Examining Dead or Alive 5′s Shiny, New Story Mode

Posted in Dead or Alive 5, Fan Service, Fighting Games, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, iGaming, PS3, Xbox360 on September 28th, 2012 by thelonegamer

The DOA5 Story spans various chapters focusing on various characters, which you can revisit at will afterwards.

Dead or Alive 5 is out, and whether you like it or not, the Story Mode is back and bigger than ever. Next to Mortal Kombat, DOA is perhaps the one fighter which really puts a huge emphasis on the narrative that ties everyone (no matter how tenuously) together in the titular Fighting Tournament. So it’s kinda fitting that DOA5′s Story Mode obviously takes a lot of influence from MK9- that actually started off in the 3DS’s Dead or Alive Dimensions, but here it’s all out and bigger than ever.

Instead of the usual Fight-to-the-Boss-to-unlock-individual-endings type of Story Mode, DOA5 follows the MK9 example of telling one big story, divided into chapters starring specific fighters but having just one epic finale, like a big movie. You’ll fight as various characters per chapter, seeing things from their point of view or following their exploits up to a point; after which the torch is passed to another challenger and so forth.

Every character gets their time in the limelight, and the Story does a well enough job of fleshing out some threads of this tapestry…

I really wish that some fights would include an Aftermath cutscene- for the most part, the game just shows the point of challenge, goes through the beatdown and then promptly fades out to a disappointing ‘Few Days Lalter. I really you could see the characters teabag or gloat a little on the bodies of their defeated opponents every now and then…

Once again, it’s the ninja characters to whom the main storyline is centered on, particularly on Kasumi, the ‘Runaway Ninja’ who’s trying to find her clones from the past game. Hot on her heels are her brother, Hayate, and rival/half-sister Ayane, as well as super-shinobi Ryu Hayabusa. Sadly, pretty much everyone else just serves as background, support or occasional antagonist/cannon fodder. Well, the developers ARE after all named Team Ninja, not Team MMA or Team Karate…

Unlike in DOA Dimensions where most cutscenes are basically static vignettes with minimal animation, ALL the cutscenes and cinematics in DOA5′s Story Mode are fully animated, with very detailed character models. The females in particular have evolved slightly from their anime-esque look of games past, but their big, beautiful and liquid eyes still evoke the cuteness.

You can switch from English or Japanese voice tracks, and choose to have English subtitles on or off.

Just like any other show, there are slow chapters you’d wish you could skip, while some you just can’t wait to get to. Of course since every single chapter has to have a couple of fights in it, reasons for the character coming to blows ranges from the simple ‘You look tough, let’s fight’ to the kinda silly ‘You insulted my XX?! Let’s Fight!’

Christie in her black dress…. My, oh, my.

The Story Mode also serves as a bit of a Tutorial/Challenge-Trial mode, with every single-round fight having a little ‘sidequest’ to fulfill in the course of the battle. This starts off simple, lile ‘Block five blows’ but soon turns more complex as you advance, like ‘Score a Seven-Hit Combo while Backturned’ or such. Sadly no way to toggle this…

They DIDN’T…! Or did they? Things are not always as they seem at first in this sordid tale…

At the very least, one big improvement DOA5′s Story Mode has over MK’s is that you have a timeline that you can revisit at anytime after you play through it once. Very convenient if you want to see certain scenes again.

Though it’s often silly and a bit confused with pacing, the story DOES get quite engaging and more epic as it heads towards the end (as you’d expect). Well, what can I say? Ninja kicking ass make for an always entertaining watch. Overall, I think it was very much worth seeing through to the end, and the lavish cutscenes are very nice eye candy. The story itself should please DOA fans if only for the simple fact that it pretty much guarantees that this story of Ninja Girls, Clones, Brawlers, Assassins and Sinister Corporations is far, far from finished.

The most striking part of the character models? Their EYES. Those gloriously detailed, liquid, anime-made-real eyes…

Dead or Alive 5: First Day Impressions

Posted in Dead or Alive 5, Fan Service, Fighting Games, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, PS3, Xbox360 on September 27th, 2012 by thelonegamer

Fast Tube by Casper

The Babes are Back.

