REVIEW: Dead or Alive 6 – PS4

Mar
24

REVIEW: Dead or Alive 6 – PS4

Finally, Dead or Alive is back and it is outrageous…

Steam: Released
PS4: Released
Type: Single-player, Multiplayer
Genre: Fighting Game
Developer: Team Ninja
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Release date: 1 March, 2019

…ly fun. Back in action with a Brand New Engine

Dead or Alive 6 marks the maiden voyage of Team Ninja’s brand new Engine that will find more use in the future.
Just like every other mainline Fighting Game, Dead or Alive 6 recasts their base roster selection with 24 characters. Two new faces and some old ones are missing. Unfortunately, guest characters from Virtua Fighter in the predecessor didn’t make the cut.

As there is already a F2P version that you should definitely try. I have decided to charge the gameplay segment with tips that may put you ahead of the competition and how I rose from bottom rank F- to D rank within an hour(excluding matchmaking time).
Let’s dive right into this controversial Fighter and start with the Cold Hard Facts.

Content: Arcade, DoA Quest, Tutorial and the whole basics

Content is currently the biggest sore point of fighting games right now. Some bigger names come with less than a basic amount of content. Luckily DoA6 does have more than the bare minimum. Au Contraire, it has much more. If I had to put it into a ranking, it would be in the upper echelon. If you haven’t tried ANY Dead or Alive game yet, I recommend getting your feet wet with DoA5 Core Fighters first! DoA6 Core Fighters is already out. Both are free!

What does it have?
Along with Story, Arcade, and Tutorial Mode, it comes with a new Singleplayer Mode: DoA Quest. Base Costumes of prior games are also in the game as unlockables. That’s a sizeable amount.

What is missing?
Tag Team is the most noticeable missing component and so far there is no news of it coming back. There are also no lobbies for online play, supposedly they will be patched in with a later update.

The Characters


There are currently 22 Characters within the base game. Nyotengu was a pre-order bonus and Phase-4 is the Deluxe Edition exclusive, upping it to a potential 24. There are only two new characters. The rest are returning cast. I can’t say much about Nico outside of her being seen as a strong character in the competitive scene.

Diego, on the other hand, is one of the best additions to Dead or Alive. Diego is a straightforward brawler that oozes simplicity. You don’t have to learn that much with him and you’ll be up to snuff with him in no time. He’s a much welcome addition in a very varied roster of unique characters.

The Stages


There are 13 Stages. Some have Stage transitions some not. On top of that, there are stage hazards that can change the course of the fight when utilizing them fully.

Arcade, Survival and Time Attack

Pro Tip for Survival: Using specific down attacks that are available when the opponent is on the ground will make items fall out of the opponent. This is a classic Dead or Alive mechanic.

Tutorial, Free Training, Command Training, and Combo Challenge
The Tutorial: Goes over everything you need to know about Dead or Alive 6 in detail.
Command Training: You go over the majority of a characters moves.
Combo Challenge: Showcases combo prototypes for all kinds of situations you can utilize when playing. Savvy players will learn the characters basic combo structure and adjust to your own individual needs.
Free Training: Very robust and comes with frame data! (If you are interested in the latter to let me know and leave a comment!)

DoA Quest *NEW + More with latest Update*
This is Dead or Alive 6’s answer to post-Story Singleplayer content. With over 100 Missions that rewards in-game currency, Encyclopedia entries, and Costume Parts because everybody needs some motivation.
These missions come in form of matches like Arcade or Survival.

There’s more! Each Mission has a subset of three missions with their own rewards. Costume Parts is the reward for clearing all three.
Using specific moves, doing a specific amount of damage, reach over a specific score, etc. are what you have to clear. Some sub-missions have special notes that direct you back to a corresponding tutorial, giving you advice on how to fulfill them.

Big Trouble in the Unlock Jungle
Everything is fine and well but there’s one negative thing that everybody agrees on. Unlocking Costumes is a bad grind. The reason? It’s a two-step Gating Mechanic. Not only do you have to use your in-game currency to buy them, but you also have to unlock the costumes first BEFORE you CAN BUY them. Doesn’t sound that bad, right? Wrong! Costumes are split into “parts” up to 1000. Before they are available you have to fill up those parts first. Still doesn’t sound that bad? Well here’s the kicker, getting the parts is COMPLETELY RANDOM! Ergo, you randomly unlock costumes and if you are lucky… your desired costume won’t be the last to unlock. Granted, all of it is free stuff that you can do with grinding. The next issue is actually getting those parts. DoA Quest rewards them in 3-digits for finishing all missions. Fortunately, after some feedback Team, Ninja has decided to increase the part acquisition rate. Props to them for listening to the players and reacting fast!

