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E3 2013: Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate (Hands-On)

Posted by: Matt at 6/17/2013 12:12 AM
     Dead or Alive 5 didn't really set the world on fire when it was released last year, but it was definitely a solid fighter. The addition of Virtua Fighter characters to the roster helped to bolster the gameplay and the in-depth story mode tried to make sense of this crazy DOA universe. It was definitely a great game, but it wasn't without its flaws, and it looks like the team has taken measures to improve upon the base game greatly with Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate. I got my hands on a fairly far along build on the show floor and it looks like I might be picking this game up again for a second time.

    First up the Team Ninja guys have expanded the roster even further, adding Rachel and Momiji from the Ninja Gaiden franchise, Jacky from Virtua Fighter, and have even gone back to older games in the franchise to bring back Leon and Ein. This is now the largest roster in the Dead or Alive franchise, and they didn't stop there, they even went and added a few more levels for good measure. Now players can return to the Lost World stage perched high up in a canyon, or in the forest stage from DOA3. The new levels include the Tokyo metropolis from the Ninja Gaiden games, an aircraft carrier that features a really large arena, which felt way out of place, and a desert wasteland that had a number of elevation changes, kind of like the snow stage from DOA2.

     Dead or Alive 5 introduced the Power Blow, Ultimate brings out the Power Launcher, which is exactly what it sounds like, these attacks send your opponents skyward to get them ready for a huge juggle combo. Much like Power Blows they require certain conditions to be met before they can be used to their full potential, and can easily turn a fight in your favor. The game also features a number of additions to the Training mode and even has taken a page from the Street Fighter school of training, bringing in a Combo Challenge mode, with some of the best players in the DOA community contributing some of the game's high end combos. 

    Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate will also launch with a Free to Play option that will give players a small handful of fighters when the game launches this September. There will also be a full retail release for those who like their games to be on disc based media. My short hands-on time with the demo certainly has me interested in picking this one up again. Maybe this will finally be the fighter I adopt as my full time gig?