Koei Tecmo and Team Ninja are at it again with the latest release in their popular Dead or Alive franchise with the release of Dead or Alive 6. This 3D arena brawler is possibly one of the best titles in this genre if we’re just referring to its mechanics, and I was actually considering it a possible fighting game if the year candidate for 2019, but that was before launch. It’s also the reason you’re getting this Dead or Alive 6 review later than most.
I’ve spoken about this before and I’ll reiterate for those who may have missed it. I’m not likely to publish reviews before a game is released anymore. The reason for this is due to games changing after release. Now in some ways this is of benefit to the game because some publishers may release patches to fix bugs and improve the experience, but it’s also double edge sword. Some games are actually better products before launch so reviewers will have a positive experience with them, then they show their true colours once reviewers have sang their praises. Dead or Alive 6 isn’t quite either of the two but it’s closer to the latter than it should be.
My initial reaction to the game was that of pure joy, joy from solid gameplay, magnificent visuals, and OMG the shiggle ? (clear throat). Dead or Alive 6 is a great playing game while you’re in the arena, but outside of that it struggles. Allow me to elaborate. You see it has all your standard fighting game modes, however it lacks private lobbies, because who wants to play with their friends right? So… no battles with friends just ranked battles, and you’re not guaranteed quality connections either. You can go from this…. to this in a moment, and you can’t quite either. Other than that there is also no real value to playing the story campaign, and acquiring outfits is as random and tedious as eating soup with a fork.
The story in of itself is fine. It’s motivation being another Dead or Alive tournament, and another evil organization seeking power without regard for who gets hurt in the process. It’s a story just to have a reason for the fighters to fight, and it serves that purpose well, so then what’s the problem? What’s really at fault here is the reward system. Completing the campaign only gets you titles.
There are no unlockable characters or outfits for this mode, and with it not being the deepest of plots, it leaves a bad taste upon completion. This was an issue raised in our My Hero One’s Justice review too. Stories don’t need to be deep, but the rewards for time invested needs to be worth it. The Dead or Alive games have fully embraced the every character is DLC model and its what really hurts this game. Characters can only be gained via DLC while unlocking outfits is a complicated mess all together.
The way they get us
Depending on the version of the game you purchase, you may have access to somewhere between 24 and 26 characters (Two of which are new to the series). The difference in price being $20 USD with the standard version costing $60 while the deluxe is $80. If you didn’t pre-order then you’ll only net 25 characters with the 26th serving as the game’s first dlc.
Deluxe Edition $80
- DEAD OR ALIVE 6
- Additional Character: Phase 4
- Deluxe Costume Set (25 costumes)
- Deluxe BGM (3 tracks)
Nyotengu is pre-order extortion at its finest, and thus can be purchased as separate dlc by those who avoided the pre-order bait.
So that’s a whole third of the game’s base price for 1 character, some additional outfits and BGMs?
When did games become this expensive?
When did they lose their sense of fulfillment?
Quite frankly I’m not surprised really. If you saw my piece, The Gaming Industry is Stupid and Here’s Why, then you know who’s to blame for this and it gets worst with this game. When we got the game the steam page was not yet updated to reflect the DLC for the game, but upon release all was made clear. Dead or Alive 6 has some of the most expensive DLC possible right now, and that’s for a season pass, the first season pass.
It’s a whopping $93 USD for a bunch of outfits and two characters. That’s more than the deluxe edition, and certainly more than season passes use to cost. Season passes of old use to be a means to invest in unreleased updates at a reduced cost to the consumer. The reduced cost use to be the insensitive. Devs have obviously tossed that logic out the window and have seemingly just “why the frak not” this game. Oh and people will happily purchase this and defend these ridiculous inflations. It’s basic Stockholm syndrome, but I digress. We all had an inclination this would happen, just look at the disgusting cost of DOA5’s DLC for that.
Oh and I’m not done yet with the negatives of this game. The other stuff isn’t as bad as the DLC cost, but it is annoying. Remember my mention of unlocking outfits? Well that’s problem number 2. Outfits are unlocked via playing either arcade or quests, however arcade is a complete and utter waste of time. Completing it only gets you less than 20 points towards a random outfits for one of the characters. With each outfit costing 200 plus points its not practical to play arcade for the purpose of gaining points for outfits.
