Dead or Alive 5 Preview
As most of you know, I wouldn’t rank the Fighting category among my favorites in gaming. However, there are a couple franchises that have snagged me in the past; one of them is Mortal Kombat and the other is Dead or Alive. I can still remember dominating a roomful of my buddies in DoA2: Hardcore, which was quite the impressive title for the PS2. …it was the last time I’d dominate anyone in a fighting game, but hey, it still happened.
And that’s why I’m definitely interested in seeing what Tecmo has to offer in Dead or Alive 5. The developers have already made a few encouraging statements, including the fact that they’re really focusing on the mechanics and physics of the newest entry…and yes, they mean physics beyond breast bouncing. In fact, based on the tone of those designer comments, it seems like Team Ninja is a little peeved at the assumption that DoA is only about T&A. They want to prove that the heart of a robust, fully fleshed-out fighter beats beneath all that appealing skin.
If you’re familiar with the series, you know what to expect in terms of visuals: Very slick, very clean, and very vibrant. The animations should also be silky smooth and this time around, environmental interaction will be a major staple of the experience. Before, we’d maybe bash through a few areas during a match but now, various obstacles and other objects in the landscape will come into play. Plus, there are all-new gameplay elements that should add both depth and variety to a mechanic that was once heavily centered on counters.
First up are the Power Blows, which are attacks that begin an environmentally-related attack. The interesting part is that you have to wait until your character has less than 50% health before executing a Power Blow; guess the developers didn’t want players tossing their opponents into walls right off the bat. As it turns out, there was some feedback from fans who said if Power Blows were available all the time, it would make the game too easy. That’s probably true. Anyway, each character will require a different button input to start the move and there’s a charge time, too, so it’ll be tough to get exactly right.
Power Blows have also been added to the Tag Matches. As you might expect, both of your fighters must be below 50% health; one of your characters executes the Power Blow, which first throws the opponent towards your teammate. Your teammate then uses the environment to seriously fu** up that hapless opponent. Last on the list is the Critical Burst, which will definitely take some practice. When you take damage, your health bar will flash for a brief second; this is where you can perform a Burst, which puts your surprised opponent into a crippled state. The designers might alter this feature before the game arrives, though.
Dead or Alive 5 is set to launch on September 25 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Bounciness will definitely be a part of it, but make no mistake: This one’s a fighter, through and through.
6/25/2012 Ben Dutka