Fighting fans on consoles and PC gear up with the release of Team Ninja’s latest fighter. Take a look at our Dead Or Alive 6 review in either video or text below.
Koei Tecmo released their eagerly anticipated fighting game Dead Or Alive 6 (DOA 6) after quite a rocky start with the fans. After announcing the game would reduce the series sexiness in an attempt to shed sexualization of the characters, and offering a serious contender at fighting events, there was a little posturing from fans. However, with the game release it’s clear some backtracking happened or “words were lost in translation”. Dead Or Alive 6 still wears its sexiness overtly on its sleeves.
DOA6 enters the fray with fresh but familiar legs. It’s the same fighting game as past iterations with its assortment of male and female characters, 4 way counter system and fast-paced ease of play. Stage damage returns as do multi-tiered levels for some of the fighting areas. A new “break” system offers the chance for players to make comeback attacks or counters at the touch of a single button. This feature seems to be the norm for modern fighting games. In a nutshell, if you’re familiar with Dead or Alive 5, then DOA 6 provides an easy transition into its revised gameplay. The mixed roster comes in with some 26 characters by default with room for more additions at a later date via DLC . Of those 26, two are new characters with NiCO the blue haired scientist and street brawler Diego.
The story mode returns but this time presents a somewhat confusing set of routes to follow. With multiple story-lines and characters crossing paths it appears a little jumbled. Still, it provides a cinematic look at the fighters and offers a little context to proceedings, especially with scientist character NiCO at the helm.
Other modes make a welcome return such as the Arcade, Time Attack and our favourite the Survival. Much like Dead Or Alive 5, players choose a route which determines the number of rounds and or difficulty of opposition. Interestingly, loading is pretty fast which is most welcome. Sadly, no tag-team mode this time which is a massive shame and a bit of a step backwards to be honest. The game doesn’t really offer anything to replace it either.
Local versus and of course the bastion that is online battles make a return, plus if you’re looking to just goof around then versus CPU is available. A wealth of tutorials and practice options present themselves too making for a well-rounded package, although no team battles either unfortunately.
A new mode and a way to aid unlocking the game’s many costumes is the DOA Quest. This requires players to fight rounds and complete various tasks within them. It’s basically a challenge mode with incremental difficulty as you progress. It’s actually pretty cool and nice way to break up repeating the arcade mode over and over as you would have to do in the past.
Now let’s talk about the game’s unlockable outfits and DLC. Obviously this is a massive part of the Dead or Alive series and in the past as mentioned, players merely had to beat the arcade mode several times to unlock a new set of threads each time. DOA6 does things rather different and pretty strangely too. For starters, costumes have point requirements (up to 1000) and then need purchasing once the points accumulate through completion of the various modes. The points though are seemingly randomly distributed which means at the end of an arcade run players might unlock 300 points for any character rather than the one they were playing. Whilst making things less predictable, it’s an odd way of unlocking content. It does mean though that all characters get a look in rather than those the player has a preference for. You can view this as either a positive of negative, take your pick.
Unfortunately, the entire process is a bit of a grind and some outfits offer a mere colour swap. Therefore, it’s quite a long process then potentially to unlock the outfit for a specific character. This then becomes quite the annoyance especially if you’re a fan of a particular character and want to focus on him or her first.
Another annoyance comes in the form of the DLC or Deluxe edition outfits. These are perhaps the most revealing, yet are locked behind DLC for those who didn’t buy the deluxe version. A £70+ season pass also revealed itself on day one suggesting another 60+ outfits unlock over the coming weeks. There is no doubt that again, these will be more interesting than the default offering. A way to get players to purchase extra content. Dead Or Alive 5 Last Round accumulated a massive number of additional costumes resulting in hundreds of pounds, or dollars worth of DLC. Yikes!
In fairness though, some of the default outfits offer highly detailed visuals, look varied and are quality during static moments and fast paced scenes (some showing visible dirt, rips and tears). This is one aspect that highlights the improvements in visuals over the last game. In fact, some of the less revealing outfits highlight the increased visual fidelity much more such as Kasumi’s new default outfit.
Generally speaking, the visuals improve on the previous outing with less “doll like” looking characters and as mentioned a higher amount of costume detail. The fight stages offer varied arenas to fight in, and of course in 4K at 60 fps on PC the overall looks are pretty fantastic with buttery smooth gaming. Sadly, the cutscenes during the story mode are of a very low quality compared to the in-game visuals which looks really bad especially in 4K on PC. This appears to be rather lazy not to provide those at higher quality for PC gamers. Audio also wraps up the package well with a selection of English or Japanese voice overs alongside a thumping soundtrack.
Dead Or Alive 6 offers a lot to like with its improved visual details, interesting quest mode and a divisive way of unlocking content. The new gameplay elements don’t change the formula too much which is a good thing overall. Whilst it’s a shame some modes didn’t make the cut this time, the basic offering still provides the standard selection of modes expected in a fighting game.
The Dead Or Alive series aside from offering a competent fighting game in its own right does draw fans interested in the physics and revealing costumes. You can’t steer away from this fact too much. In this regard, the new systems kind of go against this, making determined players either spend extra cash or work harder to net the rewards. This does feel like fleecing the fan base somewhat which is a shame. Still, if additional outfits and extra modes (such as the gravure scenes) aren’t of interest, then the core package will no doubt fulfill the need. Dead Or Alive 6 is a welcome addition to the series but feels somewhat of a step backwards from the feature complete Dead Or Alive 5 Last Round.