Dead or Alive 6 Review – More Than Meets the Eye

Dead or Alive 6
Team Ninja

Fighting games haven’t evolved much over the last few decades. Some of the 90’s most promising games, such as the Bushido Blade and Tobal series—which offered totally unique fighting mechanics—fell by the wayside long ago. Meanwhile, soon to be stalwarts of the fighting game industry, namely Street Fighter and Tekken, captured the attention of fighter enthusiasts in droves.

The first Dead or Alive, meanwhile, debuted a couple of years after those two juggernauts, and garnered its own share of admiration from the fighting flock. DOA set itself apart by having a simpler control scheme and being more accessible overall than most 3D fighting games.

What many gamers liked about DOA is that many of the female characters had jiggly lady parts, especially boobage. It also had some super-cool stage elements that your characters could interact with, such as knocking your foes through walls, over ledges, and even through floors.

These days, only three fighting game franchises have emerged from the dust: Street Fighter, Tekken, and most recently Dead or Alive. Many people thought that 2012’s Dead or Alive 5 would be the last DOA game to be made by Team Ninja. However, while the most recent iterations of Street Fighter and Tekken have been tearing it up on the esports scene, Team Ninja surprised everyone by finally releasing Dead or Alive 6 into the fray.

Dead or Alive 6 is the first game in the series to enter into the esports scene, and after playing it, I’m looking forward to seeing it succeed, as well as watching some highly contentious tournaments. One of the main things that I liked about Dead or Alive 6 right away is that Team Ninja didn’t bow or kowtow to today’s rampant politically correct thought police—all of the jiggling lady parts are still in the game, in spite of the apparent need by some folks (who aren’t even gamers by the way) to preach to others about how they should behave and what they deem as “appropriate.”

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Meanwhile, Dead or Alive 6’s fighting system has been refined to the point of perfection. Character’s moves are wicked-fast and fluid, and so even mashing buttons randomly will usually result in highly-kinetic combos being meted out. However, delving deeper into their move sets will make you realize that there is also a lot under the hood of this modern fighter.

The rather simple control layout offers many variations of your typical punch, kick, throw, and counter. Knees, elbows, vicious reversals and devastating grappling techniques are all possibilities depending on what inputs you utilize. And unlike Tekken 7, which is basically a 2.5D fighter that has lost much in terms of how agile its characters can move around its stages, in Dead or Alive 6 there are easy commands that allow for your fighter to pivot, leap, or roll in the third dimension.

All of these factors result in matches that resemble great martial arts movies that I’ve seen, instead of a game; as fighters duck, leap, counter, grapple, and generally move with stunningly smooth animations and free-flowing fluidity.

As with all modern fighting games, sadly there is no replay feature, so you can’t watch the last few seconds of a climactic finishing move or combo. I guess developers have given in to the seemingly ADD-afflicted masses who want constant action. However, after digging around I found out that Dead or Alive 6 sports a full-on fight recorder studio, so you can save and watch particularly fun matches over and over again and even take pictures after freezing the action.

And finally: Dead or Alive 6 has an intricate damage system in place. Why other fighting games don’t have any sort of damage modeling included, where their characters endure wear and tear as fights progress is beyond me. In this game, you’ll see cuts and bruises on fighters depending on where they’ve taken damage. Seeing realistic sweat and dirt caking their skin and outfits further enhances the action, and there is even a way that you can rip pieces of clothes off here and there after particularly powerful blows land.

I was also surprised to see that Dead or Alive 6 has a new energy meter right beneath each character’s life bar. This meter represents the game’s new Fatal Rush system. This entails waiting until your meter fills up and then pushing your Power button at the right time—resulting in either a super-sweet counterattack, or a devastating thrusting attack that knocks your opponent across the screen.

The game’s various stages compliment the wide variety of characters on offer. Each stage has a fun (and often over the top) theme that serves as a beautiful and engaging backdrop for all of the violent fisticuffs going down.

Not only can you knock your opponents through barriers and over ledges, but there are also dangerous hazards such as exploding barrels and electrified fences. Lastly, in a unique twist, there are even stages where you can knock your foes into jeering crowds—only to have these bloodthirsty onlookers push them back into the fight.

Dead or Alive 6 is a rock-solid 3D fighting game that is clearly the best iteration of the series. It’s a deceptively deep game that is perfectly suited for newcomers to fighting games, as well as crafty veterans who enjoy learning each character’s complex move sets. Give it a try and see for yourself—it’s one of the best fighters out there.

SCORE: 86%

Dead or Alive 6 features great graphics that make its fighting gameplay truly shine. However, you’ll want to have a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:

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