Dead or Alive 6 isn't the full-blown sequel to Dead or Alive 5 that we were hoping for. It's been over six whole years since the previous game first launched back on the PS3, and three years since the enhanced remaster, Dead or Alive 5: Last Round, hit PS4. Given the wait, we expected a lot more from this sixth main instalment, even if it is still a flashy and fun fighter.
The core of Dead or Alive is, er, alive and well here, but it's got a few extra bits bolted on. The most notable addition to the combat is the new 'break' system, which essentially boils down to each character having their own special move that does big damage. The attacks are tied to a newly introduced meter mechanic -- a bar that fills as you fight -- but you can also use this up on an all-powerful counter hold that covers just about every incoming option.
And so there's a slightly new dynamic in place where you're thinking about whether to burn your bar on offence of defence. It adds just a little more depth to the guessing game that is Dead or Alive's rock-paper-scissors-esque triangle of strikes-holds-throws, and as a bonus, the break attacks really pack a visual punch.
In fact, Dead or Alive has never seemed quite so crunchy. The impact of each blow is felt better than ever, and you almost feel bad for your opponent when you smash them off the edge of a stage and watch them smack into every single conveniently placed scaffolding platform before they hit the ground. It's brutal in a Homer Simpson trying to jump Springfield Gorge kind of way.
But yeah, if you've played Dead or Alive 5, everything's going to seem very familiar. Returning characters haven't changed much at all in the way that they fight, and the fundamental mechanics are largely untouched. Veterans will feel right at home, but even with this sixth entry, Dead or Alive still gives newcomers a warm welcome. Basic combos are easy to pull off, and as soon as you wrap your head around spacing and holds, you're in the zone.
It helps that there's a well made tutorial mode to run through, complete with character-specific training that covers effective moves and beginner combos. It's a great place to start, and it does an admirable job of breaking down the game's core elements without dumping too much information at once. Good stuff.
Speaking of modes, Dead or Alive 6 has a very respectable selection. You've got a full story mode -- more on that later -- a kind of challenge mode, arcade, time attack, and survival modes, versus mode, and, of course, online matches. Everything works just as you'd expect, and based on what we played of ranked matches, connection quality seems solid. However, it's worth noting that more casual lobby matches aren't available yet -- they're supposed to be added later this month.
The aforementioned challenge mode presents some increasingly tricky fights that task you with fulfilling different conditions. You might have to land a certain kind of attack on your opponent, or win with a set amount of health. It's fun enough, but it's a bit of a bummer that this is your main source of 'pattern parts'. Along with in-game money, these parts are required to unlock character costumes, and the specific costumes that you acquire parts for appear to be random. Because of this, actually unlocking your favourite fighter's wardrobe can be an absolute slog. Each outfit takes anywhere from 800 to 2000 pattern parts to make it available for purchase from the in-game shop, but completing a challenge fight only grants you a few hundred parts at most -- and arcade runs net you a laughable amount.
The additional costumes, by the way, are where you're going to find Dead or Alive 6's most revealing outfits. Each character starts off with just two clothing options -- one being a recolour -- and they're all pretty safe, as far as Dead or Alive goes. In a way, locking the more risque costumes behind such a grind feels cynical. Love it or hate it, titillation is a big part of these games, and having the "sexier" stuff greyed out on the character selection screen seems strange. And yes, there is a "I demand more jiggle" option buried in the menus.
But hey, at least the characters look great. Faces are detailed and exquisitely modelled, while animations are super smooth. Generally speaking, it's a lovely looking game in motion, but there are a few noticeable blemishes. Some stage textures, for example, are horrendous, and pausing the action often reveals some seriously jaggy, low quality assets scattered around each arena.
Because of this, story cutscenes in particular can look really bad. It's a jarring experience; the game is constantly flip-flopping between looking fantastic and looking downright terrible. Again, the visuals are something that we expected to be a lot more impressive after all this time.
This brings us neatly to the story mode, which, in a word, is woeful. It's fair enough if you enjoy the sheer schlockiness of the Dead or Alive plot and the nonsensical way that it's portrayed, but come on -- it's bloody awful. Between the dismal dialogue, baffling direction, and single-round fights -- not to mention the ridiculously cheap boss battles -- it's a waste of time. If you're a hardcore Dead or Alive fan or you just want to see the disaster unfold, you'll probably find something to like, but for everyone else, please don't buy Dead or Alive 6 expecting any form of entertainment from its story.
