Probably known to some, but it was today at Tokyo Game Show that I discovered Sarah and Akira from Virtua Fighter are included in Koei Tecmo’s Dead or Alive 5. This game takes place two years after the destruction of TriTower and follows the story of Helena Douglas trying to rebuild DOATEC. Of the 24 available characters, I played as Gen Fu first and Hayabusa second. The fighting itself was impressively smooth; you could certainly tell this wasn’t the first entry in a series.
The fighting system itself will immediately ring familiar with Paper, Rock, Scissors. Strikes beat Throws, but Throws beat Holds, and Holds beat Strikes. That description didn’t make sense to me at first because I think of “holds” as like a headlock or an arm bar. For my fellow DoA sort-of newbs, their “hold” is just catching the opponent’s attempted strike, then countering. I couldn’t get my throws to work well with Gen Fu (I might just be rusty at 3D fighters or might just suck at this one; I am open to both possibilities), but was killing with them once I took Hayabusa around.
One time in a fight against Sarah, a cinematic scene of her hanging off the edge of a cliff was be triggered, and the stage changed. I am told this had something to do with knocking her off the edge of the battlefield with a powerful attack.
To get the most out of Dead or Alive 5, one needs to take advantage of the Critical Stun and Critical Combo. The former allows the player to knock an opponent into a defenseless state, and the latter allows you to extend the time your opponent is helpless by landing furious combos. These can be devastating, but they end after so many hits. It looks a little weird, but after dealing out a certain number of hits in one of these special combos, the computer will simply stop registering them and the opponent recovers. On one hand, it’s nice to not have a fight end so quickly, on the other, some more offensive-minded brutes might be sad they can’t just one-shot somebody. You give a little and you get a little, eh?
The game looked and sounded great, as expected. The characters and environments all had good detail, and the frame rate never gave me any problems. The PS3 is a powerful machine, and it’s not like developing for it is a new process anymore. The fifth entry into a popular fighting series was bound to have quality graphics and sound, and it does.
Overall, Dead or Alive 5 was a fun fighter. It seems like fans of the series would do well to check it out, and other fighting game lovers ought to give it a look too.