Dead or Alive 6

Can Team Ninja’s beau­ti­ful bruiser K.O. the co mpe­ti­tion?

XBox: The Official Magazine - - CONTENTS - Chris Burke

The Dead Or Alive fran­chise has al­ways felt like one of ‘ours’, since the third in the se­ries was an Xbox launch ex­clu­sive in 2001. Some slightly du­bi­ous spin-offs in­volv­ing the se­ries’ fe­males play­ing vol­ley­ball in bikinis aside, DOA has con­tin­ued to im­press, with DOA5: Last Round rep­re­sent­ing the pin­na­cle on Xbox One. So as far as we were con­cerned, Team Ninja didn’t have to do much to nail it for DOA6 – ex­cept maybe fo­cus more on the fight­ing it­self than mak­ing ever-more re­veal­ing cos­tumes for its fe­male fight­ers.

Let’s first ad­dress that most con­tro­ver­sial and di­vi­sive as­pect of the games, then - the boob physics. Team Ninja had claimed that the sex­u­al­i­sa­tion of its fe­male fight­ers would be toned down for DOA6, with those re­veal­ing cos­tumes made more prac­ti­cal for fight­ing. And they are, to a point. The jig­gle is still there, but can be turned off in set­tings, as can the level of dirt, sweat and vi­o­lence. All of this in an at­tempt to get the fran­chise taken more se­ri­ously – and it should be, be­cause Dead Or Alive 6 is a very good fight­ing game in­deed.

Alive and un­leashed

Vis­ually, Dead Or Alive 6 is right up there with the best look­ing games on Xbox One. The fight­ers, fe­male and male are truly beau­ti­ful, the sweat, dirt, skin, eyes, hair and glis­ten­ing chests (oh be­have, we were talk­ing about the men) and cos­tumes are all sump­tu­ously de­tailed, par­tic­u­larly out­stand­ing in 4K on Xbox One X. But be­hind all this eye-candy is a su­pe­rior fighter, that packs all the punch of the se­ries to date.

If you’re new to the se­ries, you won’t find any of the grav­ity-de­fy­ing fan­tasy kung-fu or mag­i­cal moves of other fight­ing games. Dead Or Alive’s moves are based on real fight­ing tech­niques; each char­ac­ter has a unique move set based on var­i­ous mar­tial arts. There are pro wrestlers, MMA fight­ers, and prac­ti­tion­ers of var­i­ous forms of nin­jutsu, taek­wondo, karate, lucha li­bre, karate… new fighter Diego has his own street style, while ‘drunken mas­ter’ Brad Wong re­turns to flop on you like a pissed-up aun­tie at a fam­ily party. Each of the main but­tons are mapped to punch, kick, throw and block, com­bin­ing each with stick-di­rec­tion as ap­pro­pri­ate will land some ac­cu­rate hits, block or hold your op­po­nents, while some of the com­bos that can be achieved make for some fluid and ex­pert play.

Yes, you can but­ton-mash your way through fights – this is still an ar­cade fighter, de­spite po­ten­tial for more com­plex com­bos. You can also get caught on the wrong end of a re­lent­less chain of seem­ingly un­block­able moves. This ‘Crit­i­cal Stun’ can be ex­tended, time-wise, by fol­low­ing up with an­other Stun move, so time it right and you can chain to­gether some dev­as­tat­ing blows that will be near (though def­i­nitely not) im­pos­si­ble to block.

Fill up your Break Gauge bar and you can un­leash ei­ther a Fa­tal Rush by spam­ming RB un­til you cause a Fa­tal

Stun (not ac­tu­ally a fa­tal­ity, it ren­ders your op­po­nent out of it for a fol­low-up at­tack) or save it up for a su­per-move called a Break Blow, com­plete with face-mash­ing an­i­ma­tion.

With prac­tice, all moves, even the Break Blow can be re­versed. It’s al­ways been the game’s strong­est suit, the abil­ity to counter ef­fec­tively, re­sult­ing in more strate­gic fights as the win­dow for re­vers­ing moves is gen­er­ous enough to al­low you to do more than just mash away, while side-step­ping and mov­ing around your op­po­nent to move in again with a well timed at­tack. There is enough com­plex­ity and depth to re­ally dig into the move-sets and learn the styles, and be­ing able to pull off a wider range of moves means that each fight feels dif­fer­ent, the ebb and flow of the ac­tion chang­ing ev­ery time.

Sin­gle life

On­line or off­line Ver­sus matches is stan­dard for a fighter of course, but where DOA6 re­ally im­presses is in its depth of con­tent for solo play. Dead Or Alive‘ s cre­ators al­ways de­signed the games to be sin­gle-player, rather than mul­ti­player first with a tacked on story, and 6 has a sat­is­fy­ingly chunky story mode that al­lows you to play dif­fer­ent char­ac­ters’ story arcs, with chap­ters for each char­ac­ter un­lock­ing as you progress in ‘story time’. Yes, it all ends up at a tour­na­ment, no it doesn’t make much sense, and ev­ery sin­gle en­counter be­tween char­ac­ters ends up with them fight­ing… but it’s great.

There’s an ad­di­tional RPG el­e­ment of build­ing up fight­ers the more you play with them, whether in Ar­cade, Ver­sus, Time At­tack or Sur­vival modes. The most wel­come ad­di­tion are the DOA Quest fights, with three ‘medals’ to be won for spe­cific ac­tions or moves pulled off dur­ing the fight. Com­plet­ing these will grant you in-game money and ‘pat­terns’ - parts of un­lock­able cos­tumes. In­tu­itive and use­ful train­ing modes and tu­to­ri­als will re­ally help you nail those fight­ing skills too.

If there’s one crit­i­cism of the game it’s that tech­ni­cally it sim­ply doesn’t feel like a step up from DOA5: Last Round; but even at the Xbox’s launch, DOA3 was crit­i­cised for not be­ing dif­fer­ent enough from DOA2. Still, when a game works so well – and it re­ally does – why rein­vent the wheel?

“Each fight feels dif­fer­ent, the ebb and flow of the ac­tion chang­ing ev­ery time”

Left Ninja turned bad Raidou re­turns, shiny and new, and just as badass.

right Lost Par­adise is in no way like Juras­sic Park, no, not at all.

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