I got my copy of Dead or Alive 5 yesterday, and I managed to get in an hour or so of playtime- basically several runs through Arcade Mode at Normal difficulty with my main girl, Hitomi (who’s been my main since DOA3). I’ve always kept this series in my radar, own every copy, but I really haven’t made it a point to learn move lists by heart (kinda like how I am with Soul Calibur). You really don’t need to, after all- unless you’re a Pro Player. That accessibility is part of DOA’s charm. It’s a simple fighter at heart- kinda like VF- but layers and depth is added the more effort you put into it.

Fast Tube by Casper

Newcomer Mila is a refreshing addition to the roster.

At the basic level, DOA5 is very similar to previous installments, but I think more so than ever before, it’s even more open to button-mashing. Really- this game even encourages it. Who cares about the new Power Moves, the Critical Bursts, the interactive stages- no, all you’ll care about when the CPU Opponent becomes an evil, ruthless opponent bent on destroying you with grapple or uncanny magic counter, all strategy, all semblance of circling, dodges, baiting or such go out the window- by then it’s all about offense and you mashing on punch and kick as fast as you can to overwhelm the opponent and keep up the pressure until they stands up no more.

Really, it was irritating to face off with Mila, the new DOA Girl, as she’d continually tackle you and mount you, leading to unavoidable heavy damage. You’re scarcely up before she tackles you AGAIN, or kicks you while you’re getting to your feet VEEEEERRRRRRYY slowly. There’s a degree of floatiness which I find new to this latest DOA, something I’ve never felt in previous chapters. There was also a weird bit of lagging- a 1 or 2 second pause every so often even in offline play which really got me ticked off (this is probably an issue easily fixed by turning Throwdowns ‘OFF’, I’ve read online).

Fast Tube by Casper

What’s the story this time? Still all about cloned ninja girls and evil corporations, I guess.

The game is easily a lot harder, a lot faster and quite a lot prettier. There’s still a semblance of that anime-ish aesthetic that has been in DOA since DOA2, and it’s hard to throw off. But it just takes one look side-by-side of the DOA girls in previous games compared to their latest look to see the HUGE graphic improvement. In particular I am loving the detailed hair and gorgeous faces of the girls- their eyes are bright and liquid, as if the devs poured their efforts into the peepers to distract attention from the more obvious points of interest on the ladies.

Overall though, the game has tons of detail, but still comes off a bit understated. Faces of characters, while pretty, are still mostly expressionless- settings during cutscenes (in Story Mode) are a bit ‘too clean’- hey, I wasn’t expecting anything approaching Pixar-level of CG storytelling (or even Kojima Level) but I wanna be surprised.

Oh, and the story- it’s a looong, huge collection of disparate chapters- while the ‘main’ thread has something to do with the missing Kasumi clones from DOA4, the action jumps around to each fighter as they go about their business, with fights erupting often just so there’s something to do. Circumstances for fights can be as simple as ‘WHAT DID YOU SAY? LET’S FIGHT!” or “YOU LOOK STRONG! LET’S FIGHT!” Well, whatever. At least the cutscenes now are fully animated, unlike the still, frozen vignettes from DOA Dimensions.

I wanna spend a lot more time with DOA before I really give it final judgement. On a casual level, the fighting is very easy to get into, but challenging off the bat with CPU opponents being pretty merciless even at Normal Level of Difficulty (what else on Legendary???). Obviously the game has its depth and like in any quality fighter, any gamer willing to invest time to learn the capabilities and moves of their chosen fighters will fare better against opponents, whether CPU or human. Still, you can scrape wins by raw and persistent button mashing, and by basic knowledge of throws and holds/counters.
It’s certainly fun and an hour of play got me a few unlocked costumes and two guest fighters from Virtua Fighter. For now though, the Story Mode is comprising most of the activity I am involved with as yet.

DOA5 looks and plays as I expected- a visually pleasing, solid return of this longtime franchise after a prolonged absence from the beat ‘em up scene. This early, I can say with certainty that its vast difference in style, pace and flavor makes it a distinct and different game from the competition- Namco’s Gorilla of a Beat ‘Em Up, Tekken Tag 2. Let’s see what happens though when these two brawlers inevitably clash in a contest of wills… heheh.

God of Blades: Chop ‘Em Up On the Go!

Posted in Gadgets, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, iGaming, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Mobile Games, My Stuff on September 27th, 2012 by thelonegamer

Fast Tube by Casper

This atmospheric, stylish run-and-slash is bloody cool.

