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The Fighting Spirit is Alive and Kicking in DOA5

Big boobs. It might sound lewd, but that's where many people's minds go whenever they are asked about the one thing that stands out about the Dead or Alive fighting franchise. The series has long been maligned for casual combat mechanics and stagnant gameplay, opting to focus on the...generous assets of the female members of its pugilistic roster. After a long hiatus on consoles (the last entry was DOA 4 at the Xbox 360's launch), Dead or Alive is back, and looking to add some competition to the full fighting game genre in some key ways.<br/><br/>We spent some time with the alpha version of Dead or Alive 5 at a press event held by Team Ninja. The build featured four fighters, all of which were returning from previous DOA games. The ninja Hyabusa (a crossover from Team Ninja's own Ninja Gaiden) and Hayate are back, along with newly revealed returners Ayane and Hitomi. <br/><br/><center> <object id="vid_4e8dee867ebbd84332000034" class="ign-videoplayer" width="468" height="263" data="http://media.ign.com/ev/prod/embed.swf" type="application/x-shockwave-flash"><param name="movie" value="http://media.ign.com/ev/prod/embed.swf"/><param name="" value="true"/><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"/><param name="bgcolor" value="#000000"/><param name="flashvars" value="url=http://www.ign.com/videos/2011/10/06/dead-or-alive-5-extended-demo"/><param name="wmode" value="opaque"/></object> <div style="width:468px"><a target="_blank" href="http://www.ign.com/videos/2011/10/06/dead-or-alive-5-extended-demo">More Dead or Alive 5 Videos</a></div></center><br/><br/>The gameplay feels a lot like previous Dead or Alive games. Throws, blocks, and combos are single-button affairs, and timed counters can be pulled off by tapping the block button along a flick of the thumbstick in the other direction. You'll be able to move your character up and down in a 3D plane to avoid your opponent's attacks. The game feels fluid and controls smoothly, but lacks much of the complexity and challenge of other 3D fighters out there. Combos are often a matter of spamming the punch or kick button while your character pulls off a cool looking spin move, knocking your opponent square into a wall.<br/><br/>One area where Dead or Alive tries to distinguish itself (aside from the aforementioned "boob element") is through its environments. Players are able to use stages to injure their opponents in some pretty cool ways, including knocking them into explosive tanks and setting off environmental triggers and changing the layout of the stage, sometimes pretty significantly. <br/><br/><img src="http://xbox360media.ign.com/xbox360/image/article/121/1214254/DOA51_1323313122.jpg" /><br/>Hitori and Ayane are two returning female fighters from previous DOA games.<br/><br/><br/><br/>DOA 5 places an emphasis on these interactions. You can hold down the trigger button and charge up an attack that has the prime purpose of knocking your opponent into the walls of the stage, initiating a quick-time event where you must hit a button in time to generate a damaging reaction. Defensively, you'll be able to pull off a few new moves as well. Getting kicked off of a ledge will trigger another event, where hitting the button at just the right moment will cause your character to "grab" the ledge and not get knocked down. These moves give DOA5 a more "action game" feel than your typical fighter, and might help it stand out in the crowded fighting genre. However, from what we saw at the preview event, it's inclusion in DOA 5 feels pretty gimmicky and doesn't add much in the way of skill-based gameplay. Granted, we did only see it working in one area, but hopefully the feature will be fleshed out more.<br/><br/>Will Dead or Alive 5 be able to transcend the series' reputation and be more than just a pretty face? It's hard to say at this point, we'll be able to weigh in more next year when DOA5 gets closer to release.<br/><br/>&#169;2011-12-07, IGN Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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