Dead or Alive 5

Power Blows, Critical Bursts, And Virtua Fighter Guest Stars
by Kyle Hilliard on Jun 07, 2012 at 11:44 AM
Publisher: Tecmo Koei
Developer: Team Ninja
Rating: Mature
Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

After a seven year hiatus, Dead or Alive finally returns to consoles with guest characters from Virtua Fighter.

We already knew about Akira Yuki making a guest appearance in Dead or Alive 5, and here at E3 Tecmo revealed that Sarah Bryant would also be appearing in the game. Tecmo also revealed that Bass would be a fighter, which isn’t particularly surprising, but is new. Ultimately, Tecmo is saying the game will have more than 20 characters, and more than 15 stages.

Combat looks and feels the same on the surface, but a few little tweaks separate DoA5 from previous iterations. The most noticeable difference are the stages. They feel much more destructible and responsive to what is going on in the battle. In a match I played on a rooftop, Ryu from Ninja Gaiden threw Lei Fang (me) into a wall, knocking out the structural integrity of the building causing the floor to shift and buckle during round two. The stage began to incline and assorted objects and pieces of broken wall began to slide towards the ground. The incline didn’t affect the tactics of using high, middle, and low hits, but it will apparently affect juggles.

The window for pulling off counters has been shrunk significantly, and I could tell. Over the course of three matches, I was only able to pull off two counters successfully. Sidestepping has been tweaked allowing for better dodging, but I couldn’t tell a noticeable difference without having Dead or Alive 4 to compare. Admittedly though, I haven’t played Dead or Alive 4 since its release.

Two other new additions to combat are Critical Bursts and Power Blows. Critical bursts are difficult to activate, but can be used to stun your opponent during a combo. It took Tecmo’s representative multiple tries to show it, and even when he was able to pull off the difficult move, it only stunned the opponent for a few seconds.

Power Blows are much more interesting and easier to activate, even if they are hard to pull off. After you reach half-health, you can charge up an attack. If you get hit while charging, you must restart, but if you are able to land it, the game slows down, changes to black and white, and lets you point the camera in the direction you want to knock your opponent towards. You can hit your opponent towards walls to cause destruction, or in some cases you can aim towards things like helicopters in the background. It creates some crazy destruction, which will affect the next round. The rooftop scenario above where the stage began to fall apart was a product of a Power Blow.

Tag Match is making a return, allowing for two on two battles, but it isn’t dramatically different from Tag Match of previous DoAs. You can pull off team based Power Blows where each character performs a consecutive Power Blow, but otherwise it’s the same familiar two-on-two tag team battles.

Dead or Alive 5 is coming to PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 September 25.