Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate will be Free-to-Play on the PSN

Free-to-play. Those three words conjure up a storm in me; part skeptical hailstorm, part misleading sunshine. If it’s free, why not just call it free? Free-to-play makes me think there’s something else up its sleeve intended to lure me in like a drug dealer passing out free samples of pot behind a middle school. Eventually they’re gonna charge and I’m gonna be hooked.

The latest game to get the free-to-play treatment is Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate. You heard that right. It’s not Angry Birds or some other game you only play when standing in line at Wal-Mart in your hometown, awkwardly avoiding meeting eyes with anyone you may have went to high school with. No, it’s a full-blown “real” game for a “real” console. Namely, the PS3 (no word yet on an Xbox 360 version but it’s likely).

So what do you get, exactly, for free in Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate? Not much, actually, but who cares? It’s free! From the get go, you’ll have access to Kasumi, Ayane, Hayate and Ryu, with all of the other characters showing up as AI opponents to smash against the semi-interactive environments. Online play and training mode will also be free. The rest of the DOA cast is unlocked through in-game purchases, but there will be trial periods for each character, allowing you to try before you buy.

Each character will cost approximately $3.99 to purchase. Story mode is not included in the free-to-play version and will set you back $14.99 as DLC.

What’s more, all of your earned titles, costumes and Story progress can be transferred from Dead or Alive 5 on the PS3.

Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate comes out in the PlayStation Store on Sept. 3, 2013.