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Dead or Alive 5 Preview

by Diogo Miguel August 30, 2012

It’s been a long wait for fans but Dead or Alive is finally back. Not only has that but the team at Team Ninja seems intent on not making this just another sequel. Will Dead or Alive 5 finally prove that there is still potential or will it end up being ignored by the fighting community?

Dead or Alive 5 isn’t just as simple as spamming a couple of moves anymore. The combat mechanics from the previous entries have been modified. This means that some of the more powerful moves that some characters have been replaced. Ryu Hayabusa for example has been stripped of his torpedo like forward move. Instead, it is now only possible to use the same control input to perform a short range kick. Thoughtful changes like this shows the new focus that Team Ninja is trying to take the series towards.

It’s not just the removal of these called cheap moves that makes this an improved fighting experience. Characters have various new moves which makes it easy to chain moves. It’s now even more satisfying to find out which moves go well together. Sometimes victory depends on being able to successfully creating a combo chain. As usual, these combo chains are performed in such a graceful manner that it will leave the player mesmerized.

Overall, it feels like Dead or Alive 5 is being aimed at the fighting community. It still feels like a Dead or Alive video-game, However, it has been changed so that it is now tougher for beginners to get away with just pressing a random combination of buttons. The superb counter system continues to ensure that anyone that continues to use the same move can get punished.

The way that the newly introduced slowdown move is used has also changed. It basically made it possible to throw an opponent in any particular direction. Anyone lucky enough to have tried one of the demos in the last few months would agree. There is a limit to how many times this move is used now. It seems reasonable considering that it was rather too easy to take advantage of it in the demo. It is instead only activated when the player needs it the most.

Perhaps the only downside is that some of the level props are now tougher to interact with. It is particularly noticeable in the construction stage, where some of the props are now harder to use. It’s just a small payoff to ensure that fights don’t consist of people constantly spamming this move.

One of the highlights in Dead or Alive is the stages. This new tournament is already looking promising with lots of different locations. Not only that but they are filled with lots of objects that players can use to their advantage. A block of ice, for example, stood in the way of both fighters during a match. The question is who is brave enough to try and start the fight again. It could either end up being an efficient strategy, or the perfect moment for being punished by the opponent.

The stages are now more dangerous than ever. There are various traps to make sure that players are kept on their toes. These aren’t exactly conventional traps. As with previous Dead or Alive video-games, each of the stages has a couple of platform layers. It’s fairly straightforward to push another fighter off the edge to a lower platform in some stages. However, the real pleasure comes from finding out how to make use of less obvious parts of the environment, to moderately punish the opponent.

How exactly do the Virtua Fighter characters fit in with the Dead or Alive 5 cast? It’s surprising but both Akira and Sarah feel at home when fighting against the Dead or Alive cast. Akira for example still has the same fighting style that he is so well known for in the Virtua fighter video-games. Anyone scared that this crossover will ruin their memories of both characters should feel relieved, as it’s a pleasure to use both characters.

In contrast the new character Rig is quite different when compared to the rest of the Dead or Alive 5 cast. His fighting style means that he is a character that will take some time to master. It just shows the commitment that Team Ninja undertook in ensuring that Dead or Alive 5 isn’t just another sequel.

The character models are now even more detailed. It’s hard to believe that it could surpass Dead Or Alive 4, in terms of the visuals. The smallest of details, such as sweat dripping down a character’s chest, make for an exciting fighting experience. The characters themselves have more realistic physical appearances. This is complimented by unique clothing designs for each character. Some might look slightly bizarre but that is part of the Dead or Alive charm.

Dear or Alive 5 is a bold new direction in a series that is famous for putting a lot of focus on its female character assets. The skimpy outfits are still there but so are the improved fighting mechanics. Dead or Alive 5 has the potential for being one of 2012’s fighting video-game highlights.

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