Every game is remembered for different things. Mario has a number of iconic elements, Sonic is fast, Street Fighter II has been ported to death and Dead or Alive is remembered for the way women are depicted. It isn’t the best reputation, though certainly better than being a number of poorly received games, largely because it ignores the fact Dead or Alive is a solid series. With it being closer to rock, paper, scissors, it makes for an accessible enough experience that has a fairly high skill cap. With Dead or Alive 6 expanding on everything, does it provide a worthwhile experience or is it best to remember it as that game that got the beach volleyball spin off?
Dead or Alive 6 tells a story that gives everyone something to do. Even if every scene doesn’t advance the overall narrative, directed around the tournament of the same name, it gives the characters a sense of being. And, beyond simply putting everyone in the spotlight, the scenes are actually well animated and far better than you’d expect from a game like this. This makes it an exciting journey, even if it isn’t the longest adventure.
Similar to story, Dead or Alive 6 manages to be impressive in almost every category. For starters, there are a fair amount of modes for players to check out. Arcade, time attack and survival give offline various modes to shine in. Versus covers offline fighting, with ranked making up the only online mode currently available. With DoA Quest giving single players fans something to strive and training offering various modes to improve your game.
DoA Quest makes up a big part of Dead or Alive 6. The mode contains 104 quests, each with three challenges, that players need to overcome. While one task is always winning the fight, the others typically offer something to improve your game or to be aware of. From side steps to landing a break blow, it’s a fun way to master the game. Best of all, the mode is less about making players days miserable and more about helping them improve. Failing a task will result in players being offered a tutorial on how to complete the task, with one of the two always offering some kind of guidance.
If you want to be more proactive, the aforementioned training highlights different elements of the game. In addition to free, players can select tutorial, command and combo trainings. So if you need to understand specific mechanics, tutorial will make sure you know what to do. Upon getting the fundamentals, command runs down how to perform all the basic moves, with combo being about putting them together. All of these modes combined are enough to give you the tools needed to succeed, even it’s actually fairly hard in practice.
What makes mastering Dead or Alive 6 hard is, in addition to learning combos, moves and other inputs, it’s also about predicting what someone is going to do and preventing that from happening. Even if you’re really good at performing specific combos, if a decent player knows what you’re going to do, you can and likely will lose to someone who either blocks and grabs or blocks and counters. The trick is to not only prevent that from happening but get an idea of where it’s building to.
Part of the fun of predicting attacks is how exciting certain attacks look. Regardless of landing a devastating blow or doing a couple spin kicks in the air, it’s an experience that looks good. And, outside of having exciting attacks, it’s actually fairly cinematic.
Every level is given some kind of trigger that you can use to do additional damage/hits. Sometimes it’s simply a watcher throwing you back into the fight, where as other times it’s smacking you into a fence followed by a pterodactyl picking you up and dropping you in another area. These can be fun to watch, as can break blows. One thing that stood out was, when I hit someone with glasses with a break blow, said character lost their glasses during the hit and proceeded to go without them for the duration of the fight. It’s the little things like this that make a good experience great.
Speaking of minor things, arguably the most exciting thing about Dead or Alive 6 is the customization options. With some characters having 15 unlockable costumes, though some are just palette swaps, each with different hairstyles and the ability to wear glasses, it gives players a lot to play around with.
Dead or Alive 6 manages to deliver in almost every category you could want. Even if the story isn’t that exciting, it’s fantastic to look at and some of the characters are a lot of fun to see interact with the world around them. Single players have plenty to see, with online being a little lackluster. Combine this with a fair amount of costumes, thrilling visuals and fantastic mechanics and it makes for an experience worth trying.
[Editor’s Note: Dead or Alive 6 was reviewed on PS4 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]