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DEAD OR ALIVE 6 Review

Edited by: Tiffany Lillie

The newest entry in Koei Tecmo’s long-running DEAD OR ALIVE (DoA) series is a fast-paced 3D fighter extraordinaire. The developers really tried to improve on previous titles when it comes to appearance, with incredibly fun interactive stages and plenty of new outfits — and let’s face it, quite a lot of DoA fans are interested more in the clothes than the backdrops.

Ready? Fight!

Keeping things interesting in the nth instalment of a series is never easy — repetition is unavoidable, and innovation becomes more and more difficult with each generation. DoA 6 is no exception to this rule, and while the fighter does its best to stay original, it doesn’t always quite succeed at it.

Especially when it comes to movesets and fighting styles, the title feels almost identical to previous ones. This can make it easier for experienced players to pick up the game, but it also feels a little bit unimaginative. The new characters provide a little bit of novelty for experienced players, though. The fact that a character — Nyotengu — is locked away as Day-1 DLC isn’t great, but the game can certainly be enjoyed even without her.

A World of Difference

One aspect in which DoA 6 deserves nothing but praise is its design when it comes to the stages the fights take place on. They are varied, distinct, and detailed enough that it’s easy to get a little distracted even mid-fight. One of the most interesting things about them is that they are animated, and well-animated at that. For example, one stage has a fight happening on a street in a circle of cheering onlookers. If the opponent is knocked back into them, one of the bystanders will catch them and push them back towards the player; pushing the enemy towards a different onlooker will cause that one to push them back instead, adding the feeling of realism.

Some stages also allow for players to be pushed out of bounds and into a new, adjacent ring entirely. This feels both surprising and interesting, and it’s quite a rewarding thing to encounter after a landing a particularly vicious combo.

Dress to impress?

Naturally, customizing the fighters is a pretty big deal here, and this can be done in several ways: hairstyles can be changed for some if not all the characters, they can all wear different glasses, and each have unique outfits. Glasses can be bought for any character, whereas outfits have to be crafted through a questing system and are unique to one character. Although there is a decent variety and interesting (and completely fighting-inappropriate) outfits can be selected, several of them are just recolored versions, meaning that of, say, nine outfits, only three are actually unique.

This feels a bit cheap and hurried at times, especially when there is so much potential from previous titles to draw on. Glasses, hairstyles, and outfits do let players alter the looks of their fighters significantly though, and all in all, the available options are nice-looking. The only drawback is how few options there really are.

Greatest!

Mechanic-wise, there is little to complain about. DoA 6 has solid controls, works well with controllers, and the fight styles and combo lists are relatively intuitive. Where they aren’t, there are fighter tutorials and combo lists available, and although the initial tutorial only teaches a couple of moves, winning the first few fights is relatively easy.

As the difficulty increases, choosing moves carefully becomes more important, and players will find themselves consulting the provided guide materials more often. This is especially true in quest mode, where specific match-ups don’t just have to be won, but also need to fulfill certain conditions, such as featuring specific moves and the like.

Once upon a time…

DoA 6 has a story mode as well as an additional quest mode. It’s clear that the story mode itself isn’t necessarily the focus of the game, and as such it feels a little flat. The story is told in the form of a storyboard, with different chapters that are unlocked by playing other chapters. The story itself is interesting and fits well with the overall DoA narrative, however, actually navigating the story elements can be very confusing — the different sections don’t unlock in order, and sometimes playing a section of Chapter 3 will unlock an element from Chapter 1.

Story progression and plot are handled decently, through very few sentences and scenes, and the story is clear enough that players not familiar with it will be able to jump right in. For experienced players, the familiar characters and names should add an additional layer. The cast of characters is familiar, with two new characters added: Diego and Nico.

Cut from a different cloth

An interesting addition to DoA 6 is the quest system. In order to gain access to new customization options for characters, you need to complete quests outside of the story mode. They give you both money and materials for additional costumes. With money, you can buy hairstyles and glasses, while completing quests will get you a certain amount of random materials toward outfits.

It can be a little difficult to get a certain outfit, as these materials are distributed randomly and unless you get lucky, you may have to grind for a while in order to get that one sweet suit/dress. Generally speaking, quest mode is fun, because in addition to just having to beat fights, you also need to meet additional conditions such as time limits or special move requirements.

5

The Verdict: Fair

When it comes to the fighting in DoA 6, there isn’t a lot to complain about. The distinct fighting styles translate well, and characters feel unique and smooth. Appearance-wise, the title is also great; redesigned interactive stages, convincing animations, detailed outfits, and appearance elements make for a pleasant-looking fighting experience. The flaws are that the story mode can be confusing and the variety of available outfits leaves a lot to be desired. The fact that move combos and available techniques have changed very little, if at all, doesn’t help either. Nor does the inclusion of Day-1 DLC that unlocks additional characters and some outfits.

Melanie Hawthorne
Written by
Thursday, 14 March 2019 16:53
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Mel is a London-based copywriter that has been writing about video games for a few years now. After growing up in Vienna, Austria she followed her dreams and moved to London. Said dreams took her through a few different jobs (which included working as a web developer, shopkeeper and translator) before she settled on what she really wanted to do – periodically anger video game fans by expressing her opinions on games through various online publications. When she’s not writing about video games, she’s probably playing them... or walking her dog in a park. Since that depends largely on the English weather, Mel has plenty of time to indulge in her favourite games. These include but are not limited to Ark: Survival Evolved, Skyrim, GTA V, and oddly enough, Amnesia: Memories. She loves Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. She thinks Star Trek is way better than Star Wars and isn’t afraid to admit it – Live long and prosper!

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