REVIEW – Dead or Alive got a new instalment, and I’m fairly sure it’s also going to get an expanded re-release, a next-gen re-release, and a free-to-play version as well, lol. Those are far away, though, so now, all we can do is check out the vanilla release. This 3D fighter has both positives and negatives, and the latter has an example that became the annoyance of the franchise.
Koei Tecmo and Team Ninja said before the game’s release that this Dead or Alive is no longer going to be as… I can’t say it in any other way, „titty” as the previous titles in the series. Thankfully, it’s only partially right, as we did have to seemingly bid farewell to the breast physics in the gameplay but not in the cutscenes. (In other words: the West of the world has sacrificed the light sexuality on the sake of the worldwide acceptance, and it is also the result of the backlash that triggered Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 to not get an official Western release. But you can set more jiggle in the options.)
For the beginners, thankfully, there’s a tutorial mode that will help them learn some basic-but-helpful combos, as well as some other useful moves, specific to each character. A thumbs up to that. However, the story mode seems to be the opposite altogether before you do some deep diving (into online, for example): there are some short cutscenes made with the game’s engine, which seemingly are on both ends of the scale. They can be both beautiful and horrendous. I don’t think I have seen anything similar to this before in a fighting game. And yet, the graphics are alright (except for some stage textures, if you asked me…), which should be expected from the franchise, because if you discount the PS4 re-release of Dead or Alive 5, we didn’t get a new, current-gen, main DoA episode yet. But back to the story mode: moving on the character grid is itself weird, but the „you only get to play with a character for a short period before you move onto the next” isn’t. The dialogue between the characters is god awful! And, as I expected, there are also some boss fights, too, which seem to cheat. Don’t expect a lot of reasonable story throughout the six chapters.
For more professional players, the challenge mode can provide some fun. The game limits them in several ways – for example, you’ll have to win with way less HP, or use a certain move that might not be easy to perform to succeed. There’s also the run-of-the-mill arcade, time attack, and versus modes that I don’t think I have to explain at all.
In the gameplay, the „break” system has to be mentioned: this term basically means each character has a powerful move, and there’s also a meter that adds a strategic layer to the gameplay. If you let it fill up, then good luck to your opponent surviving your attacks or to be a good turtle (not attacking, mostly defending, but attacking at the right time to cause chaos). Offensive and defensive players can both find their right approach, especially how you can also use the meter to be defensive with it. By default, the R1 button on the PlayStation 4 has the S attacks.
If you perform the Fatal Rush, then you might end up stunning your opponent (called Fatal Stun in this case), and that could mean a successfully won round if you are good. With these improvements and additions, I think anyone who played Dead or Alive 5 in any shape or form can instantly have a chance in 6, too… and to use an idiotic segueway, the game does look good, and the characters are well-made, too, for the most part. It’s a mixed bag.
Let me start with the biggest stupidity for me: Dead or Alive 6 already has a season pass (the game came out yesterday, mind you…), and it’s already more expensive than the base game. It costs 90 euros. (And I checked on Steam… are you kidding me? The base game without a discount is 70? They silently increased the usual game price by a tenner!) What does the Season Pass contain? A technomancer costume for NiCO, a wrestling outfit for Nyotengu, 52 extra costumes, and five more each for the two new characters. And this costs 90 euros. Get the F outta here.
Let’s discuss the other dumb point of the game: the costumes. Each character starts out with two, with the second one usually being a recolour. By grinding with the game modes (yeah, I went there: grinding!), you can unlock the rest. The issue is that you’ll need pattern parts to access the new costumes, and what costume you can unlock is completely randomized. You’ll need at least 700 to open a costume, but you might also find yourself spend two grand on others… and mind you, the challenge mode fights can get you the most, but those are only a few hundred parts. Dead or Alive 6 has flopped here, and I didn’t even mention online yet: at the moment, there are no lobbies; Team Ninja plans to add them later this month. Congratulations! (And also, there’s a platform specific bug – the game maxes out any CPU on PC, but it can still run properly on two cores only. What the hell?)
…was my first score in my head, but I think Dead or Alive 6 is more than that. I was thinking about either a 6.5 or a 7 out of 10, but I’m giving it a weak seven because the fighting itself, and (mostly) the graphics are alright. The audio is okay, but the story mode and its presentation, the grinding, and the current state of online tones down the experience significantly. If the online gets on its feet, then consider my rating to be a 7.5, but now, it’s just a 7.
+ The gameplay got refined from 5
+ The graphics are good for the most part
+ The tutorial offers significant help for the beginners
– The story mode itself is a joke
– The grinding is ridiculous (the same goes for the season pass as well…)
– The online isn’t completely functional yet…
Publisher: Koei Tecmo Games
Developer: Team Ninja
Genre: 3D fighting
Release date: March 1, 2019