The lights are on
I Am A Fighter Indeed
Concept: Bring Dead and Alive back for a new generation of consoles with a assortment of new combos and fighting mechanics to up the ante
Graphics: The environments look stunning, and the character models don't lag far behind
Sound: While the soundtrack leaves something to be desired, vocals and sound-effects sound good
Playability: The Game feels fresh, while still remembering its Dead or Alive roots; combos feel great, and the stages each feel unique in their own way
Entertainment: The learning curve isn't too steep, and once you get the hang of it, the non-stop combo stacking action just becomes to good to give up on
Replay Value: Moderate
When someone thinks of Dead or Alive, its usually something along the lines of them trying to imagine large breasted animated women bouncing around throwing kicks at each other. That's okay. While this may be the selling point for some, the deep combat, incredible secenery, and competitive edge of this new entry should be the reason you decide to pick up Dead or Alive 5.
I'll start off by saying that the many little edits and polishes from Dead or Alive 4 show off in a array of ways, including a new tutorial session that should help out new visitors to the franchise through the learning curve. This Training Mode tells you just about everything after you swing a punch, including the data and some interesting feedback on why you keep messing up your combos on multiple occasions. I found myself actually playing training mode more often the rest just to see what kind of crazy little combos I could come up with.
On the top of my gameplay tweak list, I found that the way counter-hold was actually handled pretty well this time around. If your a fan of the previous games, then you most likely remember counter-holding being much too easy. The increase in difficult has significantly balanced the game in more ways then one, and I'm glad Team Ninja took the high-road on this one.
Stages this time around come with a wide array of back-ground distractions, all of which keep the fighting tense and the players on their toes. They are all beautifully rendered on this consoles generation, and dare I say, even better eye candy them some of the fighters. Not paying attention to whats going on can affect your fight later on, but pay to much attention to that one little bush and your opponent will gain the upper hand without a moments notice.
One of the main gripes I tend to have with Dead or Alive is the story. It's not terrible, especially compared to some other fighting games, but it could do with its improvements. What I am glad for is the fact that the narrative takes back-seat to the real meat of the game, which is the fighting. A trade-off I'm more then happy to make.
In the end, I came away from Dead or Alive content. The game delivered on what was truly important; the fighting. The revamps to the gameplay, the new stages, the new Training Mode, and all the fighters are worth a purchase of this new entry in the franchise. It seems to me that Dead or Alive is much more Alive then anyone originally thought possible, and that alone deserves at least a rent of this great fighter.
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