Unlocks
Dead or Alive 6 has a wealth of unlocks. Encyclopedia entries, Trivias, Music and Costumes.

The Deluxe Edition (Tested): A quick overview
It comes with a slew of outrageous skimpy costumes… for the male fighters… Just look at it yourself:

Same for the female but still with more fabric than their male counterparts:

The main attraction of the Deluxe Edition is without a doubt the extra Character Phase-4. So far she’s a Deluxe Edition exclusive and can’t be bought individually.

Story

Following the events of Dead or Alive 5 and a blown up “Oil Platform”(or rather a secret lab), Hayate goes on to find the perpetrators behind the devious trap they have escaped from. Meanwhile, some of the other characters have their own (tomfoolery) Episode(s), including Zack and his job to do another Dead or Alive tournament, adding some extra flavor. Diego is a Street Brawler and has a crush on one of the mighty ladies in the cast. Who is it you ask? We wouldn’t want to spoil it, would we?

The Story Mode is much better structured than it’s predecessor and split between Main Storyline of the Ninjas and the other sub-story cast, ordered in a timeline from top to bottom. Still, it’s nothing to write home about. The main story is relatively short and the side stories are serviceable.

The Controls: Same old with a new button

I always considered the Dead or Alive series to be a good “pick up and play” Fighting Game. Movement in 3D space is very easy and intuitive and on top of that, it only has three base buttons, though there’s obviously more by combining button presses. Dead or Alive 6 has upgraded their amount of buttons by one, moving past its Virtua Fighter legacy. Originally there were only 3 buttons: Punch, Kick, Block. To accommodate the new mechanics they had to add a new button: The Rush button. The newest addition it’s still very easy to start your fisticuffs, be it beginner or veteran. The movement is very intuitive. Turning strategic movements across the stage into second nature.

If you want a deeper look into the new stuff head over to my Dead or Alive 6 Beta Preview for more details.

It also needs to be mentioned that the game has a high amount of input lag compared to its genre relatives. If you don’t know what Input Lag is, head over to the article of mine where everything is explained in detail and how your quality of gaming can profit from choosing your Equipment wisely.

The Gameplay: A new flavor of Dead or Alive

It is the same basics, but different. Dead or Alive has always been an oddball in the world of Fighting Games. Ever played a Fighting Game where you get attacked with an unrelenting pressure? As in not even getting the chance to strike back? This is where Dead or Alive has a different take on the genre. To give you a live example, here’s a video of me going from F to D Rank in about an hour:

The Stun Game

Unlike other Fighting Games, you can still escape combos as long as you are on the ground. With the 4-Way Hold system, you can decide to intercept the next hit by anticipating the next move correctly. You have to decide between high attack, mid-punch, mid-kick, and low attack. These counters are very tempting but with a wrong guess, you will increase your opponents’ damage potential. They are especially deadly against grapplers due to high damage potential off a throw. So technically, after you manage to Stun your opponent a guessing game begins. Diversify your attacks according to the 4-Way-Hold system and make them guess hard. Add some extra flavor by stopping your combo to bait out the counter and hit them harder with a strike or throw. If you really don’t know, then just take the lesser damage by doing nothing and hold block. Just in case they drop the combo.

Stronger Defense after a knockdown
After getting knocked down you can do a fast recovery to different directions. That’s only one of the options. The most prominent one is the Comeback-Attack. A kick that you do while standing up that can either attack mid or low. These kicks can be countered with Hold but it’s still a 50/50 guess. If you’re winning in the tug-of-war of neutral play then you can also opt to take a step back just outside of the Comeback-Attacks.

The Combo Structure
Stun (Stun Game) -> Launcher -> Juggle -> Ground Bounce -> Ender

This is usually how the combos will look like. Stun is the guessing phase and you can initiate the uninterruptible part with a Launcher into the air. Most characters have a Launcher with Up + Kick, but make sure you find some more to make it more difficult for your opponent to get a read on you.
If you are at loss in this part, the Combo Challenge mode will most likely have all the answers you need. There’s also some additional balancing in the Juggle part by the characters having different weight classes. Take a look at the character select screen and look at the stats if you want to know the weight class.

Stages that require the Presence of Mind
Dead or Alive 6 doesn’t just have simple fight arenas. Walls can be the least of your worries. Be it firecrackers on grounds, exploding cars, a Kraken or explosive barrels you have to make sure that you are not the recipient of them by adjusting your positioning. Slamming into these Stage Hazards can lead to some extremely damaging combos. Make sure you learn the follow-ups. As before, the Combo Challenge Mode has got you covered for that.

