Since the original, back in 1996, Dead or Alive has increasingly moved from being a hardcore fighter to a showcase of Adonis-like men and disproportionate (yet beautiful) women sparring in wonderfully colourful environments.
It even spawned three, barely interactive, volleyball games. From this early look, it seems Team Ninja are doing little to arrest that trend of form over function - but that's no bad thing.
Why? Dead or Alive has always been accessible, through a combination of good-looks and well-balanced fighting. The hardcore sniff at the emphasis on flowing animation over complete, twitch-sensitive control, but this is the very thing that lends DOA its appeal. With the new game Team Ninja are focusing on this sense of spectacle.
Fighting arenas are designed to work with combos, letting you not only smash opponents in the guts, but fling them into suspended girders, or knock them off roof-tops into the street. There's a new charge move too (performed by holding down RB), which lets you hurl yourself at your opponent with a spectacular, pre-animated sequence of strikes, before smashing them away at the angle of your choice, sending them face-first into a passing car or a carelessly placed electric fence.
Team Ninja continue to roll out confirmed characters too, with Hitomi and Ayane the most recent additions. Both are series staples, so hardly a surprise, but they look better than ever with super-slick animations and new visual tricks that cake them in dirt and sweat as the fight goes on.
Given the fighting genre's penchant for sharing, expect characters from Ninja Gaiden 3 to appear in DOA5, along with Rachel from NG Sigma and maybe − just maybe − Bayonetta. We think she'd fit right in to this beautiful fighter.
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