Dead or Alive 6 is finally here featuring two new fighters, online ranked play, and a few new mechanics just at the surface along with visual and gameplay upgrades. So what are we waiting for? Let’s lace those boots up, pull up our sleeves and prepare for a fight!
+Graphical improvements including dust, sweat, and particle effects
+Amazing sound designs across the board
+Online play sees minimal lag over the course of a match
+DoA Quest is an extremely helpful tool for both newcomers and veterans
-Lacks online matchmaking lobbies and private matches
-Difficulty scaling can throw newcomers off
-The story is more or less the same as it was in previous titles
When it comes to fighting games, I’m one of the pickiest gamers you’ll ever meet. I’ll admit that I absolutely love the classics ranging from Virtua Fighter to Soul Calibur and Mortal Kombat. Among them rests Dead or Alive, a series I was first introduced to back in 1999 by my pal Damien during one of our sleep over nights. We’d gone down to our local movie store, renting out a copy, grabbing a pizza and making our way back to his house.
We’d spend countless hours, pummeling each other across each and every one of those arenas, while jamming out to Eiffel 65. It was a normal weekend tradition for many months to follow. Us, our pal Eric, and even myself playing it as much as we could, when we could all get in a room together. Over the years, I’d become captivated with my time spent using the ninja’s Ryu Hayabusa and Ayane. Both of them lining up with my style of play.
To put it short, Dead or Alive 6 continues a tradition from the earlier years of my life, the years just before my High School graduation. Since then, Dead or Alive remains a franchise that I absolutely adore, but one I’ve become critical of in recent years. Now, here we are again, with another game for me to love, but also feel discouraged by all at once.
But for good reason might I add, something we need to talk about as we go. We need to talk about post-release content.
Dead or Alive 6 is one of the best of them all
To put it bluntly, Dead or Alive 6 is one of the best the franchise has to offer. It’s leagues ahead of Dead or Alive 5: Last Round and it leaves a solid impression when you get the chance to give it a go. It’s the epitome of everything the series stood for and has continually strived to achieve.
It’s a game that continues the age-old tradition of accessibility, making what is normally an extremely complex genre easy to get into before truly making it hard to master. It’s an experience unlike any other and it’s one that allows newcomers to easily stand, in some way or another, on level ground with their opponent. It’s quite unique, as it allowed my colleague Greg (a writer here at B.A.T.G.R.), a chance to easily throw me around the arena the best he could.
One of the key modes you’ll find in the menus will help further the skills of newcomers like Greg, allowing them to treat it as a tutorial, making it so they can stand their ground against more advanced players like my pal Josh who could easily hold his own against our entire group. This mode is called “DoA Quest”, which was created with players like Greg in mind. It’s a 100 mission tutorial, each requiring a player to complete a list of specified tasks before carrying on.
Each task completed earns a star, once all tasks are completed, a reward is given such as new costume unlocks or customizable options such as hair or glasses. These tasks you are given a range from performing a chain of high attacks, dealing x-amount of damage in a single combo, or throwing your opponent around with a chain throw or hold. It’s a good practice even for series veterans and newcomers alike.
Thanks to this ease-of-access, newcomers won’t be overwhelmed by what they are taking in. If they fail one of these missions, the game will highlight what they failed at, giving them a chance to go into a beginner tutorial with the presented itself as an encounter solely-focused on that objective. A novel idea, even for veteran players, which will help them find their footing once again.
But this isn’t the only reason why this is one of the best additions to the series. It’ll help you get through the story with little no problems as you go. After all, it does get hard and the story is going to force you to play quite a few franchise regulars and a couple of newcomers alike.
Dead or Alive 6’s story is actually pretty damn good
One of the most impressive things about Dead or Alive as a whole, is its story. Something we won’t spoil because that’s not something we do here, but we’ll have a few talking points on this matter. Much like previous titles, Dead or Alive 6 doesn’t hold back with how fast things get going.
Just like before, there’s always an ominous threat from a secretive and evil organization as well as those who are out to stop them however they can. To help introduce our newest fighters, the story doesn’t take long to introduce both Diego and the new female brawler – Nico. Much like any other fighter, they both come with their own unique story, both offering a delightful experience while also giving off some hard-hitting vibes that you see come to life when fists and feet get to flying.
Unfortunately, this is also where a few complaints I have arisen. The story, while fun, silly, and downright serious from time to time; not much has changed. It’s all about who’s the biggest, the baddest, and the strongest of the lot. They all want a piece of the Dead or Alive pie while characters such as Helena wage their secret wars against evil and maniacal organizations with the help of the ninja’s she can enlist or that join the fight.
One of my biggest gripes? The difficulty spike, at times, can be overbearing, making it so less experienced fighters might struggle with some of the fights it has to offer. There were moments when fights against characters like Hayabusa and Diego proved to be almost too hard, even for a seasoned veteran such as myself. Then there were moments when it would get way too easy just a few fights later. Something that’s quite confusing if I might say so myself.
Perhaps that’s where the DoA Quest mode comes into play. Maybe I should’ve given that a try before really getting started.
Online play is there… Well… Sort of.
One of the best parts about Dead or Alive in recent times is its online play. Fans around the world love to show off just how good they actually are. For my pals and I, it’s a great pass time that we enjoy. We love to absolutely drag our knuckles in the dirt, pummeling away at one another with the slap of a stick or the push of a button, but lately, we’ve not been able to do that as we had originally planned. At least with this latest title.