The quests net you quite a lot more in the region of 200 to 400 points for a random outfit, and this is only awarded upon completing all three requirements for the quest. These can range from performing a particular move to collecting a certain amount of items during battle. Their difficult increases the more you play, and with 104 quest to complete, you’ll be here a while.
The Perfect challenge
Now don’t get me wrong I actually like the quests. They offer the perfect amount of challenge and they allow for the player to learn to play different characters they probably wouldn’t otherwise. The problem again is the reward system. You see not knowing who you’ll unlock outfit points for makes an experience that should feel rewarding feel like a chore. When you complete a difficult challenge only to get outfit points for some bloke character that you’re not interested in, it feels like a gut punch.
We all know no-one is trying to get that shirtless Ryu Hayabusa, dripping from head to toe with sweat all covered in muscles and shit… awww yes that’s right ladies and dude lovers, I see you. But seriously though it’s a uninspiring playing quest after quest and not knowing what you’ll receive. Add to that the unnecessary added step of using another currency to purchase the outfits after unlocking them, and you have a recipe for unnecessary tedium.
A love hate relationship
All that being said I actually do like the core experience of Dead or Alive 6. Mechanically it’s probably the best fighting game I’ve played since Dragon Ball FighterZ. It’s all that extra nonsense that the developers have packaged in that hurts the experience. The characters are all well balanced, combos are easily executable using Y and B along with directional inputs as well as the A button for grabs, and X for counters.
There’s also a new ability mapped to the RB by default that allows for special attacks, side stepping, counters and finishers. Special counters can block pretty much any move by uses one special bar while finishers use two. The sensation of pulling off a sweet combo with Tina by grabbing an opponent out of the air after kneeing them in the chest is exhilarating, or what about them SEXY quick blows from my boy Zach that will have your opponent confused as to if they should attempt a grab or counter.
In essence, the act of playing this game is simply fun. I had a friend mention to me that the gameplay changed a bit from 5 and that she’s gonna need to relearn this one and possibly switch her main, but change isn’t always bad. The systems at play here are solid, and if you need a refresher there’s alway the training modes. Each character has one.
Even the Dualshock 4 controller works out the box on the PC version, and the mapping mirrors that of the Xbox controller.
As for the presentation, it looks stunning, even on lower setting. Character models all look like beautiful mannequin people’s we’d all like to smash, and don’t you deny it Stephanie, Marie, Shaun, Estaban I heard your drooling from the past via the power of p-life kinship. Yes that’s a thing now. As mentioned before there is lots of shiggle action to appease your desires, and with the visual prowess on display you wouldn’t be faulted for just putting the game in free training mode and just enjoying them idle animations. If that’s not enough for you then worry not. It also has a preview mode with an added photo mode for good measure.
The stages themselves are just as beautiful as the character models and there’s a lot of variety among them. The stages also have stellar environmental dangers, and multiple areas. You’re even able to choose the area you wish to begin in when selecting a stage.
It’s all about them options
We also get multiple quality of life options like no sweat, less violence, and all that other boring jazz that parents may consider adjusting if they’re playing with their little ones. The voices can also be changed from English to Japanese, and highly recommend doing so because the lip syncing is dedicated to the Japanese audio. Multiple subtitles means no matter the audio option in use players should be able to understand the dialogue.
As for performance, a friend on steam did mention that she had technical issues when attempting to play the game on her rig, but for me it ran smoothly. This is a bit weird because she has better specs than me, yet she claimed her copy ran poorly. As for me I couldn’t get the actual frame rate for the game on my system, but I assume it ran somewhere between 40 and 60fps on my review setup.
Dead or Alive 6 almost got the seal of approval thanks to its wonderful gameplay, visuals, and shiggle appreciation, but thanks to greed on the part of the developer and publisher it garners an approach with caution status. If you’re not susceptible to chronic must-have-ism and just want a solid single or local multiplayer fighter then grab this without worry. It’s fun, runs well and looks fantastic. Everyone else should use caution with this title. Given Koei Tecmo’s track record its unlikely to receive any valid enough discount, and purchasing any of that overpriced DLC sets a bad precedent.
The copy of Dead or Alive 6 used for this review was provided to us by its publisher Koei Tecmo.