This title was reviewed on PC, but is also available on Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
I’ve honestly never even played the DoA series before this entry. Pretty much everyone knows Dead or Alive, but I was unaware it had such a big following. I thought it was a game that was just sold on the value of memes over it’s ever-infamous “jiggle physics.” I heard about it as a kid, saw jokes or articles about it in Game Informer as a young teenager, but I never got around to playing it, despite my undying passion for fighting games. I was pleasantly surprised to find that, while there’s still plenty of bouncing curves, underneath that exterior is a pretty competent and polished fighting game with a good escalation of challenges set up to streamline and train you for multiplayer, despite the online actually falling a bit short.
So all we really have to talk about with a fighting game is gameplay, right? I like Dead or Alive 6’s. The mechanics are simple and intuitive enough for a new player to pick up and learn, but the systems they’re implemented in are complex enough to allow for nice juggle strings and pretty flashy combos. The new Break Hold and Break Blow features also add interesting and unique new elements to the gameplay that set DoA apart from other 3D fighters like Tekken and Soul Calibur.
The overall gameplay is very satisfying and rewarding to learn, and the learning of it is implemented very well in the singleplayer. This is essentially made up of a handful of different modes that are to designed to ramp up your skills enough to fight online and competitively. As far as the basic story mode, well, it seemed to be alright for what I saw of it. I didn’t play much of it because it carries over from the sequels other games in the series I’ve never played, so I didn’t get it. I do know that it does a good job of teaching you how to fight using fairly challenging AI fighters as part of the story, though! Next, you have three training modes; free training, character specific combo training and character specific combo challenges. Each of these will help you improve how you fight, namely the challenges.
Each one will teach you how to perform certain special combos or moves that’ll deepen your understanding of the different fighters’ styles and all. There’s also DOA Quest, a non-story challenge based mode that has you completing certain combo challenges or fights under special conditions in exchange for in-game currency and costume unlocks. The further you progress and the harder the challenges you beat, the skimpier/cooler the costume unlocks get, so if you really want to see Honoka fighting in ultra-jiggly-barely-there-bikinis, you gotta work for it.
The cool thing about DOA Quest to me though is how, should you happen to fail the challenge you’re attempting, an in-gam prompt will appear offering a tutorial on how to improve the combo or whatever you screwed up so that you’re better next time. Any time you’re playing singleplayer, you’re learning and improving to prepare for the multiplayer. Sadly, the multiplayer is pretty barebones. As of right now, all we have is Ranked Online play. There is more promised, namely unranked lobbies, but for now, it’s pretty light. It’s also intensely competitive, and players who wear the skimpiest costumes are respected as some of the best for the challenges they’ve endured to get them. They are to be feared and admired.
Overall, as someone who isn’t keen to the series, I would say this was a good fighter. The gameplay is unique and fun, the singleplayer does a great job of teaching new players how to fight, and in a way reminiscent of ArcSys, teach them to fight well. The multiplayer is pretty barebones, and I’m basically neutral over the story, but altogether I had a good time. Fans of other series will probably enjoy this game. I think new players will probably have fun with it for how well it teaches fighting. Either way, I’d say this series is definitely much more alive than dead.