Dead or Alive 5
- Publisher: Tecmo Koei
- Developer: Team Ninja
- Release Date: September 25, 2012
- PlayStation 3 Retail/PSN
12 years have passed since a Dead or Alive title has graced a PlayStation console. The last one was Dead or Alive 2 Hardcore on the PlayStation 2. Now Dead or Alive 5 has arrived on the PS3 and it’s a beast. The game features an impressive roster of fighters including:
- Gen Fu
- Brad Wong
- Lei Fang
- Ryu Hyabusa
- Mila (new)
- Rig (new)
- Pai, Akira and Sarah (Virtua Fighter)
The core gameplay will be very familiar to series veterans. Fights in the Dead or Alive series are based on a “triangle system”(think rock paper scissors) strikes beat throws, throws beat holds, and holds beat strikes. The system requires a lot of skill to master but don’t let your guard down because with all of the moves the fighters posses a button masher can give you a run for your money. The fighting is just as fast paced and exciting as ever and this time around the fighting system has been expanded to include Power Blows. Power Blows are similar to super moves in other fighters and can be performed after your health meter is glowing red after taking damage. After successfully hitting your opponent with a Power Blow you can aim your opponent at a hazard in the arena or crashing through a wall in one of the series trademark multi-tiered stages. Sending and opponent over a waterfall or from the roof of a skyscraper simply never gets old. Blockbuster stages and Cliffhangers have been added to the mix and tie in to the Power Blow system.
With Blockbusters certain arenas can explode, be taken siege by soldiers and even be over run with circus tigers if a Power Blow launches a fighter in to the right spot. Cliffhangers occur when a fighter has been sent over the edge of a stage by a Power Blow but manages to hang on to the edge. The player that performed the Power Blow can then execute a devastating attack on the hanging fighter sending him/her down to the next area for massive damage.
All of the game modes you’d expect are present and accounted for with Arcade, Survival, Time Attack, Photo and Online Multiplayer. This time around the developers have opted to add a Story mode to the game instead of telling each character’s story during endings at the end of the Arcade ladder. The Dead or Alive series has never been known for its story telling so this may not have been the best choice. The story of Helena rebuilding DOATEC and gathering all of the other fighters together for another DOA tournament never gets entertaining enough to warrant having this mode replace arcade endings. After 30 minutes or so I found myself only interested in finishing the story to unlock other fighters etc. The story mode attempts to weave in some training by issuing missions to the player at the beginning of each fight (perform a 5 hit combo, etc.) but other than that there is no real incentive to go through the story a second time.
While the story maybe underwhelming the fighting is not and a lot of your time will be spent online in the always fantastic multiplayer. Up to 16 players can battle it out in a tournament, watch others battle and chat with other players in spectator mode or practice with other players in the online dojo. You can also register another player you have fought and issue a challenge to him or her at anytime. Challenges can be received even while playing in Arcade mode for an instant transition to online multiplayer. The game is also tied into Facebook and your major milestones can be shared with your friends directly from the game.
While a lot of what Dead or Alive 5 offers isn’t exactly new to the series or fighting games in general, there really isn’t a need to shake things up here. The fighting is fun and engaging and the unlockables, multiplayer as well as the promise of add on content will keep you coming back for more even if the narrative is a little flat.
FINAL SCORE: 8.5