As you probably know already, Koei Tecmo and Team Ninja’s Dead or Alive 6 gave PS Plus Subscribers a surprise online beta test for the game. Something that you’d be required to have to play online at all with the exception of free-to-play. So like any grown adult which I am, I jumped into the boobs! Which in OPPAI language is the action?
With just a little shy for an 8 GB download size, it’s just about half of what Dead or Alive 5 Last Round weighs in. Immediately, my attention went straight to the pre-order bonuses. Putting your money on the digital standard edition nets you a Nyotengu character, an early purchase bonus in the form of an alternate costume for Kasumi and either a DOA6 PS4 theme or a Ryu Hayabusa Costume for Xbox One while a Digital Deluxe Edition includes Nyotengu, a Phase 4 character and a deluxe costume set of 25, a bonus costume for Kasumi and three tracks of BGM. Right away I already know there’s only one pre-order option for me and that would include Kasumi’s Digital Deluxe Edition Bonus costume!
But wait, a new game means something’s changed right? Well yes… default outfit change! And a minimal Senran Kagura dress break mechanic to boot! All jokes aside, I was actually pretty serious a few seconds ago. The characters can now have their outfit destroyed to a minimal effect like putting a hole in Kasumi’s ninja suit after getting on the receiving end of a powerful special attack. It’s fun to see and adds to the realism and thankfully something that doesn’t happen as often as the Senran Kagura way of going full commando. There’s also a feck load of locked costumes to tease my poor soul.
Combat-wise, it’s technically the same, the combo and initiation are about as similar as what you’d expect from Dead or Alive 5 but with a major change to its power balance. With the introduction of Special Attacks that also comes with a gauge meter below your health bars, the old power blows from the previous game has been replaced. This makes the game a bit more approachable to newcomers and button-mashers such as yours truly since we won’t be trying to figure out or memorize how a certain character initiates a powerful blow. Special Attacks range from a Fatal Rush which is a set of four button presses on the special button (R1) that brings an enemy into a Fatal Stun state which can be chained into a Break Blow (forward + R1) that consumes the entire gauge for a devastating attack while can also be initiated without a Fatal Rush since a Break Hold can be initiated by an enemy and use 50% of their gauge to break away from the said Fatal Rush combo. However, it all comes down to the luck and timing as a Break Blow can be blocked and instantly uses the entire meter should you connect or not. Side Attack, on the other hand, is done by sidestepping or up + R1 followed by another R1 press to do a side attack. On the grand scale of things, there’s a lot more to worry about be it the required quick decision making to use your meter or not but also makes it easier to get out of sticky situations should you not be a fan of reading the enemy to get out with a simple hold paired with the correct directional button and timing.
Because it’s an online beta test it only means ranked matches all day with random people with good and terrible connection qualities that can be filtered. But despite the vast differences of a full bar and someone on the red, it doesn’t particularly offer that much of a better experience. It still slows down to a crawl which in turn makes my button mashing adventures to a halt. For a game centered on the timing of moves and fast-paced thinking, it’s terrible to see all that go to waste after a split-second slowdown be the end of your deadly combo. Something that I hope could be improved upon in the coming weeks.
What I do feel a bit disappointed about is the number of characters available in the test. Five measly characters starting from Kasumi, Ryu Hayabusa, Hayate, and Ayane from the Ninja Gaiden series along with the newly introduced Diego, a New Yorker and “The Uncrowned Street Hero” all fighting in the main stage of the Dead or Alive 6 Tournament – The DOA COLOSSEUM that includes exploding ring ropes. The likes of Marie Rose and Honoka is part of the base game although there are a couple of characters that are missing from the roster. NiCO the other new character is not even available for use?! DOA is such as a tease sometimes…
Overall, the Dead or Alive experience is there, less bouncy and more bloody but DOA is DOA. Aside from their sweaty, dirty and exhausted looks after a fight, some broken pieces of garment adds to the realism. But as far as DOA is involved, I wouldn’t be surprised by the number of season passes containing exclusive costumes, stages, and bits of character add-ons in the coming months. I just hope Koei Tecmo decides to be a little bit humble on their pricing to not hurt my wallet in the future. Dead or Alive 6 is also delayed to a March 1 release from the previous February 15 launch date according to DOA6 producer and director Yohei Shimbori. This would hopefully give them enough time to polish the online connectivity to provide a flowing combat free of lag while also polishing up some rough edges on the character models.