In the cutthroat world of fighting games, Dead or Alive has consistently proven that it’s a solid contender. From its arcade debut in 1996, the series has made a name for itself with striking visuals, fun and memorable characters, and engaging fighting action, carrying the series along through some of the genre’s darkest days. Now, Dead or Alive finds itself in one of the most crowded markets the genre has ever seen. Dead or Alive 6 still has the chops to stand out after all this time–though it does slightly stumble along the way. Women (and some men) in suggestive costumes beat each other up and down in a fast-paced 3D fighter built on a basic but sound tactical framework.
Dead or Alive 6 does not deviate from that top-level formula at all, but manages to spice things up with some interesting changes spread throughout its gameplay and modes. It’s polished, it’s fun, and it’s keeping the series alive and active without rocking the boat too much.
But the game’s appeal is more than surface-level. DoA6 delivers solid, satisfying combat with its own twists. New to the franchise is a Break Gauge that fills as you deal or receive damage with your blows–a mechanic that’s been seen in many other fighting games. There are a few things you can do with this shiny new gauge, thanks to a newly added “special” button that puts it to use: An offensive sidestep into an attack by pressing up or down in tandem with the special button, do a “Break Hold” universal hold counterattack by pressing back and the special button.
Finally, you can execute a powerful “Break Blow” by either pressing towards the opponent and the special, or automatically at the end of a four-hit special button auto-combo, assuming the Break Gauge is full. These Break Blows are incredibly flashy, packing a serious punch both in lifebar and visual damage to the opponent. It’s hard not to feel a bit demoralized when you’re watching your fighter get physically wrecked by a secret ninja skill or a fist to an extremely vulnerable face–but it’s super rewarding to push that same humiliation onto your foe.
The Break Gauge is a great addition to the game, as it’s easy to understand and doesn’t require a lot of execution beyond knowing when to use each special technique. All of these techniques are useful; the sidestep attacks can screw up somebody fishing for you to mess up a hold counter, the Break Hold can take some of the guesswork out of hold counters (and counter an opponent’s Break Blow), and Break Blows just look cool and satisfying as hell… well, provided you can land them.
But the Break Blows aren’t the only flashy thing about DoA6‘s combat. The series is known for having some pretty wild combat arenas, and DoA6’s lush battlefields might be some of the craziest yet. They include a dilapidated theme park overrun by dinosaurs, a moss-encrusted battleship being assaulted by an angry kraken, and a multi-car pile-up with some very volatile vehicles that might go kaboom when someone touches them.
DoA6 also offers plenty of minor tweaks to the moment-to-moment gameplay, and options to make the game more beginner-friendly (such as simplifying the game’s hold counterattack system inputs), but the most important thing is that the fighting just feels good. The rock-paper-scissors element of the holds-throws-attacks balance works nicely into gameplay with smooth animation that feeds into a seamless flow of combat. Every character offers something unique in terms of their fighting style, but once you have the basics down, it’s not too hard to learn another character if you’re not feeling who you’re currently playing with.
DOA Quest isn’t a bad idea on its own, but the game’s grindy, frustrating unlock system turns a fine little challenge mode into an absolute chore. The main thing you’ll want to use DOA Quest (and other single-player modes like Arcade Mode) for is unlocking character costumes and customization options, of which there are many. However, you’ll soon discover that when you earn points that go towards unlocking new outfits, you have absolutely no say in where they will go.
Provided you’re not absolutely attached to using a specific customization in battle, versus play against another human is far more satisfying than the neverending solo grind. Local versus mode works just fine, but most people will probably gravitate towards online play. While there aren’t many options for online head-to-head–just Ranked and the promise of a future Lobby mode–what is there works well, and given a good connection, online play feels smooth and enjoyable. One particularly brilliant feature is the ability to see if your potential online match is using a wi-fi or a wired connection. It lets you avoid a lot of potential lag-spike headaches, as wired connections are ideal for head-to-head fighting games like this.
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Dead or Alive 6 makes a strong case for the franchise’s fundamental combat by making it easier to understand what sets it apart from other fighters, other than its infamous “jiggle physics.” The story campaign is disjointed but it and the other training modes serve as effective instruction for getting new players up to speed for online combat quickly, and the new Break Hold and Break Blow moves give you a way out even when you seem locked into an endless juggle of doom. It really needs to work on its online multiplayer options, though, since they’re currently skimpier than La Mariposa’s outfit.
Despite some missteps, DoA6 is a fun, engaging fighter with great-feeling, easy-to-pick-up combat, a strong sense of visual style, and a lot of personality. If you’re looking for a new fighting game to learn the ins and outs of–or perhaps a nice entry into the 3D side of fighting games–DoA6 is a fighter of choice.
Video Game Dead Or Alive 6 Review :
User Rating :
– The Good:
+ Some of the new stages are an absolute blast to battle on
+ The Break Gauge system is a smart addition that adds depth and flair to combat
+ Strong visuals and detail make the game stand out graphically
+ A fun, varied cast with flashy fighting styles
– The Bad:
+ The unlock system makes no sense and feels like a demoralizing grind
+ Story Mode’s presentation is messy
+ The new characters are rather bland, design-wise
+ Not enough of those cool, crazy battle arenas
Mark : 7