For the longest time, Dead Or Alive has been putting fighting fans into a frenzy, ever since its debut on the Sega Saturn so long ago. Since that time, Tomonobu Itagaki and his team at Tecmo’s Team Ninja have been putting the finer touches on the series, starting with Dead Or Alive 2 on the Sega Dreamcast (and, soon after, the PlayStation 2) before moving on to Xbox territory with Dead Or Alive 3 and, eventually, Xbox 360 with Dead Or Alive 4. They even threw in a couple of guilty pleasures, in the form of the bikini-friendly Dead Or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball and its follow-up, Dead or Alive Xtreme 2.
Since that time, things have gotten ugly between Itagaki and Tecmo, and the partnership between the two eventually dissolved. While the developer and his team toil away on Devil’s Third for THQ, Tecmo is moving along with yet another entry in its fighting series, Dead Or Alive 5. Despite all the sequel releases over the years, this marks the first time that the series will release simultaneously across two platforms, for both Xbox 360 and, for the first time, PlayStation 3. Better late than never, right?
Despite the lack of Itagaki and several of his fellow developers over at Team Ninja, Tecmo still has the fighting series in capable hands. It once again brings back several fan favorites that have been in DOA for years to come, including wrestling powerhouse Tina, ninja master Ryu Hayabusa, and the lovely series staple Kasumi, among others.
As with previous releases in the ongoing fighting saga, Dead Or Alive 5 will once again provide plenty of fan service when it comes to its brawling action. It works with a rock-paper-scissors style set-up when it comes to attacking and countering incoming attacks, with normal attacks (or strikes) taking over throws, throws beating holds (interception counterattacks) and holds beating strikes. This series has always been about developing a counter system that works, though there were times that previous AI opponents overtook a little too easily, going counter crazy as a result. Dead Or Alive should be much more balanced this time around, judging by what we’ve seen so far from the game.
You’ll once again use magnificent battle tactics with each of the characters, whether you prefer the swiftness of Hayate, the power of the incredible Ryu, or throwing people around with Hitomi, one of the youngest – and more interesting – additions to the series. Several faces will be making their return here, including Lei Fang, Zack, and Kororo, among others. And, yeah, chances are you’ll once again be pitted against a mother of a cheap boss, as previous games have thrown in for good measure. (Hey, it helps increase your fighting skills, don’t worry about it too much.)
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Dead Or Alive 5 is the new cast of characters joining the fray. Though not too many franchise characters will be appearing to make it a crossover game, two notable favorites from the Virtua Fighter series will be appearing in Dead Or Alive 5. Akira Yuki was first revealed a few months back, featuring a more traditional combat style as he strikes opponents fiercely, all while barely breaking a sweat on the battlefield. But, recently, we learned of a second character that’s joining the ranks, none other than the lovely Sarah Bryant. She’ll strike hard, but we’re wondering just what the boob physics the series has become known for will do for her.
Yes, the boob physics will make a return in DOA 5, and though they won’t go overboard (unless, of course, you set the age for them to), they’re bound to be something fans enjoy. But then you’d be missing out on the graphic overhaul in general, which are quite a sight. We can easily say that Tecmo has put their best effort into this game to make the environments and character animations shine, and judging by the fights we’ve been in, we’ve merely scratched the surface on what the game will offer.
Where Dead Or Alive 5 will really pick up is with its multiplayer, as fighting fans can flock together locally or online to take each other on. Though Tecmo wasn’t ready to reveal all the modes that will be within the game, we’re still intrigued by the fighting options to be unveiled. Maybe we’ll even get a survival mode again, where we take on a slew of opponents at once. Or perhaps something new with explosive environments again…?
Regardless, Dead Or Alive 5 looks to be a stunning return to form for the series, a real surprise since the main producer behind it departed for other projects. Fans should be pleased by it, and newcomers will have a lot of beat-em-up fun as well. We’ll see how the final game fares when it arrives this September.