Dead or Alive 6 Review
Koei Tecmo’s world of flying fisticuffs and flashy fanservice returns with the release of Dead or Alive 6. The fighting engine powering this title has sparked decades of battles, but does it do enough to stand out in 2019?
Dead or Alive 6 Review
Unlike other 3D fighters like Tekken or SoulCalibur, Dead or Alive 6’s twist comes in the form of its triangle system. Players will still be whittling down their opponent’s health with a flurry of high, medium, and low attacks, but holds and throws also play a large part in combat. In a nutshell, strikes beat throws, throws beat holds, and holds beat strikes. Anticipating your opponents’ next move is an absolute must, and the fast, combo based gameplay means that this must be done quickly, lest you become stunned or juggled. Though this element to the gameplay remains largely unchanged from previous entries, it works just as well with no added gimmicks or drawbacks.
The few new wrinkles thrown into Dead or Alive 6 prove to be interesting additions, but far from game changing. Much like other fighters on the market, a super meter is now in effect that powers both Break Blows and Break Holds. Both of these inputs are easy to pull off, with a direction and a button being the only thing necessary to pull it off. Break Blows offer additional damage via a flashy attack, while Break Holds serve as a recovery mechanic that works in a pinch. They’re not as critical as Street Fighter’s Super Arts or The King of Fighters’ Super Special Moves, but they manage to be inoffensive without breaking the flow of the game.
It’s just a shame that the roster present in this title is a bit lacking compared to previous entries. Only two new fighters enter the ring at launch, though both manage to bring a unique style of play. NiCO utilizes a number of lightning based attacks and utilizes the Pencak Silat style of combat, while Diego’s fighting style is more based on street fighting. Unlike previous entries, there are no guest characters at launch, and the roster is smaller than that of the one in Dead or Alive 5: Last Round.
Thankfully, the stages present in this go around manage to evoke the same over-the-top spark that put the series on the map. Your garden variety colosseums and wrestling rings still make their appearance, but they are joined by water parks in dinosaur encampments, mossy ships with krakens, and museums featuring elements from previous titles. It makes choosing each level an experience, and juggling your enemy against an electrified barrier or knocking them down a flight of stairs never gets old.
The suite of modes that makes up Dead or Alive 6 is par for the course, though there are some odd omissions this go around. Those new to the series can dive into its robust Tutorial mode, and can also brush up on their technique with its Command Training, Combo Challenge, and Free Training Modes. From there, players can jump into the standard Arcade, Versus, Time Attack, and Survival modes that serve their functions as you would expect them to. An online mode is also present with a Ranked Mode, though there is nobody online as of this writing.
Those who would like a bit more background into Dead or Alive 6’s roster can jump into its Story Mode. Broken up into a number of different chapters, players can learn more of the resurrection of Raidou through a number of brief cutscenes and fights. The entirety of this mode is pure, unadulterated shlock – teleporting ninjas, missiles with robots, girls that can copy moves, and butterflies that carry telepathic messages are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to its absurdity. It throws a lot of jargon at you too – M.I.S.T., DOATEC, the Mugen Tenshin clan, and a number of other terms are mentioned with no explanation. It feels fairly disjointed, and the delivery features nearly every anime cliche in the book. There’s something to be said about the earnest delivery of it all – those who have a taste for B-movies might get a kick at how odd everything is.
Rounding out the suite of modes is the DOA Quest mode, which tasks players with completing set missions with certain characters and scenarios in exchange for stars. Additional stars are given out for completing objectives in each bout, such as performing a certain move or completing the battle under a certain amount of time. Though there are a number of different missions to choose from and stars to collect, it quickly becomes a grind. A number of missions are also locked behind gates that require a set amount of stars to open, but these cases are so strict that it requires near mastery of each mission to progress. Those that don’t mind going for 100% completion may appreciate this requirement, but it oftentimes feels like an added burden.
Those looking for more replayability can always collect its currency, which can be used to unlock such things as titles, hairstyles, glasses, and entries in the DOA Encyclopedia. Note that other modes, like the series standard Tag Battle Mode, are missing in action, and are sorely missed.
Dead or Alive 6 retains the stellar action the series is known for, but it doesn’t do enough to warrant an immediate upgrade from previous entries. With only a handful of new fighters at launch, more casual fans might want to wait a bit.
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