Dead or Alive 6 finds itself in this slightly awkward middle space where it's certainly a sequel, but it's not nearly the jump that we were expecting -- especially since it's been almost seven years since Dead or Alive 5. The new additions to combat are welcome but they're not exactly exciting, and the overall package is reasonably robust, but let down by tedious grinds and a terrible story mode. As a fighter, Dead or Alive is still fun, punchy, and accessible, but as an upgrade on the already solid Dead or Alive 5: Last Round, it feels underwhelming, and even a little rushed.
If anyone's got any questions let me know.
Good actual review. EG once again spent the bulk of the text moralising.
Tag battle has been removed which I think it’s a bummer. I’ve enjoyed the other DOA games so I’ll more than likely like this one too.
I mean, I guess I have to play it but it seems like the game is docked for being DoA and it's just funny to me how games are treated differently based on name. Lets face it, people have always hated DoA, whether it's the 'fanservice' that drives uptight Western gamers crazy or the less technical gameplay (admittedly there are a few fighters that do things better). But I don't know why people expect such massive leaps. SoulCalibur VI, a game I really like, isn't a huge leap from past SC games, but still scored well. Different genre but Uncharted 4 was hardly a massive leap from what the series usually is, yet, that also scored extremely well.
Anyway, it's more DoA and the demo was fun so I'm sure the full game is good stuff but I hate how they marketed this game with the director going on a media tour bashing the older games and the older fanbase for having the audacity to enjoy the fanservice of those entries
@KALofKRYPTON I was literally about to post the same thing, it's about 7 paragraphs before anything about the game is even mentioned and even then there is little information. It was one of the worst reviews I've ever read.
This on the other hand is a good review and now I have a rough idea of what to expect from the game should I buy it
@Gamer83 It's just not true, though. @ShogunRok is an enormous fan of Dead or Alive 5 (he played it for hours and hours) and was disappointed with the progress made in this one.
As he says in the review, it's not getting dinged for being a DOA game, it's getting dinged for being a DOA game that feels inexplicably rushed to market.
Looks like I'll be sticking with DOA5 for now.
Maybe I'll get this in the future when it's really cheap, or if I find a copy on eBay for less than $15.
I'll stick with Last Round, Dimensions, and the one on the Vita for my DoA fix. Nothing about this has appealed to me since it was first revealed (not a fan of the more violent-looking combat and the move toward a more "serious" feel), and it sounds like there's no reason to upgrade.
How's the netcode?... Seemed pretty bad in the open beta...
It's also dissapointing that it doesn't have tag mode, random option for costumes, or more costumes in general... Seems like a downgrade from Last Round... There's also no truly eye popping stages like the beach or the forest from last round
@DualWielding Based on what I played the netcode seemed pretty good. I had a couple of matches where there was some definite lag, but they smoothed out over time.
And yeah, lack of a tag mode is a downer. I think one of the game's issues is that Last Round feels more complete, and that was the series' last point of reference.
6 definitely feels bare bones if you've been playing 5 all this time.
Thank you @ShogunRok for doing an actual informative review. I tried to read Eurogamer's review earlier and good god that self rightous tone was vomit inducing.
@carlos82 They've been down the woke rabbit hole for a while, ever since someone criticized them for having little-to-no female staff/contributors; which is a fine thing to try and 'fix', but they really turned the 'woke' up to 11 in the wake of it.
It's not as bad as iO9/Kotaku - but they're getting there.
The DoA review is second only to Oli's review of The Grand Tour game in the elitist-woke stakes (where the suggestion is that to like Clarkson & Co's antics you could only possibly be a child/bigot/idiot* delete as appropriate).
Like I said, I need to play it. This review is thorough and a good read so I wasn't trying to single this one out in particular, it was a more comment about the reviews I've read in general. I wouldn't be surprised if when playing the full game it does feel rushed because it probably was to an extent. Seemed pretty clear Koei-Tecmo and Team Ninja wanted to get this game into Evo and did a lot to try and get it there but between that and telling people they're a-holes for liking harmless stuff, improving on the solid - though unspectacular - gameplay could've been lost in the shuffle.
