The Dead or Alive series has always had an enthusiastic appreciation for the fairer sex. Dead or Alive 5 is no exception. Katsumi, Hitomi, Tina, and the rest of this top-heavy cast have returned as full-figured as ever. But DOA5’s exaggerated brand of beauty is only skin deep. It’s the foundation of solid fighting mechanics that gives this game its true appeal.
Combat in Dead or Alive 5 is divided into strikes, holds, and throws. These attack types form an rock, paper, scissors relationship: strike beats throw, throw beats hold, and hold beats strike. Strike has a good chance at beating hold as well, since the defending player must execute the correct hold with perfect timing. Strikes also have the greatest potential for damage because you can combo them together–while the majority of holds and throws end with a hard knockdown. This damage potential is further enhanced by one of DOA5’s two new techniques, the critical burst.
Critical bursts are a new tool designed to extend combos and guarantee damage. Visually, they are almost indistinguishable from normal strikes, but successfully landing one puts opponents into a helpless state. From here, attacking players can finish out their combo unhindered by the possibility of a hold. The second new technique is the power blow. You can perform this highly cinematic attack only once per round, and only when you are below half health. Landing the power blow triggers a brief combo, and then the recipient is slammed into the environment, which deals substantial damage.