all the Dead or Alive games.
Not that you really care, but DoA 5: Last Round features everything from DoA 5: Ultimate, as well as new, even more sexist, costumes, plus customisable hair, two new characters, and a couple of new stages.
What that translates to is 30+ characters (including appearances from a handful from Sega's Virtua Fighter franchise... oh, how the mighty have fallen) - the majority of them skimpily-dressed, large-breasted, girls. You know how these things go by now. You don't need us to drag it out. Part beat 'em up, part Barbie doll dressing up box... basically, Freud would have a field day.
Oddly, we've always liked the DoA series because we find it a lot easier to play than many other fighting games. We're not hardcore beat 'em up fans - we're cack-handed incompetents, frankly - and DoA is exactly the sort of entry-level game that we can more or less handle. It's just a bit of a shame, especially given the accusations of inherent sexism levelled at the games industry these days, that DoA seems to wobble right into the critics' hands.
There's a good game in here... and it'd still be a good game without the stretched-to-snapping-point bikinis. But then, they'd have to find some other USP, and it's probably a bit late for that. This is the fighting game which has the big boobs, and - rightly or wrongly - Tecmo is utterly unapologetic about that.
SUMMARY: Virtua Fighter - Swimsuit Edition.
OVERALL: 64DD out of 100DD