@KALofKRYPTON actually I think it was that review of the Grand Tour that almost completely put me off them, particularly that suggestion of them and their fans being racist, sexist or bigots
Don't worry, all that stuff you're asking for will be there... Via a crapton of microtransactions of course. Not a strategy that should be praised but they raked in some cash with those in DoA 5 Last Round so this is probably the way going forward. Honestly, I'm a little surprised they didn't launch this similar to how Respawn handled Apex Legends. Put the game out as a free-to-play then offer a bunch of DLC alongside it like story mode, costume packs, a pack with a few new or classic stages, etc.
@carlos82 It's symptomatic of their rush to ensure that they are only ever viewed as the 'good guys'; self congratulatory, simplistic sociopolitical stances (Good guys/Bad guys) sprinkled (or troweled) throughout everything of note they publish.
I forgot this came out today. After reading this, I'm probably gonna put it on hold though for a bit. Still need to pay off my DMC5 pre order.
I'm definitely iffy on grinding more for outfits. In DOA5, you just unlocked an outfit by completing a game mode as a character. Definitely sounds like they went backwards here.
I can’t wait to rock this later, it’s been far too long since I played Dead Or Alive 5.
DOA5 had like 3 different versions. I kinda hope that won’t be the case here. Though, I’m sure they will just throw all the DLC in our faces.
@Gamer83 I read somewhere that they were gonna release a free to play version “soon” after launch, akin to DOA5LR.
Pretty accurate review, and not a surprise at all if you’ve been following the game’s progress, IMHO. I mostly wish there were more new characters to make up for the same-y game mechanics.
@ShogunRok Does the story have a sense of humour or is it all serious.
Haha I got intrigued by your comment and went to see what EGreview was about.
Wow. That sort of crap is every where now.
@Ryall The main story threads are pretty serious but a lot of the side stories are just supposed to be dumb fun.
@ShogunRok How much less bewbs jiggle is in the game compared to 5, percentage wise?
Yeah, we'll see how quickly it releases, my guess is it could be as soon as two weeks if sales of the full version are slow which is what I'm expecting given that the game's director did a phenomenal job ticking off the established fanbase that has supported this franchise since Itagaki created it as well as the obnoxious 'woke' crowd that was initially being targeted with this entry.
@JohnnyShoulder While I'd love to give you a mathematical breakdown, I sadly haven't had the time to work it out.
Nah but there's an option in the main options menu that lets you toggle between like... Normal-ish breast physics and old-style Dead or Alive breast physics.
The second option seemed in line with Dead or Alive 5 from what I remember.
N-Not that I was looking or anything! Jeez!
@ShogunRok Thanks for the quick reply.
But who determines what is normal breast physics? There must be someone from the devs who has an 'interesting' job!
@JohnnyShoulder Honestly I would absolutely love to know how.
You guys gave street fighter v vanilla a 9 and it was super incomplete. I'm gonna still get doa 6 because from the review it seems to have a lot more features than vanilla sfv. I also dont care about costumes too.
Thanks. If I get bored of Soul Calibre six this will be next for me.
@Kindaichi It's not really a double standard. It's perfectly fair to say that it's sexualisation (female characters) vs male power fantasy (I realise that is debatable, but that's the way I see it - and also why He-Man wears pants).
Do many male attracted gamers get hot by the sight of cg abs and muscles in a fighting game? Probably not. The titillation of scantily clad women with ridiculous bouncing bussoms only serves one purpose though.
I'm not a fan of it and I do find in my old age that I'm rather put off by hypersexualisation of women in most media, games included.
That said, I find EG's unwavering and elitist moralising tiring, especially when it's a review as apposed to an editorial.
I've no intention of buying DoA, but I certainly didn't need EG to slap down those who may want to.
So basically Dead or Alive 5 vanilla. That game eventually did get better, quite good in fact, hopefully this one will too.
I said "Do many male attracted gamers get hot by the sight of cg abs and muscles in a fighting game?". So men and women attracted to men...
But I get what you're saying, and there's no doubt that there will be people out there who do fetishise cg men in some way. But they are made simply to look powerful, not titillating - there's no 'bouncy junk' or mankini option.