Just recently, I tried out a game called Infinite Warrior- basically a variation on the ‘Endless Runner’ series of games on the mobile platform (Temple Run). It was kinda neat, but I have to confess that it was pretty shallow and dying instantly when you miss is pretty annoying and disconcerting. Well, this is addressed quite a bit and then some by the newly-released run-and-slash iOS title, God of Blades.

Similar to IW, GOB basically has you taking the protagonist- a mysterious figure known as the Nameless King, from left to right. Simple, right? Well, not really- there are enemies coming in the opposite direction, and you have to chop them up on the fly as they come. Luckily Ol’ Nameless has a penchant for big, fearsome two-handed swords- the kind that would make Soul Calibur’s Nightmare go green with envy. You start with one basic blade and can unlock more as you earn points to ‘unlock memory’ and add new swords to your arsenal. Aside from the standard upward, downward and forward slashes (all done with a simple finger swipe in that direction), each sword can be used to parry (swipe left) or unleash a power which differs with each blade and has their own unique cooldown time.

The Campaign spans several stages across a pretty epic looking backdrop of an alien landscape, with armies battling it out in the background as your warrior spreads carnage up front. The HD, fullscreen visuals and art all brings to mind pulp fantasy and rock and roll fantasy albums, which is the intention. Pretty atmospheric, stylized and just plain cool. You’ll face off with a variety of enemies, from peons who basically just run up to you to die, to more formidable foes who come armored and have to be outwitted a bit with some timely parries and quick thrusts. An extra character can be unlocked for play as you progress, and there’s an Endless mode to test your skills.

This is a very well-done variation on the endless runner/slayer theme, a refreshing take that gives you more control and interaction, and a bit more depth. The ragdoll animation makes for some pretty satisfying kills, and the simple but nuanced gameplay will have you running your device’s battery to death as you just try for ‘one more kill…’

If you’re into fast action, you can do a lot worse than God of Blades. Try it out on the cheap at just $2.99 on the appstore.

The Latest Resident Evil Trailer is… Just. Watch.

Posted in Action Adventure, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, PS3, Survival Horror, Xbox360 on September 26th, 2012 by thelonegamer

Fast Tube by Casper

Desperation makes for a gripping watch.

With all the freakin’ fighting games and RPGs out or coming out, there’s this little title called RESIDENT EVIL 6 that just may get lost in the shuffle… NOT! Nope, this latest chapter in Capcom’s classic and often embattled Survival-Horror series is looking great and gruesome, and looks to be the title to get when October shuffles in. This latest cinematic spot has the production values, music and action of a big budget Hollywood action-suspense blockbuster- and no Milla Jovovich in sight. If this doesn’t get your heart pumping for some undead-killing, mutant-fighting action, then you’re probably already a zombie…

I’ll get myself properly psyched for this by playing the demo (which I just DL’ed a couple of days ago from PSN). The game is out next week! Get ready.

Dead or Alive 5 Story Mode Info

Posted in Dead or Alive 5, DLC, Fan Service, Fighting Games, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, PS3, Xbox360 on September 21st, 2012 by thelonegamer

Kasumi: Still being chased, still trying to handle everything alone. Sigh…

Hey ladies and gents! In case you’re a fighting gamer who isn’t into Tekken, well, the next big fighting release is just around the corner. Dead or Alive 5 finally marks the return of Tecmo-KOEI’s classic beat ‘em up, and it’s back in a pretty big way. The release has a nice, tight roster which includes most fighters from previous installments returning alongside three guest fighters from Virtua Fighter- Akira, Sarah Bryant and Pai Chan. Also making their debut in DOA5 are all-new fighters Rig (Taekwondo) and Mila (MMA).

Aside from the full complement of expected modes of play, Dead or Alive 5 has a pretty chunky Story Mode that is patterned after the mode in DOA Dimensions (3DS) and from the Mortal Kombat reboot. Instead of the usual ‘go through a line of opponents to see your individual CG Ending’ type of thing, DOA5′s Story Mode tells one big story, focusing mainly on a few but giving most fighters their small part along the way. So not everyone has an ending- there’s one big ending for everyone.
As the story goes, DOA5 is set some time after the events in the previous game. Helena Douglas has taken over the reformed DOATEC and has suspended its nefarious activities (ninja-napping, cloning, etc). To prove her company’s newfound legitimacy, she holds the Fifth DOA Tournament (really… how does that prove anything..? But I disgress). Meanwhile, Kasumi is still searching for her clone, Alpha-152, who disappeared after their last battle. But as all will soon find out, not all is as it seems and there’s more trouble afoot in DOA…

The Bunny Bikinis play a pivotal role in the DOA5 Story. Maybe.