Overall Impression
I like a lot of what I have played. Upping the defensive options in addition to the new system mechanic. It elevates frustrating complete blowouts with one or two wrong guesses. This, in turn, gives you more chances to play. The other new additions give the game a little bit more depth with Resource Management on how and when and how to use the new special gauge and its powerful options. The annoying waggling to recover faster from stun from the predecessor is also gone. Making it much easier to plan your combos.

Online: Thank god for the connection type sign

Not much to talk about here. There’s only ranked and the netcode seems ok with caveats. As mentioned before, Lobbies are coming at a later date.
BUT! There’s a SINGLE FEATURE that EVERY FIGHTING GAME should have. An indicator for a wireless or wired connection. Just for reference. Here’s footage of my Road to D Rank with Diego:

Graphics and Sound: Good looking in motion as well as in Photo Mode

Dead or Alive 6 manages to look quite good and leagues above its predecessor on a technical level. Though not everything is spotless. On closer look, REALLY close look, there are some rough patches like bad textures or clipping clothing. The animation looks great and fluid. It’s doing a great job in selling the hits in animation and sound. Stages look fine but kind of lack beautiful vistas like in its predecessors. That is not to say that they are bad looking. Timeless for example is an incredible idea of creating a patchwork of old stages by making it into a museum, including the change of music when entering them.

A head scratcher are the cutscenes in the Story Mode. Though they look like they are in in-game graphics, it might become apparent that all of them are pre-recorded videos. The quality could be much better. The heavy compression is most likely to keep the game’s size at bay at about 26 GB.

The music feels like a hit and miss in my opinion. If there is one stage theme that sticks out, it’s the coliseum theme for sure. There are also options for either English or Japanese voices, whichever tickles your fancy.

DLC

Yes, it’s like with every other Fighting Game. Dead or Alive 6 also comes with a whole slew of DLC. Slew might be an exaggeration for the current offering. Admittedly, I’m not a huge fan of paywalled characters on Day 1.

Preorder Character
Nyotengu ($3.99)

Introduced as a DLC Character in DoA5 Ultimate, she makes it back into the roster as Preorder DLC.
She has slow attacks and has special movement options by utilizing her wings.
On another note, would you look at that! It’s $3.99. On average cheaper than other Fighting Games and cheaper than Tekken 7 equivalent Eliza who is sold at $4.99.

Deluxe Edition Character
Phase 4

Phase-4 was introduced in DoA5:LR. If you look closely enough (not really), you’ll notice that she looks just like Kasumi. Indeed she does! According to the lore, she’s a clone of her. Despite her looks, she’s quite different and much more technical. So far, she’s most likely the most difficult character to use because of her teleportation specials and the tight timings that are involved. The bad thing about it is that it makes her difficult to use in online play. There’s currently no pricing because she seems to be at least timed exclusive to Deluxe Edition buyers.

The infamous Season Pass
Now here comes the controversy. The $92.99 Season Pass. There isn’t much to talk about. It comes with 62 Costumes and 2 Characters and two bonus costumes. If you want to support the game rigorously, you can go for that. If not, you can still pick each item individually (not on PS4 yet, a fix was mentioned).

The next 2 DLC characters
It is confirmed that both are SNK guest characters. The first one was already in 5, it is no other than Mai Shiranui. Most well known from Fatal Fury and King of Fighters. The second character has yet to be revealed.

Verdict

It’s fun, there’s content and it’s better than its predecessor. Dead or Alive 6 feels impressively nice to play and I haven’t enjoyed the gameplay that much since Dead or Alive 3. The new character and mechanics are without a doubt a nice touch. If I had to rate the gameplay it would certainly be an Autosave.

If only. Online Lobbies couldn’t make it at launch day and the two day-1 DLC characters that are part of the gameplay are souring it a little bit for me. The traditional Tag Team that was part of the franchise since 2 is also gone. Another point is the complicated and random costume unlock process. Until DoA5 it was always extremely simple and this new unlock system is unnecessarily obfuscating it. Unfortunately, the negatives weigh a tad bit too much which leads to the decision of reducing my verdict by a notch. Nevertheless, I still recommend EVERYONE to at least go and try the F2P Dead or Alive 6 Core Fighters version of the game. Because the gameplay is just that fun and easy to pick up and play. It also helps that it comes with a lot of modes, even DoA Quest.

Don’t forget to leave a comment if you have any thoughts or questions.

About S-1

Fighting game afficionado. Plays all kinds of games, outside of mostly FPS, horror and racing games. Twitter

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