Oh well at least there’s the 7x $93 DLC packs to make it better!
Im enjoying it!! Though i was under the impression that the customization stuff wasnt locked behind such a grindy wall, that kinda sucks but otherwise. Oh and the ridiculous season pass stuff, i hope u can buy everything separately instead of having to buy the whole thing at $100 cuz screw that!!
Thanks for the review... I expected more tbh, gonna wait for that core edition then.
"It's brutal in a Homer Simpson trying to jump Springfield Gorge kind of way."
Possibly my favourite bit of writing I've seen on pushsquare. Nice one!
Actually the 'softness' option just turns jiggle off. So it's either natural (dependent on costume material) or like stone.
I finished the story today and honestly really enjoyed it. It did feel rushed and I wish it was longer and more fleshed out (Not all the tournament matches were even in there!) but what was there I thought it was good fun.
The new mechanics and meter system I much prefer to what Soulcalibur VI added with RE and CEs forcing you to watch cutscenes multiple times each match and killing the flow of battle.
The visuals are nice but don't make as good use of the PS4Pro as I'd expected, unlike on xbox we don't even get HDR!
@bossuche9 it’s way better than Street Fighter 5, I’m having a blast with it.
@AyanamiReign PlayStation 4 Pro enables 1080p resolution maintaining the processing speed, and the quality of stages and effects will be higher than on the base Playstation 4 which runs at 900p. Ya the Xbox One X version is superior.
DoA, even Street Fighter have always been pretty fair with the outrageous costumes for male and female characters. I also love how people like to act like there aren't any women who enjoy, even feel empowered, by characters that get 'sexualized' like a Bayonetta or the ladies from DoA. I know a few ladies in the real and on the internet who enjoy them. There's a reason female cosplayers dress up at Mortal Kombat events in more costumes based on characters from 9 than MKX. There's a reason a lot female youtubers enjoy classic Lara Croft and even one prominent youtuber has said on the official Tomb Raider page she'd like to see classic costumes return and doesn't view the shorts and tank top as oversexualized.
In short, people need to stop being so damn sensitive over stupid crap. Not saying they have to like, just don't buy the game. This isn't the 80s where options were limited there is literally something for everyone these days.
I can't believe I'm going to post this but having played both I think I actually enjoy DoA 6 a little bit better. SC 6 is an awesome game but for some reason I'm just better at DoA. I think it's because in my mid-30s I no longer have the time to sit down and really master a game's mechanics like I could when I was in my teen years. My Street Fighter skills for example are dreadful these days. DoA is just good, pick up and play fun. There's a free-to-play version for this game on the way but I also think the price on the full retail version is going to drop rather quickly. A lot of what was pointed out in this review is accurate but there's still something charming about the same old, same old of the easy to pick up and easy to master mechanics of this fighter.
Sorry for being late but did you see EG article about Mr X mod from the same writer? If that's not double standard I don't know what is haha
Not sure if I should post the link but it's easy to find on EG site.
@JJ2 Saw it in the comments there.
Yeah, this is the general impression I got when playing the beta. Like, it's a new game, but it doesn't feel like much of a jump from DOA5, which was quite impressive when it released. It's pretty clear that the game was made on a budget. I'm going to wait a while before jumping in on this, since I do like DOA a lot mechanically.
I haven't really enjoyed a DoA game much since DoA2U and DoA3 Hardcore. I didn't care for the fourth game and the 5th game has that reputation for being laden with DLC. I was really hoping 6 would be better, but it doesn't seem like it. With DoA5 now officially becoming a fairly old game, I'm hoping I can get that and all the DLC for pretty cheap. From what I've seen, the 5th one seems like it's pretty much the best one right now. Either way, I ended up springing for SC6 after getting it on sale off Amazon, so I guess I'll be playing that for a while. Hopefully DoA5 goes on sale for a good price soon.
As good as metro then....
FYI, the free DOA6 Core Fighters version is available now, at least in NA. It is pretty barebones, no story mode and only has 4 playable characters, but hey, the price is right. I could even see myself just spending the $3-4 for my favorite fighter, Christi, and enjoying many hours for an extremely minimal investment.
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