Review by Ethan Baron
“*Chuckle*… You won’t have time to feel bored.”
The next instalment of the critically acclaimed and controversial series by Team Ninja is here. Dead or Alive returns with beautiful stages, great attention to detail and fully accessible gameplay.
When I first got the code for Dead or Alive 6, I joked with my partner that I had just got Breast Physics simulation 2019, because after all that’s what the series is infamous for: revealing outfits, emphasis on “bounciness”, and a core fighting experience set in highly detailed fighting stages. But what happens when the Developers decided to tone all this down and complete focus on the combat itself? You are given very fluid, visually stunning fighting game that’s sits atop the throne in the highly competitive genre.
Of course, the outfits are still there but they are all either waiting to be unlocked or hidden behind the excessive £90 season pass. However, when fighters are hit with the new break blow attack (more on that later) certain characters outfits will tear open, hair may become loose and accessories will fly off into the background. So, while all these features do still exist, they have been tuned completely down allowing for the focus to be on everything else in game, which for most will be a welcome change.
Dead or Alive 6 is possibly the most accessible fighting game that has been made to date. Whilst still containing a hench list combos and techniques to master for each character that will make long time fans and competitive players happy, DoA 6 also has one of the deepest tutorials I have ever seen in any game. The tutorial consists of 40 tests each with up to 8 challenges and after a few hours on this, anyone should feel like they have been playing the genre for years.
Even without playing the tutorial first, passing the controller to my partner, who isn’t much off a gamer and even forgot which character she was mid-fight, she was able to pick it up incredibly quick and was consecutively winning fights with visually impressive techniques and combos that seemed to mold together seamlessly.
New to the franchise is a Break Gauge, your special ability bar that fills depending on the damage dealt or taken by you and thanks to the special button you can dish out some very satisfying combos and attacks, with the option of using a finishing technique that is unique for each fighter.
However, the falls of Dead or Alive 6 are unsurprisingly how the story mode feels clunky between the short fights and movie scenes are interrupted by loading screens longer than they need to be and you will find yourself spending more time staring at a black screen than you will playing. This is nothing new to the series and is a shame that they are still unable to deliver a quality story mode where other games in the genre have shown that it is possible.
Despite still struggling to tell a captivating story, Dead or Alive 6 is an improvement in nearly every area from its predecessor. The small new features bring a lot more to the game for competitive plays and newcomers alike.
The fighting stages are gorgeous environments that can interact with you as you fight, helping the atmosphere of each stage come to life.
The music is fairly generic with an electro rock styling as found with many others, but it doesn’t feel repetitive and isn’t unpleasant to listen to either. For the first time since Dead or Alive 1 the characters selection screen has it’s own theme and you can also change any theme for any screen in the options menu.
And of course for those who want to you can change the voices from English to Japanese and this is something I would recommend doing because while there is nothing wrong with the English voice acting, the Japanese voices definitely feel more natural.
Overall Team Ninja have perfected all the best parts about the series and taken inspiration from other games to create a fully accessible and fully comprehensive and competitive fighting game that is huge amount of fun playing solo, online or with your friends. Also, while the lack of a decent story mode lets it down, the other modes like the arcade mode and DOA Quest will give more than enough entertainment for a long time.
This is definitely a game worth checking out and I’m sure will see some competitive play in the coming months as well.
Overall score 8/10