These characters were actual fighters, who regularly beat the crap out of each other in a tournament instead of lazing on a beach in a strange pseudo dating sim. When will Dead or Alive be a fighting game again? To me, the Dead or Alive series has never been the most technical of fighting games.
I myself was a fan early on, but admittedly missed the next-gen entry in DOA4and once the it went to beach-based eye candy, it lost me and many other fans completely. It seems as though Team NINJA has realized this, thus Dead or Alive 5 has one of the deepest fighting systems in the series, while still keeping its button-mashing casual fans happy.
The franchise staple of a four-button system punch, kick, block, and throw returns, but a few new features have been added to spice things up a bit. For starters, there is now a tag-team element — doing a simple grab without any direction on the analog stick allows for a team grab or throw.
You can of course tag in your character with the press of the shoulder button as well. The movesets for each character seem to have grown larger even from the last entry almost eight years ago. Characters have hundreds of move combinations, and the advanced counter system allows for even more transitional attacks and evades.
While counters have been a staple in titles, this hold system seems to spin the standard counter attack style on its head. Every grapple, attack, and counter flows seamlessly.
The holds mesh well with the standard moves, and never was there an issue of clipping or bad animations — everything looks beautifully choreographed, as if the fights were planned that way. It really is remarkable.
Yes, boobs still move strangely independent of one another in odd omni-directional ways, but the animations are slightly more realistic now. Okay, it still looks kind of weird, but not as weird as it once was. The environments have been upgraded too — every stage seems to have at least one extra tier to it, and getting knocked through paneling, off balconies, and even into giant spring loaded hammers bring the pain to you or your opponents.
Several stages have an additional danger zone, which when triggered changes the environment and can cause massive damage. When it starts flashing red, a combination of buttons plus a direction different for each character held for a few seconds powers up the technique, which unleashes a furious attack with a slick animation… if it connects.
While there is also a practice mode, the roughly three-hour story is the best way to unlock titles, characters, and costumes.
Speaking of characters, DOA5 appears to have the largest roster ever, with seemingly all characters from entries making an appearance. Each character has several costumes, each unlocked in various ways. Of course, there has to be the slightest of perv factors, so some costumes can become translucent from sweat or water, revealing more bounce and jiggle for those longing for that kind of thing. That not enough perviness?
No worries, you can move the camera closer here too! Online also offers many options, including standard Simple Matches, Ranked Matches, Lobby Matches, and even arcade-style or global tournaments.
Sadly, all the online features are behind an online pass found on the back of the instruction manual, in what is clearly becoming the standard for all games with an online component. Dead or Alive 5 is a delicious surprise.
While casual fighting game fans will be able to pick up and play, serious combatants will enjoy the rich and deep counter and hold system, as well as the tag team elements where unique match-ups can offer their own rewards. Impressive efforts with a few noticeable problems holding them back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.
Filed under Oh, wait. How about now? Great Impressive efforts with a few noticeable problems holding them back.