By Steve Baltimore / March 1st, 2019
*Reviewer’s Note: The online features were not tested as part of this review since they were still in the beta stage. Koei Temco has announced free updates coming for online lobbies.*
|Title||Dead or Alive 6|
|Developer||KOEI TECMO GAMES CO., LTD.|
|Publisher||KOEI TECMO GAMES CO., LTD.|
|Release Date||March 1st, 2019|
|Platform||PlayStation 4, Steam, Xbox One|
It’s time once again to enter the crazy world of Dead or Alive. Many moons ago, at E3 2018, Koei Tecmo announced that Dead or Alive 6 would be coming in early 2019. This was met with some ire from fans when it was announced the game would be toning down the series standard sexiness in favor of a more serious fighter. This stance flip-flopped a lot from the development team over the months and even I wasn’t sure what kind of game this would turn out to be. Well I’ve spent about 25 hours with it and can now discuss my findings. Is Dead or Alive 6 sexy? Are the mechanics new and improved? And is Marie Rose even cuter than in DOA 5? OK, I’ll answer that one now, yes she very much is! Now let’s see how the rest of this turned out.
The Story mode picks up a short time after the events of Dead or Alive 5. The next tournament is starting and you get a glimpse of how your favorite characters are gearing up for the new tournament. Marie Rose and Honaka are included in the story this time, as Helena sends Marie on a mission to observe Honaka’s strange powers. Overall this story is batshit crazy in true Dead or Alive fashion, and I loved every minute of it. The team did a great job here, and having one round fights and all the cutscenes being fully voiced in English and Japanese was a nice touch.
Dead or Alive 6 kills it in the graphics department. Everything looks better than it did in Dead or Alive 5. The stages and character models have a lot more detail, and while there may not be as much jiggle as there was with the Soft Engine, there is still plenty of that to be found here as well. This will greatly depend on the outfit your fighter has equipped. Characters will display come cuts and bruises and some blood effects have been added to show off the impact of blows as well. These can be turned off in the options if this isn’t your cup of tea. The animation in general is super smooth. This makes everything feel faster and fluid. On the PlayStation 4 you have to the option to turn the graphics up a bit, but it will cost you some framerate. The Steam version will give you a few more graphical options such as shadow details and resolutions up to 4K. This port runs pretty good overall, but a few stages with tons of things moving around in the background could’ve been optimized a bit better. But with my 1050Ti 4GB I was able to get it running butter smooth and looking pretty sweet at 1080p.
Dead or Alive’s triangle combat system makes a return here in all its glory. This is a system of strikes, holds and throws. It functions a lot like rock, paper and scissors for those unfamiliar with the series. That’s not to say nothing has been changed though. Every character has had their move list updated with new moves and combos. I feel some characters like Marie and Honaka, that were added to the last game later in its life cycle, really benefited from this. The addition of the new Break System that allows for easier counters when one bar of the special meter is full and the new Fatal Rush combos make the game more approachable to those not as adept at fighters without giving anyone an unfair advantage as well.
Playing Dead or Alive 6 is one of the very few times I’ve reviewed a fighting game where I felt the balance was almost perfect. There are a couple characters I think might be a tad overpowered, but no matter who you pick as your main you have a fighting chance against anyone. I played over 25 hours for this review on every difficulty the game had to offer and I never felt like I was outmatched because of the game’s balance, and usually if I changed up my tactics a bit I could come out on top.
Most of the play modes found here are exactly what you would expect from Dead or Alive. The aforementioned Story Mode, Arcade Mode, Time Attack, Survival, Training Mode for basic inputs as well as character specific training and the all new DOA Quest Mode. The DOA Quest mode may not be innovative for a fighter but it is certainly fun. You basically have to win a series of around 100 matches completing various objectives. These can be things like do X number of holds, attack with a certain input X number of times and so on. I really loved this mode since it teaches not only basics but some of more advanced strategies of the game while allowing you to earn coins and player points. You will use those to unlock the various costumes and other goodies the game has locked away.
DOA Central is where you spend those coins and points you obtained in Quest Mode to unlock the costumes and other goodies. This time around not only do the fighters have costumes in various colors but you can add accessories, change their hair styles and more. Here you can also set up a custom soundtrack from the songs you’ve unlocked during gameplay. You unlock these tracks by simply raising your player level by completing matches. Library will give insights in to the story of Dead or Alive, and there are really awesome trivia tidbits for fans to discover here as well. Last but not least is the Theater section. Here you can watch replays or set up CPU vs. CPU matches and take some photos to show off your “Core Values” as well.
All in all, I think Dead or Alive 6 is pretty great package. There’s a ton of great fighters to choose from, the action is fast and fun, and the game is very welcoming to newcomers while still giving veteran players a lot of new moves to master and there are a decent number of costumes to unlock out of the box. The only major problem I have with that is while DOA Quest mode is fun it takes forever to actually unlock a lot of the outfits. You will be 40 or 50 missions deep before you unlock a single outfit for some characters, so it makes it feel less rewarding than it should at times. I think the lack of Tag Battles is a bit of a letdown as well, but I’m hopeful that the team will add these in an update somewhere down the line.
Despite my few beefs with the game, if you are a fan of the series Dead or Alive 6 is a must own title for you at the $59.99 price tag. The game is still very sexy with tons of jiggle and service fans have come to know and love. The fighting is still deep and fun like always, and honestly I feel like the game just simply plays so much better than the previous one did. I can pull off moves and combos here easily that I had a much harder time pulling off last time around. If you’ve always been interested in fighting games but thought they were too complex for you to enjoy I think you should give this one a shot. The game is so well made and easy to pick up that I think anyone could hop right in here and have some fun.
Review Copies provided by the publisher for review purposes.
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