Tecmo-Koei has done a lot of homework with Dead or Alive 5
. I got that vibe in the twenty minutes I spent getting my ass kicked by Master, one of the hired hands from the fighting game community that Tecmo-Koei has obviously been paying attention to. The game is immediately more competitive than previous incarnations, allowing for options like turning the danger zones on or off, adjusting the dynamic camera, and the introduction of power moves. Dead or Alive 5 is a lot more customizable now, allowing for players to take a more casual route, where danger zones and dynamic levels and all the flash of previous Dead or Alive games are present. Or if you're the serious competitive type, all of that stuff can be turned off, making for a completely different experience.
The character roster on the show floor had twelve combatants, including one special guest, Akira from Virtua Fighter. He felt and played identically to his Sega counterpart, so it's good to see that Tecmo-Koei is taking the inclusion of Virtua Fighter characters seriously. No new characters were present on the Dead or Alive roster, but those who were present didn't feel like they had any drastic changes made to them. Hitomi still played exactly how I remembered her, she can be a powerhouse in the right hands, as can Hayabusa, a favorite of Master. He made liberal use of Hayabusa's power move, which will send characters flying in whatever direction he determines. This mechanic is actually not terribly powerful on its own, and must be combined with level specific hotspots to make the most out of them. These areas will light up during the slowdown that occurs for a power move, clueing players in on where to aim.
This short hands-on puts a lot of fears I had about Dead or Alive 5 to bed. I thought the Virtua Fighter characters would suffer in the transition to the Dead or Alive world, that is thankfully not the case. I thought the dynamic levels would cause too much havoc on a player's life meter, that is not an issue at all thanks to the myriad of options. I thought Hitomi's weird uncanny valley look would go unnoticed, she is looking better than ever. And with the recently announced release date, gamers won't have to wait long to get their hands on Dead or Alive 5 when it launches on September 25th, 2012 for the Xbox 360 and PS3.