Some may find this objectionable, but I myself like it- a Story Mode that actually tells a STORY? Cool. It seems that once again the focus is on Kasumi and the Attack of the Ninja Girl Clones again, but this time it may finally be conclusive. Supposedly the ending is open for a sequel, but I guess we’ll see for ourselves once the game is out, eh? There are already spoilers uploaded online but I say enjoy the ending after you play through the game yourself.
Dead or Alive 5 is out this coming September 25, on PS3 and Xbox360, and also apparently on Digital Release on PSN.

Tekken Tag 2: Additional Fighters, Stages and More in October!

Posted in DLC, Extra Costumes, Fan Service, Fighting Games, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, PS3, Tekken, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Xbox360 on September 20th, 2012 by thelonegamer

Fast Tube by Casper

The Lady in Goo Herself becomes playable next month!

Copies of Tekken Tag Tournament 2 had barely been heated up by PS3 and Xbox360 disc drives as information on upcoming additional characters and stages were leaked out to innumerable information-hungry gamers. Yeah, we all knew that TTT2′s End Boss Unknown would be playable, along with extra characters Violet, Miharu Hirano, Doctor B., Slim Bob and Sebastian the Butler. We knew we’d be getting them as FREE DLC, but the only question was, when?

Fast Tube by Casper

Miharu will kill you and look totally cute and girly doing it. Argh!

Well, that’s now been revealed to be on October 9- not too far away! This was announced with the posting of several trailers of the extra fighters in action, in several new stages, over at TekkenChannel on Youtube. So check them out. Furthermore, in addition to the added characters and stages, Katsuhiro Harada has even more in store, as revealed in this recent tweet:

“We will update TTT2 on October 9. Adds some characters & stages, enhancement of an on-line function & customization feature are included.” Harada_Tekken

So if you thought TTT2 had finished it’s media blitz, think again! I can’t wait to see what stuff is added to ‘enhance’ the online and customizations. Till then, I’ll be continuing playing this tricky, tricky brawler and loving it. Later then!

Fast Tube by Casper

Look like Sebastian’s no longer content to just sit back and drive Lili around…

Dead or Alive 5 Launch Trailer

Posted in Dead or Alive, Dead or Alive 5, Fan Service, Fighting Games, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, PS3, Xbox360 on September 19th, 2012 by thelonegamer

Fast Tube by Casper

Fierce fighting and deadly drama punctuate DOA5′s launch spot.

Okay, Tecmo-KOEI’s marketing for their impending fighter, Dead or Alive 5, hasn’t been as active lately as the competition, but this one spot actually gets me more pumped up than all their boring ‘Fighter’s Chronicle’ vids put together. Really, I could care less about how much thinking Team Ninja put into their net code, or their philosophy on ‘fighting entertainment’ mumbo-jumbo or the habits of tournament DOA players… all I want to know is if Kasumi is still being pursued by her clan? Is Donovan really alive? What’s going to go down in this new DOA Tournament? The few bits of CG cinematics in the trailer seem to hint at quite a bit of drama, which haven’t been at all focused on during all this time. Anyway, it’s about a week away till release, and I’m now thinking of getting DOA5 via Digital Release on PSN instead of getting an actual disc copy. We’ll see… for now though, check out the trailer- oh, and it’s all about Mila! WOWEEE!

Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Prestige Edition is IN the House!

Posted in Fan Service, Fighting Games, Gadgets, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, My Stuff, PS3, Tekken, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Xbox360 on September 16th, 2012 by thelonegamer

The Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Asian Prestige Limited Edition Box.

Got my TTT2 Prestige Limited Edition today, and it’s quite a lovely thing. Scratch that- a BIG lovely thing. I was quite surprised when the store attendant brought out this man-sized package. It’s pretty heavy, coming in a pretty sturdy black heavy card box encased in a plastic case (a huge version of the plastic wrap on the metal case version). You know it’s quality stuff simply from the nice shiny metal clip on the front.

