Boobs. One word that pretty much sums up the pre-release talk of Dead or Alive 5. Team Ninja has revealed how they have probed and examined breast movement and spent enormous sums of money on getting them just right. And while breasts can be delightful, it's worrying that there hasn't been more talk about the mechanics and gameplay evolution. It doesn't take long with the final product to realise that something went wrong.
To me the Dead or Alive series has always been a tactical fighting game, where combos and juggles are more important than in other games as you could, with rather simple means, counter your opponent and win. Random button mashing is subsequently severely punished.
That is until the next round kicks off soon thereafter. The intuitive combat system and the swift action has also made it a favourite among those who normally don't devote much time to fighting games, but still want to engage in the occassional fist fight.
The latter is something the Dead or Alive series has in common with the Soul Calibur series, and this has in a way meant that the hardcore fighting community haven't fully embraced them. Completely without reason, as Dead or Alive has been just as entertaining and complex as the other major fighting franchises, and it has always been among my favourite games in the genre.
But somewhere along the way Team Ninja seems to have lost this, and with Dead or Alive 5 they have created a game that feels less fluid than its predecessors. It's difficult to achieve the same flow in the fighting, and it just feels a bit jerky. During many long animations you can't grab your enemies, and it feels a lot like 3D fighting did ten years ago.
One thing in particular that has regressed is you ability to circle your opponent. It is as if Team Ninja were so proud of their new levels, that the ledges are almost magnetic so you fall off to continue the fight down below. Because of these changes it takes me a while to get into the game and feel fully comfortable with a new system that even features dedicated attacks that send your opponents flying to the next stage of the level.
Team Ninja has been talking about how they wanted to make the environments a bigger part of the fights, but sadly it takes away from the actual fighting. I would rather have seen more effort put into the core mechanics, rather than extras added on top.