What Mortal Kombat did for blood in the "way back when" days, Dead or Alive now does for breasts. With the latest installment, the series has officially realized the ultimate in "Gainax Effect" research: breasts that are just shy of having their own gravitational pull.
There are countless silly ninja outfits (including a "princess ninja" complete with a jeweled tiara for Kasumi), and lots of pointless yet kickass floaty ninja scarves. The graphics dudes and dudettes have "texture" down pat, and the finest example of their efforts is Zack's (now with Flashy +5) alien suit. It has a shiny ass that reflects the entire environment.
The levels are beautiful. I hate fire, but the Grand Opera stage is one of my favorites. The only way it could possibly be improved is if I could fight my way through the burning seats after watching my opponent being nailed flat by falling columns.
A lot of the stages have a new "feature" (or at least, something I don't remember in previous games) where you can knock your enemy down a flight of stairs, or get your own ass rolled down 'em. It seems to me that the programmers are really proud of their ability to make the body roll naturally, so much so that you can fall almost all the way down the Great Wall of China. I like to "use my environment to the maximum," in order to damage my opponent, but sheesh!
The series sells itself on surface beauty only, and so Ultimate follows easily in its predecessor's footsteps without bringing much new to the table. It's a solid game, but grabbing innovations are lacking (and the characters' facial expressions are as dead as ever).
This game was designed, programmed, and made for men, and as a result, the focus is on fighting, breasts, and female underwear. It's tradition for any Dead or Alive game to have more bounce than brains, but Ultimate takes it to a point where it's flippin' ridiculous. It's a wonder that the female cast doesn't take damage from the backlash of their own breasts! I am told that if you enter your age as 99, you can increase the breast bounce factor. Unfortunately, this gimmick does not work in reverse.
Another bad joke is this: each girl gets an "X-Box" outfit, with the X-Box logo emblazoned most boldly in neon green on her (bikini style) panties. Since each skirt is endowed with the remarkable ability to flip itself upward at any given moment, we have the Ultimate in product placement.
I can handle cheese if it is equally distributed, but Ultimate is leaving me hanging. I am downright annoyed that you can change Kasumi's underwear in any number of ways without putting any effort into it, because I still haven't found the secret to unlocking Ryu Hayabusa in his sexy underpants!