The goodies are nicely propped up once you open up the case.

Once opening up the box, you’ll immediately be greeted by your copy of Tekken Tag 2 (in a metal case), the special card signifying the package as a numbered, limited edition specimen, and on the underside of the cover, 3 extra DVDs- the 2 discs are for the TTT2 Soundtrack and Mixes compilation, while the third contains the ‘Tekken Takes Tokyo’ documentary with Harada.
The video spans about 40 or so minutes and stars the mustachioed, shades-wearing Tekken Director as he gives viewers a tour of the Tekken offices and his favorite haunts in Tokyo, including places like the game-themed Capcom Bar and the electronics paradise of Akihabara. The vid also features some pretty funny run-ins by Streetfighter Director Yoshinori Ono. The feature is more travelogue and look into Harada’s digs than anything else, though we get to see some faces behind your favorite Iron Fisted Fighter. I found it entertaining, but was kinda disappointed it didn’t have any previews or teases about Tekken X Streetfighter or any future Tekken.

At the bottom of the package is an artwork/sticker by Harada, and the Artbook.

Once you lift up the upper tray with the game and collector’s card, you’ll find underneath a large sticker/artwork of Lili and Asuka by Harada, and the Art of Tekken hardbound book. The artbook is really nice-looking and laid out nicely, but most of the images inside are stuff any Tekken fan would have seen anywhere online; the ‘info’ on the characters is just the same blurb you find on manuals or such. The best stuff are the artworks by collaborating artists and there’s a section of that per artist- that was slick at least. A nice collector’s item in any case.

The Prestige Edition is a really flashy piece of kit, very slick. It’s not that pricey as well, so if you’re a Tekken fan you may want to get it just because. Hey, what the heck… I won’t be spending again on a Tekken game for another couple of years, so why not splurge. Heheh. Okay, that’s enough… back to playing Tekken Tag 2 then!

Tekken Tag 2 Hidden Characters Hacked!

Posted in DLC, Extra Costumes, Fan Service, Fighting Games, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, PS3, Tekken, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Xbox360 on September 14th, 2012 by thelonegamer

Fast Tube by Casper

Unknown takes on an Unknown Opponent.

Well that didn’t take long. Someone with an Xbox360 has managed to unlock the not-so-hidden extra fighters, and Youtube Channel SFxTruth has uploaded several vids showing off the future DLC fighters in action.
Been seeing comments in forums and really- have you even played with a fifth of the already-available fighters? Play with them first before killing yourself worrying about when Namco-Bandai will release the next batch of unlockables combatants. They’re free, so just sit tight. For now, check out the vids and see which one takes your fancy. You can find them all over here.

Fast Tube by Casper

Miharu (and her bikini) will probably be very popular with gamers…

Tekken Tag Tournament 2: WiiU Edition Trailer!

Posted in Extra Costumes, Fan Service, Fighting Games, Gadgets, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, Tekken, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, WiiU on September 13th, 2012 by thelonegamer

Fast Tube by Casper

Nintendo FINALLY gets an awesome fighter on its console!

Okay, things are moving fast. Not a week has passed since the release of Tekken Tag Tournament 2 for PS3 and Xbox360 and we now see the debut of the WiiU Edition of Namco’s latest brawler. I guess it really is expected given that the WiiU console launch has been set for an early December lift-off. Notable in the trailer are the inclusion of various customizations/costumes that allow the Tekken fighters to cosplay as popular Nintendo characters like Mario and Luigi, Princess Peach, Bowser, Link, Zelda and Samus Aran. Pretty slick, Big N… not even Sony got the Tekken Team to dress up Heihachi as Crash Bandicoot (although I guess you could dress up someone as Nathan Drake pretty easily).

Also noticeable are some ‘fun’ modes, like a stage where mushroom power-ups will cause a fighter to grow or shrink- odd but should be quite entertaining. Add to that past features shown like customizable stages and the ability to draw graffiti on losing characters’ faces will probably make it into the final version. Oh, and the graphics look quite identical to the just-released PS3 and Xbox360 games too. Hmmm.

Well, I don’t think this will get me to buy a WiiU, but I guess this will have me monitoring the action over at the other side of the fence from here on. For now, check out the fun antics in the trailer!