Dead or Alive 6 is Koei Tecmo and Team Ninja’s latest installment in the Dead or Alive franchise and with it comes some perplexing design decisions. The game is still as true to the franchise as ever but with the lewdness toned down to a somewhat acceptable level. Does the game deliver the fighting goodness we’ve come to expect from the series though? The answer is a resounding yes and we’re here to explain why.
In Dead or Alive 6 players will have the ability to play through an extremely convoluted story. It will make absolutely no sense whatsoever as you play through it the first time and only upon unlocking certain chapters will things slowly piece together. For a fighting game to not have a coherent story is a forgivable offence provided that the gameplay is excellent and thankfully Dead or Alive 6’s gameplay is.
Gameplay in Dead or Alive 6 involves the use of punches, kicks and throws in a ballad of “rock, paper, scissors” as it’s often described. Timing and countering are key to victory and Dead or Alive 6 makes that extremely clear to you from the get-go. Stringing combos together is easy enough though so button bashers can rejoice. The game’s excellent tutorial system will ensure that you’re able to get to grips with its more nuanced mechanics in no time flat. Surprisingly, when playing the game on PC, the standard keyboard controls were great and highly reminiscent of playing arcade games minus the analog stick for movement. We don’t recommend this however since a controller will probably give you far more control over your character than “WASD” on a keyboard will.
In Dead or Alive 6, a new feature known as the “Break Gauge” has been introduced along with the removal of the tag team system as seen in previous titles. The latter is sorely missed but the break gauge does have its advantages since it introduces a series of new mechanics. Players will be able to perform Break Holds, Break Blows, Break Guards and a Fatal Rush. These easy to pull off moves depend on the Break Gauge and how full it is so players will need to keep an eye on it throughout a match if they want to make use of the aforementioned moves.
While the story mode might be a complex web of gorgeous cutscenes and over the top sequences, Dead or Alive 6’s real gem lies in DOA Quest. This mode gives players a series of objectives which need to be completed in order to earn points and costume pattern parts. As it stands right now, after a series of patches and changes to earning points, DOA Quest is still the most effective way to earn points apart from playing through the Arcade mode while a bonus modifier is active.
Koei Tecmo and Team Ninja have marred the game with costume points since costumes quite literally takes thousands of points to unlock. This grind to gain points to unlock specific costumes is quite literally insane and players will be playing for ages in order to unlock all the specific costumes they want. Additionally, the game’s predatory DLC practices are still as prevalent as ever. Just like with Dead or Alive 5, DLC costumes are aplenty and the season pass on offer comes in at an extremely hefty price depending on what Steam region you’re in.
At the time of posting this review, Dead or Alive 6 would have its “Free to play” or rather “Freemium” version launched on Steam named “Core Fighters”. This includes newcomer Diego, Hitomi, Kasumi and Bass as playable characters and all modes will be available with the story mode being limited to the first few chapters, Core Fighters will serve as a “demo” of sorts and will hopefully get players to purchase more characters or the full game (which is a far better option).
Dead or Alive 6 doesn’t revolutionize the franchise but it does tone down the lewdness and make it more accessible to players gameplay wise. The mechanics are solid and while the storytelling is abysmal, the graphics are even more gorgeous than ever before. Both the male and female characters and their outfits look stunning and the added physical damage that can be displayed after performing damaging attacks is ridiculously over the top in some cases but definitely welcome. It’s just a shame that there’s no full-blown photo mode with filters and free camera controls as seen with other Triple-A titles out there at the moment.
Overall, Dead or Alive 6 is a great fighting game that’s highly accessible to everyone thanks to the great DOA Quest mode and the exceptionally good tutorials in-game. The game suffers from the blight of predatory DLC practices and a costume points system that ensures that players will be grinding for days on end trying to unlock everything but other than that, it’s definitely worth purchasing since it’s incredibly fun to play. The new character Nico is incredibly cute too so that’s a plus!