Call me crazy, but I love the Dead or Alive series, so you could say my expectations for Dead or Alive 5 to be, well, pretty high.
Dead or Alive Dimensions is something I regularly bring out on the 3DS, not to mention I smile when I see someone play Dead or Alive 4. One thing I look for in a fighting series is a familiarity level when the next game in a series is introduced. MvC2 to MvC3 had it; aside from the new roster and visual style, I felt like I was playing the same game. MvC3 to UMvC3 didn’t have this, which is why it faltered in my eyes. So, all this being said, did I feel right at home when I grabbed the controller and played Dead or Alive 5?
Yes. A resounding yes.
From the moment I began a match, whether with Christie, Katsumi, or Ayane (more on her later), I didn’t feel alienated by new features, controls, or mechanics. I was right at home, performing the same combos and moves I’d normally do on my Xbox 360 or 3DS, but on brand new stages and very, very impressive visuals. That’s not to say that this is a straight up port of an old game, far from it in fact. Ayane, for example, feels a bit different, but in a good way. She feels a bit stronger with her attacks, though I’m not quite sure yet, but I feel like she’s less fun to play.
The stages of Dead or Alive 5 are one of the true stars on display, featuring varied environments such as a war zone, circus ring, and rooftop. Well, they all start out this way, as in typical Dead or Alive fashion, the environments are far from static; the circus lights will dim, you’ll be thrown off a roof, and kicked further into a war zone. Dead or Alive has always been about successfully navigating and manipulating the environment around you, and Dead or Alive 5 is no different. Heck, if anything, it’s even better than its console predecessor.
We didn’t get to see a full roster just yet, as Tecmo Koei wasn’t ready to announce it, but we did get a nice surprise to see Akira of Virtua Fighter fame as a character in the series. He fits in so well, I didn’t realize who he was until after a couple of matches. Zack, a new character, helps display the game’s various and vibrant costumes available, as he ranges from being straight out of the 70s, afro and all, to straight out of an MMA fight. Oh, and Katsumi looks irresistible in leather.
Dead or Alive 5 is shaping up quite nicely in time for its release this fall and is poised to battle with the big boys of the fighting genre.