Monday 29 April 2019

Dead or Alive 6 ★★★☆☆

I’ve never been one to take sides and call out one beat ‘em up over another, I just like fighting games and play as many of them as possible. I find they all have particular things they do better or worse than their rivals. Mortal Kombat has its brutal violence. Tekken has punishing juggles and arcade-perfect gameplay. Virtua Fighter pretends to be good, but really it’s just floaty and slow and hasn’t shown its head in 15 years. Street Fighter has fans with lightning hands, for the lengthy combo chains required to win at high-level play and Dead or Alive has boo... Multi-tiered and highly interactive level design and a counter system that’s hard to master but will help you win against even the best of players.

Sadly DoA6, like every game just mentioned, is a slight victim to the DLC plague with two of the characters locked off behind various pre-order bonuses and paywalls. All other current DLC is purely cosmetic, just character costumes, so I can happily ignore that. The game itself includes a bunch of costumes for each character to unlock in-game but doing so was a complete ballache until a recent patched helped speed that process up. So yay for patches. 

Most of the modes you’d expect to be here make an appearance with some bizarre exceptions for the series. Story Mode will take you about two hours to play through as each new segment unlocks and plays out in some Tarantino-esque, out of sequence, haphazardly told a bunch of events. Quest Mode is a set of quick challenges and objectives propositioned by the new character and crazy scientist, Nico, trying to collect information on all the fighters. These require you to finish fights meeting certain criteria and simultaneously teach gameplay elements and strategies. Arcade, survival and time attack are pretty self-explanatory. 

Training mode is really in depth, to the point of I don't understand half of the info it's possible to display on screen. You’re given frame analysis for attacks and reactions in real time, this will be really helpful to those that know how to use it correctly. Taking us to Online mode, which as of right now is Ranked Matches only. Having no lobby so I can fight against my friends is my main big complaint about the game. I don’t think any other fight has launched without this ability - just one missing an arcade mode...  *cough* Street Fighter 5 *cough* - The lobby system is supposedly coming later in March but why it was missing in the first place is anyone's guess and only goes to hurting the game’s launch. The next glaring omission is the lack of Tag Battles, which have been a series staple since DoA2.

Dead or Alive 6 sees 27 fighters enter the tournament. Two of which are the previously mentioned DLC characters, two new faces and twenty-three of which are returning characters. The new updated character models are definitely a step up from their last outing, 7 years ago. The dirt and damage modelling has also been improved with clothes getting shredded and torn as the fight draws out. Most of the gameplay is predominantly the same but with the inclusion of this gen's favourite fighting game mechanic, the special meter, allowing for some powerful finishers or some interrupting counter moves, to change the tide of the battle.

As aforementioned, the level designs of Dead or Alive are what make this game stand out from its competitors. Most stages contain many hazards and destructible elements to smash your opponent into, though or off of. A few of the new levels have bystanders stood watching as you kick the crap out of each other and will throw you back into the fight if you get too close to them. That said, many of the DoA6 stages feel less inspired and not quite as many multi-tiered as previous entries in the series, some are straight up lifted from previous games with a few new additions and hazards added. I’m yet to find a level with seemingly endless cliffs to punch someone off or a multi-walled dojo to keep kicking someone though; until you eventually go through the buildings exterior and land in the courtyard below.

I hope DoA6 can fix its few issues, as I do really enjoy the games combat mechanics, I don’t hold out much hope for a Tag Mode but an online lobby will help with the games acceptability to the masses quite a bit. Add an extra point to the score once the lobby is in there.

Bry Wyatt

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