Dead or Alive 6 Xbox One Review

March 25, 2019 by  
Filed under Xbox One, Reviews & Features, Xbox

Publisher: Koei Tecmo  Developer: Team Ninja  Genre: Fighting  Players: 1-2 

Age Rating: 16+  Other console/handheld formats: PS4

It’s unfair when certain things in a game overshadow what made it great in the first place, and the Dead or Alive series is a prime example of this. The series is renowned for its sexualised women with their bouncy breasts and revealing clothing, but there’s a lot more to the series than this, and it deserves to be appreciated as the fast, fun and fluid fighting game that it has long offered players.

Some things don’t change though, and Dead or Alive 6 once again brings back the buxom and often scantily clad female combatants, although let’s face it, the likes of the Soul Calibur series hardly has a realistic representation of real women, does it? But yet it has never received the same backlash, which is strange. I can only think it’s because Dead or Alive has always been a little more in your face with its women than any other fighting game has.

Moving away from the sexual stuff, and let’s start this review with the characters. The fighter roster is largely made up of returning faces, although there are a couple of new characters in Diego and NiCO. Diego is a brutal and hard hitting street fighter of Mexican descent and was apparently designed to appeal more to western audiences, while NiCO is a blue-haired scientist with lightening based attacks. Both characters are fine additions, and longtime fans will no doubt study each one in a painstaking manner to determine their strengths and weaknesses when playing as or against them.

When it comes to the fighting, Dead or Alive 6 feels very fast, fluid, smooth and responsive, making for some fun and visually exciting combat, which has long been Dead or Alive’s thing, particularly since the second game in the series, which introduced smoother fighting as well as multi-layered arenas.

Visually, the game is attractive, with some of the best sweat I have ever seen in a game. Characters also get dirty in the same way that they did in the previous game, but this time they also receive visible cuts to their faces.

New this time around is the Fatal Rush mechanic, which is a very easy to perform four hit combo, achieved by pressing a single button multiple times. Dead or Alive 6 also introduces a break gauge, which is the first time that the series has ever had such a gauge, although it puts it more in line with many other games of its ilk. The gauge fills with attacking your opponent as well as being attacked, and has a multi-purpose function.

You are able to make use of the gauge once it is filled to 50%, which then allows you to counter-hold any melee attack coming from any single direction just as long as it is timed correctly, which is handy for getting yourself out of a tough spot and then turning the tables in your favour, suddenly putting you on the offensive as opposed to being on the defensive and also taking away the guesswork that you would normally have with such a counter. Once the gauge is full, you are able to unleash a powerful Break Blow, resulting in a brutal and impactful animation. It’s also worth keeping in mind that if you find yourself in a Fatal Rush combo, the only way to get yourself out of it is by using a Break Blow as there’s no way to counter it otherwise. All in all, the Break gauge adds in extra tactical thinking, and it’s a most welcome inclusion.

While things have been changed up a lot in this sequel, when it comes to the rest of the fighting mechanics, Dead or Alive 6 is business as usual. The game still allows you to anticipate where an opponent is going to attack from, and if you are able to time it properly, moves can be countered, which has been one of the trademarks of the series since day one. Once again it is one of the series’ most satisfying of aspects, and it feels good when you correctly guess what your opponent is going to do next.

Like Dead or Alive 5, it must be said that the fighting arenas aren’t quite as memorable as some of the earlier games in the series. Don’t get me wrong, there’s some really well designed ones included, but there’s also some that are really quite bland. It also has to be said that Team Ninja should be looking a little more forward with the arenas, as with the removal of the Power Blows that were introduced in the previous game, what’s here can also be called somewhat of a regression .

The women once again have a lot more outfits in the base game, with 15 compared to the men’s 6. Base game outfits are now purchased through an in-game currency system, although you have to unlock each individual outfit before you are able to purchase it, which is a strange way of doing things, it has to be said.

In terms of modes, Dead or Alive 6 has the typical story mode with a nonsensical storyline that is enjoyable in a cheesy way. Both story sequences and fights are over quickly, but the layout of the mode is shockingly bad, and doesn’t really make much sense. The DOA Quest mode, on the other hand, is basically a challenge mode and has each fight presenting you with three challenges to overcome, and in a nice touch you can quickly access tutorials if you are struggling to complete a challenge. With this mode, as well as the in-depth tutorial and combo training, Team Ninja obviously do want you to improve your game way beyond the basics. Even though Dead or Alive has never been the deepest fighting game in the world, there’s still much to get to grips with here.

The game also has a simple but mostly functional online mode. I have experienced bouts of noticeable lag, but the most severe issue about the online play right now is the lack of lobbies for unranked matches. Fortunately these are apparently coming to the game very soon, but surely they should have been in there in the first place?

Dead or Alive 6 is an entry in the series that both increases the depth of the fighting mechanics with the Break gauge as well as simplifies them with the addition of the Fatal Rush combo attacks. Even though the stages have seen better days, the story mode is a mess, and the online play is lacking right now, there’s still much to like in this fast, fun and fluid brawler, and the fighting has never been better in a Dead or Alive game than it is in this well-tuned and mechanically mature instalment.