When Dead Or Alive 5 came out for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 last year, a few fighting fans dismissed it as being "the same old thing".  But, to most players' surprise, it was quite the in-depth fighter, doing away with some of the cheapness in previous games, with a better balancing system in place, some great new characters, and online options galore.  The fact that the graphics have excelled over previous versions is worth noting as well, though usually expected for fighting sequels these days.

Tecmo has now turned to bringing this fighting action to the portable front, as Dead Or Alive 5+ isn't too far off from release for the PlayStation Vita.  This game brings all the fighting action of the original to a comfortable transition on the handheld, along with a few new features that both fighting fans and Vita fanatics will want to take note of.

All of the fighters from Dead Or Alive 5 will come in the Vita version, including their outfits via downloadable content.  There are varying styles that come with each fighter, such as Ayane's well-appreciated Mugen Tenshin Hajinmon Ninjitsu, which enables her to change up techniques on the fly.  But the balance still remains the name of the same, so other fighters can easily keep up with her.  Rig, for instance, is devastating with his leg techniques, utilizing Taekwondo, and the voluptuous Tina is more than just a pretty face, combining her strength with pro wrestling moves to send her opponent flying to the ground.

For good measure, Tecmo has also made good at throwing some fresh blood into Dead Or Alive 5, including a trio of fighters from Sega's Virtua Fighter series.  Pai Chan, Sarah Bryant and Akira Yuki are present and accounted for here, with adapted styles based on the techniques from their original series.  They're mixed in rather well in the DOA universe, holding her own alongside veterans like Bass and Ryu Hayabusa.  With over 20 fighters in all (newcomer MMA champ Mila is slowly becoming a favorite as well), there are more than enough characters to play around with.

Those of you who are new to the DOA universe can check out the Tutorial Mode, which will walk you through the basics of the game's mechanics so you can master them, through a series of pre-set scenarios.  There is a small learning curve here, but eventually, you'll get the hang of chaining together combos, mastering grab and counter moves, and sending your opponent sailing into a new area to fight in.

Like some other fighting games before it (namely Capcom's offerings), Dead Or Alive 5+ will also enable touch screen fighting, allowing you to strike at opponents simply using on-screen taps.  The precision of your techniques probably won't be as good as using buttons that have been assigned for punches and kicks, but hey, for those of you who want to get more out of your Vita's touch screen, it's worth a try.

And the touch screen features actually integrate with a neat little first-person mode, which activates when you hold the PS Vita up vertically.  This shifts the action into a first-person perspective, allowing you to get into the viewpoint of your character and see all the attacks and blows from their point of view.  Though we haven't had a chance to see this mode in action, it sounds interesting, a fresh take on a series that's been running for nearly 15 years now.

It's all about the fighting, and Tecmo is assuring fans that the Vita version will run just as smoothly as the console ones.  The game will retain a consistent 60 frames per second speed throughout each fight, so you won't have to worry about lag entering the picture, or if your inputted commands will respond the right way.  If you lose a fight, it's pretty much your fault.  

Performance is everything in Dead Or Alive 5+, especially considering that it'll not only support online play through the PlayStation Network, but also Cross-Play, so you can challenge the PS3 fighting elite with no connection problems.  Though we've seen this feature before in other fighters (like last year's Street Fighter x Tekken and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3), it's always great to see another brawler support it.

Dead Or Alive 5+ looks to be a great repackaging of the game we've been fighting with since this last year.  Touch screen controls, an innovative (if quirky) new first person fighting mode, a new Tutorial system, all the fighters (including the Virtua Fighter characters), and full support for Cross-Play platform challenges and online functionality.  And this comes on top of the stages you'll be fighting through, with their striking beauty and varying changes throughout that'll keep you on your toes.  We can't wait to get to fighting with this one.

Dead Or Alive 5+ hits stores March 19th, and should be available in both retail form and as a download through the PlayStation Network.