Team Ninja has a history of great games under its belt but they are most famous for the Dead or Alive and Ninja Gaiden series. With Itagaki in the driver’s seat, they were pushing console hardware to its very limits achieving graphics that few other companies could.

Unfortunately, since Itagaki left the company, the team has been making one sub-par game after another. We sure all want to forget the disgrace Ninja Gaiden 3 was.

Unfortunately, Dead or Alive 5 in my mind was another example of a team having lost its way. The team made some questionable choices when it came to graphical choices for the game to the point that it sometimes looked worse than the xbox 360 launch title: Dead or Alive 4. There were a few reasons for this:

  • Lack of anti-aliasing
  • Lack of texture filtering – DOA 3 and 4 had better!
  • What looked like atrocious texture work all round
  • The buttery-smooth 60fps from previous games was replaced by glitchy framerates and freezes.

Well, imagine my surprise when I started Dead or Alive 5 Last Round on Xbox One X. The console’s 4K upscaling, forced 16x texture filtering and higher compute power allows the game to run smoothly, the texture work to shine through finally (although it still leaves something to be desired at times) and the game runs at 1080p continuously without the dynamic scaler kicking in with what looks like proper AA in most of the levels. It does look like the game applies AA based on GPU load, and only when there is GPU overhead left. The transformation is massive in my eyes: the game now looks to be worthy of the Dead or Alive name. It’s worth checking it out on the Xbox One X. The previous low quality presentation gives way to a sharp smooth look. Awesome!

Now if only Team Ninja could be fixed so easily. Their recent showings don’t give us much hope and it’s unfortunate, because unless Tecmo takes some radical action, they will waste and possibly ruin two of the best gaming IPs: Dead or Alive and Ninja Gaiden. My advice to Tecmo:

  1. Allow Microsoft to make all previous games available on Xbox One X in 4K – and get some more life out of those games.
  2. Time to sack whoever was responsible for Ninja Gaiden 3 and DOA 5!
  3. Consider building a new more capable team around these two IPs.

I would like to see Team Ninja pushing console hardware to its limits once again with the crazy attention to detail they were once renowned for. It’s not enough to do well enough to kind of meet what other developers do! We want to be amazed once again with what you can do other developers only dream of… 

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