At E3 2012, Tecmo-Koei and Team Ninja showed off Dead or Alive 5 to the public for the first time. Fast-forward a year, and the developer/publisher duo has an update to the title called Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate. This isn't the first time Tecmo has released an update of this nature, but there are some unique aspects to the upcoming release.
New to DOA5 Ultimate are a slew of additional stages and characters. Five characters in total have joined the cast since DOA5. Fans of the DOA series will be thrilled to hear that Ein and Leon are making triumphant returns, while Momiji and Rachel from the Ninja Gaiden series are making the jump to DOA as well. In addition, Jacky Bryant from the Virtua Fighter franchise will join the other VF characters from DOA5 (Sarah, Pai and Akira).
In addition to the new characters and stages, DOA5 Ultimate sports a new play mechanic, Power Launchers. The original version of DOA5 added Power Blows to the fighting engine, which gave players something similar to Super Attacks in other fighting games. It was only possible to use a Power Blow if your health bar was below 50 percent, and even then it was difficult to land unless you pulled off a Critical Burst technique during a combo. Power Launchers are very similar in that they can only be used when your health is below 50 percent, but instead of knocking an opponent away like a Power Blow, they launch an opponent into the air, allowing you to follow with a juggle. However, you can only use one Power move per round. If you use a Power Blow, you won't be able to use a Power Launch, and vice-versa.
Unlike Dead or Alive Ultimate for the original Xbox, which featured DOA1 and DOA2 with updated graphics and online play, DOA5 Ultimate is more akin to Capcom's fighting game updates. The title will release for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 as a $40 game in both retail and digital formats. If you owned the original version of DOA5 and purchased any of the DLC for the title, you'll be able to transfer all of it to DOA5 Ultimate. In addition, all of the DOA5 DLC will be available for purchase on DOA5U. However, DOA5 and DOA5+ (PS Vita) owners will not be able to play online with people on DOA5 Ultimate. Aside from the DLC, they are essentially separate games.
For those who may be weary of another DOA so soon after the release of DOA5, Tecmo will offer a free-to-play model that fighting games have recently begun to adopt. If you download the demo of DOA5 Ultimate, you will have access to Hayate, Hayabusa, Ayane and Kasumi, as well as online multiplayer, Training mode and every other mode of play aside from Story mode. You can then purchase more characters and the Story mode at any point in time. This allows fans of specific characters to save a considerable amount of money, purchasing only a select few characters instead of the entire roster. Of course, if you already know you want the entire game, you can simply spend $40 on the full title. For the time being, the free-to-play model is only available on the PlayStation 3.
Fans of the original DOA5 should remember that Tecmo released a huge patch for the title that changed quite a few attacks for each character, among other things. We've been told that DOA5 Ultimate will offer a similar update to each character. In fact, some characters are said to play very differently, such as Mila, one of the new faces from DOA5. You'll be able to get your hands on DOA5 Ultimate and all of the new characters and stages when it releases on September 3.