One of the problems with Dead or Alive 6 really shouldn’t be a problem. The game shipped with online play being reserved for those looking to play Ranked mode matches only. Even now, we’re unsure when lobbies will actually be a thing and when we can create private matches with our pals. While it’s a testament to how hard the team has worked, it’s still dumbfounding how private and open lobbies got the short end of the stick.
Putting that disgruntlement to the side, we know they are coming, but we don’t really know when in the month they will arrive. For those who find the unranked play to be an optional mode, you’ll find that Ranked works just as you would hope. You’ll jump from match to match, almost seamlessly as before. Matches, just as before, also reveal themselves as three sets of three, giving both players a chance to show off their skills over the course of three to six round matches running ninety-nine seconds each.
While intermittent lag did occur, Dead or Alive 6 has offered some of the best online play I’d yet experienced in the series. While I eagerly await the chance to have the same experiences in private lobbies or custom matches, the Ranked play has worked rather well and has offered a delightful experience while encountering players from every tier of skill.
Queue times averaged within the ten-second mark, bouncing to an from matches faster than I had expected. But now you are probably wondering. If it plays well, how does it actually look alongside the gameplay itself?
There’s a 100% chance of eye-candy in the forecast
Now, you are probably expecting what I’m about to say. Dead or Alive 6 is one of the best looking fighters on the market. Even back on the PlayStation 2 and Dreamcast, Dead or Alive 2 was one of the best looking fighters the genre had to offer. From its crisp and clean animations to its buttery smooth performance, Dead or Alive 2 set a standard for the series.
It set the standard at how to deliver absolutely stunning visuals moving forward. Taking everything from then to now, things really haven’t changed all that much. Dead or Alive 6 has only ramped things up with the addition to particle effects, sweat, dirt, blood, and even clothing damage in ways we’d never-before-seen. Sprinkle in level destruction and Koei Tecmo and Team Ninja really haven’t held anything back.
Now, you’re probably expecting me to discuss the sexual themes within the game: Namely the jiggle physics in regards to the anatomy of the female fighters you can use. Truth is, I’m not. We’re not even going to talk about it as some people enjoy it and others don’t. Personally? I’m not paying attention to how someone’s boobs jiggle when fists are flying. What’s the point of it when all you want to do is win?
Aside from physics, Dead or Alive 6 has heavily improved its visuals across the board, bringing itself into the current generation with a bit of ease. Whether you are hit into a car or rolled on the ground, you’ll notice your character does get dirty, that their bodies react to the fight that ensues. Even as the match wraps up, you may notice your character has bruises, cuts on their face or even a few tattered pieces of clothing. All of them apart of the new and improved graphics engine.
Even the levels react to what happens. Sometimes carts will break, cars will explode or pieces of the arena will take damage based on the place of impact. A truly enjoyable moment when it happens.
The DLC… Can we talk about how expensive it actually is and why it’s a little overboard?
When it comes to DLC, I always cringe when it comes to fighting games of some sort or another. They tend to get carried away with alternate outfits and how much they actually are. While this talking point won’t hurt our overall score for the game, it is one I need to mention as it plays into the visual representation of the game when said and done.
The reason I bring this up is that there are adamant fans who love to know what they can and cannot buy when the game releases, which this one has been out for several days, which means Team Ninja’s latest title (this one) has some DLC already available for it in the shape of ‘Season Pass 1’ which is insanely expensive at $93 USD. While it will net you with over 60 costumes that are spread out across the entire roster, it does come in at a hefty price.
A really, really hefty price considering the game already costs $59.99 USD. Additionally, if you also want to get your hands on Nyotengu, she’s an optional purchase as well, almost forcing players to buy her if they want her rather than offer her as an obtainable character right out of the gates.
While there’s no doubt this is a portion of the review that could have been an article on its own, we felt inclined to include this in our review as some may find the DLC scheme a drawback from the overall release, but again, this won’t affect our overall score of the review.
And so the fight continues with some brand new features
Along with the addition of Diego and NiCO on the roster, Dead or Alive 6 does feature some brand new mechanics longtime fans will need to learn. These new mechanics include slow motion sections to the fights which will truly show off what is going on over the course of a fight.
Along with the new slow motion sections tied to the Break Gauge system, which allows you to dump your entire gauge on an opponent, you’ll find that Danger Zones have also been added into each of the arenas, making it so that players can take environmental damage that may or may not do quite a bit of damage to their fighters health.
The Break Gauge, however, works in two different ways. You have a Break Hold, which can be triggered at a half gauge or the Break Blow, which can be triggered when the Break Gauge is full. All you have to do to trigger a Break Blow is simply double tap a heavy kick or heavy punch, depending on the character you choose to use.
While these two mechanics do alter the way a fight can go, they do take a bit of practice to fully learn and both of them are situational once you get the hang of how to use them.
When it comes to fighting games, there’s no doubt that Dead or Alive 6 is in a league of its own and it has a lot to offer from start to finish. Whether you are an offline player and want to dive into the campaign or DoA Quest modes, there’s a lot there to enjoy, and that doesn’t change for those who want to take the fight online and show the world who the best of the best actually is.
Dead or Alive 6
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One
Platform Reviewed: PlayStation 4
Developer: Team Ninja
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Release Date: Available Now
While the lobby system remains to be implemented, Dead or Alive 6 is a competent fighter, offering fans of all skill levels a way to enjoy the game whether they are newcomers or veteran players alike. Through improved gameplay mechanics, enhanced graphical features, and a healthy roster, Dead or Alive 6 is just what you’d hope for in a single Dead or Alive package, DLC aside.
Our review is based upon a retail version that was provided to us by the publisher of the game. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
Final Score: 7.5 out of 10
About the Writer(s):
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the borders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook.