Review

Dead Or Alive 6 Review - Combat Ready

  • First Released Mar 1, 2019
    released
  • PS4

Combat isn't pretty... except when it is.

In the cutthroat world of fighting games, Dead or Alive has consistently proven that it's a solid contender. From its arcade debut in 1996, the series has made a name for itself with striking visuals, fun and memorable characters, and engaging fighting action, carrying the series along through some of the genre's darkest days. Now, Dead or Alive finds itself in one of the most crowded markets the genre has ever seen. Dead or Alive 6 still has the chops to stand out after all this time--though it does slightly stumble along the way.

When you first boot up Dead or Alive 6, you're greeted by a close-up of one of the game's many characters, staring you straight in the face as you navigate through the initial set of menus. It's an early glimpse at DoA6's graphical prowess, as you get to see one of the cast members before they step into the ring and turn into a bruised and battered brawler. The way the fighters themselves sustain visual damage during a fight is quite impressive. There's dirt, torn clothing, and flying sweat--even some of the heavier hits leave a little bit of blood, transforming every match into a fierce brawl. Thankfully, if you find these effects distasteful or distracting, there's also the option to turn them off. Combined with the flashy character costumes and colorful, elaborate arenas, DoA6 is a game with a distinct visual flair.

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But the game's appeal is more than surface-level. DoA6 delivers solid, satisfying combat with its own twists. New to the franchise is a Break Gauge that fills as you deal or receive damage with your blows--a mechanic that's been seen in many other fighting games. There are a few things you can do with this shiny new gauge, thanks to a newly added "special" button that puts it to use: An offensive sidestep into an attack by pressing up or down in tandem with the special button, do a "Break Hold" universal hold counterattack by pressing back and the special button. Finally, you can execute a powerful "Break Blow" by either pressing towards the opponent and the special, or automatically at the end of a four-hit special button auto-combo, assuming the Break Gauge is full. These Break Blows are incredibly flashy, packing a serious punch both in lifebar and visual damage to the opponent. It's hard not to feel a bit demoralized when you're watching your fighter get physically wrecked by a secret ninja skill or a fist to an extremely vulnerable face--but it's super rewarding to push that same humiliation onto your foe.

The Break Gauge is a great addition to the game, as it's easy to understand and doesn't require a lot of execution beyond knowing when to use each special technique. All of these techniques are useful; the sidestep attacks can screw up somebody fishing for you to mess up a hold counter, the Break Hold can take some of the guesswork out of hold counters (and counter an opponent's Break Blow), and Break Blows just look cool and satisfying as hell… well, provided you can land them.

But the Break Blows aren't the only flashy thing about DoA6's combat. The series is known for having some pretty wild combat arenas, and DoA6's lush battlefields might be some of the craziest yet. They include a dilapidated theme park overrun by dinosaurs, a moss-encrusted battleship being assaulted by an angry kraken, and a multi-car pile-up with some very volatile vehicles that might go kaboom when someone touches them. These stages are littered with specific danger zones that both play an amusing cinematic and deal extra combat damage to an enemy when you send them flying into one with a well-placed blow. In some cases, you can even pull off unique combos with the aid of danger zones; the aforementioned dinosaur stage features an angry pterodactyl mama who will hoist a fighter into the air before dropping them again, setting them up for a big juggle combo. Alas, while the really nutty stages are quite memorable, most are a lot more sedate, and the stage selection as a whole feels somewhat lacking.

DoA6 also offers plenty of minor tweaks to the moment-to-moment gameplay, and options to make the game more beginner-friendly (such as simplifying the game's hold counterattack system inputs), but the most important thing is that the fighting just feels good. The rock-paper-scissors element of the holds-throws-attacks balance works nicely into gameplay with smooth animation that feeds into a seamless flow of combat. Every character offers something unique in terms of their fighting style, but once you have the basics down, it's not too hard to learn another character if you're not feeling who you're currently playing with. And while I'm not terribly fond of the designs of the two new characters (street brawler Diego is terribly generic, and blue-haired anime teen scientist NiCO looks like she belongs in a different game entirely), they both bring something new to the table in terms of their combat abilities.

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Where DoA6 falters, however, is in its single-player content. Story Mode isn't too bad; the cinematics mostly use the in-game graphics engine, further showcasing DoA6's strong visuals, and the game wisely has an optional tutorial feature that teaches you basic strings for each character you'll assume control of so you're not thrust into blind combat. However, the weird multi-timeline presentation is a mess both in terms of interface and storytelling, leading to a confusing series of events that oscillates wildly between serious drama and goofy comedy.

Then there's the other big single-player mode, DOA Quest: a series of themed battles that offer in-game rewards, like parts for new character costumes and in-game money used to purchase and view extra story content. By completing sub-objectives in these battles-- like landing a specific attack a certain number of times or beating a quest within a time limit--you earn additional rewards and unlock more quests to attempt.

DoA6 also offers plenty of minor tweaks to the moment-to-moment gameplay, and options to make the game more beginner-friendly, but the most important thing is that the fighting just feels good.

DOA Quest isn't a bad idea on its own, but the game's grindy, frustrating unlock system turns a fine little challenge mode into an absolute chore. The main thing you'll want to use DOA Quest (and other single-player modes like Arcade Mode) for is unlocking character costumes and customization options, of which there are many. However, you'll soon discover that when you earn points that go towards unlocking new outfits, you have absolutely no say in where they will go. You could earn 300 costume points in a quest featuring Zack, for example, and those points you earn would go towards unlocking a random costume for Hayabusa instead--meaning you invested time and effort to earn partial rewards for a character you potentially don't care about. This happens a lot. To add insult to injury, even when you do get enough points to open up a costume for a character, you still have to pay earned in-game money to actually buy and wear it. It's an extremely ill-thought-out grind that sucks all of the reward out of playing single-player.

Provided you're not absolutely attached to using a specific customization in battle, versus play against another human is far more satisfying than the neverending solo grind. Local versus mode works just fine, but most people will probably gravitate towards online play. While there aren't many options for online head-to-head--just Ranked and the promise of a future Lobby mode--what is there works well, and given a good connection, online play feels smooth and enjoyable. One particularly brilliant feature is the ability to see if your potential online match is using a wi-fi or a wired connection. It lets you avoid a lot of potential lag-spike headaches, as wired connections are ideal for head-to-head fighting games like this.

Despite some missteps, DoA6 is a fun, engaging fighter with great-feeling, easy-to-pick-up combat, a strong sense of visual style, and a lot of personality. If you're looking for a new fighting game to learn the ins and outs of--or perhaps a nice entry into the 3D side of fighting games--DoA6 is a fighter of choice.

Back To Top
The Good
Strong visuals and detail make the game stand out graphically
The Break Gauge system is a smart addition that adds depth and flair to combat
A fun, varied cast with flashy fighting styles
Some of the new stages are an absolute blast to battle on
The Bad
The new characters are rather bland, design-wise
Story Mode's presentation is messy
Not enough of those cool, crazy battle arenas
The unlock system makes no sense and feels like a demoralizing grind
7
Good
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Heidi's more of a Virtua Fighter person, but she's been playing 3D fighting games for about 25 years now and remembers back when the first Dead or Alive released. She's hoping more guest characters appear in DoA6. She played 18 hours on PS4. Review code was provided by the publisher.
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Avatar image for izraal
Izraal

At which "purchase tier" can you play through the basic single player story mode? I like that more fighting games have been following the formula of including a single "campaign" much like a single player game, seemingly following the pattern set by recent Mortal Kombat games. Street Fighter 5, Injustice, Marvel vs Capcom 4, etc., are games I haven't had any desire to play competitively but the story modes were fun experiences. For Tekken 7, I enjoyed both the campaign and dabbled in online competitive play. As I'm more of a casual DOA fan, I'd more likely just play the campaign, but it's very unclear which purchase tier includes the campaign mode.

Avatar image for woodyparker
WoodyParker

Somehow the graphic to me is a bit pain in the ass - a little bit similar to Dead or Alive 5. Or is the trailer blurred itself?

Avatar image for YukoAsho
YukoAsho

Holy shit, it's a review on the game that actually REVIEWS THE GAME!

I love you, GameSpot!

Avatar image for Dragon_Nexus
Dragon_Nexus

The unlock system makes perfect sense.

Create a frustrating, tedious, meaningless grind that rewards you with one random skin for a random character so that people will instead choose to skip it by paying $93 for the season pass.

Avatar image for gamingdevil800
gamingdevil800

@Dragon_Nexus: Yeah might be better off waiting for DOA6 Ultimate or DOA6 Last Round which will probably be out on next gen consoles.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

The game has a $90 season pass. It should be capped at 5/10 score as a result.

Avatar image for PrpleTrtleBuBum
PrpleTrtleBuBum

@Thanatos2k: The season passless DOAs have about 20 unlockable outfits. This has hundreds.

I really don't get the complaints in cases like these because it's clear the developers wouldn't spend time creating hundreds of tiny extra items for no extra profit. Yes it's insane that the full DOA5 experience costs like thousand dollars when 95% of it is costumes, but those costumes just wouldn't exist if the game only cost 60. And those costumes really do nothing, a random person doesn't notice one random outfit missing so it's not like not buying Season pass leaves your experience incomplete.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@PrpleTrtleBuBum: If costumes are worthless, why are they charging a thousand dollars for them?

If costumes are things no one cares about, why are they charging for them? Why would a company make a product they don't want people to buy?

Avatar image for PrpleTrtleBuBum
PrpleTrtleBuBum

@Thanatos2k: Many people buy them.

Point is that the extra costumes are in no way central to experience like cut cliffhanger story bits or actual levels in a 4 hour game. And if they didn't get money for the costumes, each character would have a maximum of three or four because they'd have zero motivation to create more. DOA2/3/4 had max 4 outfits per character, without DLC support. DOA5 had like 30 outfits per character, about those same 4 unlockable for free and the others as DLC.

To me these costumes are just their way of "If you want to give us more money for our good product, buy these trinkets". Especially when all the original, cool costumes are the default costumes. It's not like someone can say "I'm forced to play as shitty looking Batman unless I pay for a DLC costume"

Sure it would be nice to have a million modes and characters and outfits all in the game for $30, but this literally is the non-intrusivest way for a game to make extra money. There's a solid fighting game under and if you want a couple of extra outfits you can throw in a few bucks. The intention of getting every outfit sounds to me like going to H&M and wanting to buy every single piece of clothing just because they exist. I love collecting in games, but there is collecting and then there's "collecting".

The one problem I might have with the system is that people pay money for DOA5 outfits and when in near-future DOA5 servers go down, people probably are forced to buy the same exact costumes again. But that comes with "if"

Avatar image for Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@PrpleTrtleBuBum: Or they could be unlocked through gameplay like in a non-greedy game made by a moral developer. If developers can't scam their customers, they lose motivation in creating game content? That's pathetic.

Avatar image for PrpleTrtleBuBum
PrpleTrtleBuBum

@Thanatos2k: You clearly don't want to see the difference between 4*20 and 15+*20. There are about 5 costumes plus colors to unlock and then there's the DLC extra so they go beyond what they did before even with the free content. Fine. But I gladly buy the base game like this and then fork some extra money if there will be a costume that looks better than all the free variants and I plan on using it.

To me it's a ridiculous complaint when there are fighter games with no survival mode or no time attack mode or no story mode or no local multiplayer or no unlocks besides 10 pieces of concept art or no other actual features. Where should those games be capped? At 3/10, and that's even if the game has no season pass or micros whatsoever.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@PrpleTrtleBuBum: You're trying to argue the costumes are so insignificant and worth little, yet they are being charged ridiculous amounts for compared to the price of the actual game.

Your defense of these ludicrous microtransactions never amounted to anything.

Avatar image for YukoAsho
YukoAsho

@Thanatos2k: Why?

It's all for additional content, there still seems to be plenty for unlocking (even if it wasn't as well-thought as we'd like), and it'll likely be available individually sooner than later, if DOA5 Last Round's DLC is anything to go by.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@YukoAsho: It's not additional content, it's clearly content cut from the game to be sold back. Such incomplete games deserve to have their scores incomplete.

Avatar image for johnny0779
johnny0779

While it retains its fast fighting mechanics, everything else falls apart.....from grind-fest unlockables, to the plastic looking faces covered in excessive sweat and lip gloss all the way down to a $100.00 season pass that unlocks just 2 additional characters and virtual clothing....no thank you.

Avatar image for farahcitra
farahcitra

Nice

Avatar image for Dragerdeifrit
Dragerdeifrit

Getting it after a price cut or a "complete edition". As much as me and my friends love the fan service of DoA, it's very hard for me to justify paying full price for a fightning game, let alone convincing my friends to do so. :( Also, the online of these kind of niche games are filled with pseudo-esport players that will just obliterate the hell out of you. XD

Avatar image for zmanbarzel
ZmanBarzel

This looks good, but as a "not too into fighting games" person, I can wait for a price cut or two. It's not as if giving other players a head start in practice with it will make me any less bad.

Avatar image for girlusocrazy
GirlUSoCrazy

Need new Virtua Fighter

Avatar image for Devils-DIVISION
Devils-DIVISION

As much as I would like to play these types of games again, I think I have just outgrown 'em. Unfortunately for me, some of the other ones look quite good, with decent stories and whatnot.

Unrelated, however right now I am smashing it through Stellaris, with more hours put in it than I dare to actually realise. Point is, it's interesting where gaming takes you and what you leave behind. I have sadly left more than what I actually have left to play nowadays.

Avatar image for Yams1980
Yams1980

looks like DOA5 except they renamed it as DOA6 so they could resell all the same DLC costumes to the same fools all over again.

Avatar image for artillery77
artillery77

My favorite fighting series ruined! Everything and I mean everything is locked. Can't proceed in story mode. need some kind of star to proceed in story mode it tells me. Only place to get a star is quest mode. Have tons still can't proceed. played 5 hours zero extra characters unlocked. this game is garbage! All but 4 characters are locked to. And I have zero clue how to unlock them. No hint or clue either. These morons have lost there minds. Only fighting game I still bought these days. Promise you that's over. Not to mention the 93 dollar season pass. Greed has clearly murdered this franchise. I'm beyond pissed!!

Avatar image for gamingdevil800
gamingdevil800

@artillery77: What are you on about? I played the whole story mode without doing the quest thing. All the chapters unlock by doing other specific story chapters.

Avatar image for dynamotnt
dynamotnt

@artillery77: but, does it still have flappy bappies? bouncing puppies?

Avatar image for Devils-DIVISION
Devils-DIVISION

@artillery77:

93 what?!?

Avatar image for Jag-T1000
Jag-T1000

Arcade mode has no boss and no endings.

Im not buying this game. I don't do alot of online fighting.

Avatar image for lembu90
Lembu90

I'll pick Honoka over that Miku ripoff.

Avatar image for Dragerdeifrit
Dragerdeifrit

@lembu90: Amen brotha, Honoka ftw

Avatar image for martintule24
martintule24

I love how you can see the opponents internet connection and decline all the wifi warriors out there.

Avatar image for lion2447
lion2447

"... you have absolutely no say in where they [The points] will go."

These type of systems are why I no longer pre-order games or even buy them on release day. This system artifically makes a game longer without making it more fun. It does not improve the player experience at all.

I'm playing the matches because they are fun, but adding a random layer vs playing toward a specific item/goal takes away the enjoyment the game is supposed to provide. The grinding instead feels fustrating versus rewarding.

Avatar image for vgmkyle
vgmkyle

So the game falters because of single player content, something that is just supposed to be a mere distraction to the fighting. Dead or Alive 5 and all three iterations suffered from reviews for years for journalists that barely played the game -- but it didn't matter because it lasted 7 years at tournaments.

The ones reviewing this game, and given free copies should be the gamers that play it and actually know what they are talking about. Gamespot's review gives you the idea that this person has not been playing fighting games for no 25 years, and if you gave them a controller and watched them play; or even looked at their gameplay on their lazy Youtube channel-- you can tell they don't know what they hell they are doing.

They press the S button over and over again because they can't find anytime to do anything else. Basically: Critics suck at games and they get paid to put a stamp on ones they can't play. How does that make sense?

If you want to review an esport title, be an esport player that sees more than casual single player content and doesn't make any mention of the superb animation.

Avatar image for girlusocrazy
GirlUSoCrazy

@vgmkyle: Single player content does a lot to get people interested in the first place. It brings more casuals as well which could create some new hard core fans but also guarantees more sales and greater popularity. Even if all those casuals don't end up going to the tournament, it's sales that help pitch and fund the next game.

Avatar image for Zero-chan
Zero-chan

@vgmkyle FT10 on Fighting Vipers 2 at EVO let's do this

Avatar image for proceeder
proceeder

100$ DLC, only for season one?!

It's hard to imagine this is the same company that published NioH!

Avatar image for YukoAsho
YukoAsho

@proceeder: It's all costumes. I think there's two characters in there, but they'll almost certainly be available individually.

Really, it's quite overblown, especially considering DOA5's approach to more costumes was similar.

Avatar image for proceeder
proceeder

@YukoAsho: It was as disgraceful then as it is now.

I don't think people said that was ok either.

Forget people! I know it's not ok!

How many hours has an animator and artist put in designing each costume? How many $/hr should they be paid?

This is ludicrous!

Avatar image for Yams1980
Yams1980

hah, and by the end of this games run, i would imagine the total cost would be easily over 1000+ USD for all the garbage they are going to sell.

Avatar image for johnny0779
johnny0779

DoA 6 in a nutshell:

While it retains its user friendly gameplay, the continuation of its nonsensical story and the characters' plastic looking faces with excessive sweat and lip gloss are not giving it any favors.

And while you may say "people don't play fighting games cuz of their story" Netherealm Studios might want to tell you something about that statement.

Avatar image for girlusocrazy
GirlUSoCrazy

@johnny0779: If anything it needs more sweat. Mortal Kombat on SNES levels of sweat.

Avatar image for vgmkyle
vgmkyle

@johnny0779:

The real beauty of DOA comes from the matches the community will have at big events at CEO when the professionals bring the characters and stages to life. A Gamespot critic that's claimed to play fighting games (obviously like a casual for 25 years) can't do that.

I play DOA and enjoy the story. It takes care of more topical life issues than Injustice which comes off as a clunky blockbuster you wouldn't pay to see in the Summer. DOAs story as a whole dumps on injustice.

Avatar image for pongman1975
Pongman1975

WHY do you give a score to an incomplete review? Just review the damn game then post your opinion of it.

"Strong visuals and detail make the game stand out graphically"

"The new characters are rather bland, design-wise"

WTF

Avatar image for Mogan
Mogan

@pongman1975: They do reviews in progress because the game is for sale now, and folks might like some information to help them determine whether they want to buy it or not.

Avatar image for death_burnout
death_burnout

@pongman1975: graphical fidelity and character design aren’t the same thing, buddy.

Avatar image for pongman1975
Pongman1975

@death_burnout: not really, either it looks good or it doesnt. The problem is we are picking these games apart and its just stupid.

Avatar image for proceeder
proceeder

@pongman1975: Play the game...it'd make sense.

;)

Avatar image for pongman1975
Pongman1975

@proceeder: I wont be playing this lol. If youve played one, youve played em all.

:(

Avatar image for Xristophoros
Xristophoros

b tier fighting franchise -- always will be. $100 season pass for skins that should be unlockable in the base game. expect dlc to rise to $1000 worth of skins over the next couple of years, just like doa 5. this is worse than anything ea has done. tecmo koei is a disgusting company.

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Dead or Alive 6 More Info

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  • First Released Mar 1, 2019
    released
    • Arcade Games
    • PC
    • + 2 more
    • PlayStation 4
    • Xbox One
    6
    Average Rating15 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Dead or Alive 6
    Developed by:
    Team Ninja
    Published by:
    Koei Tecmo Games
    Genre(s):
    3D, Action, Fighting
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Mature
    Blood, Language, Sexual Themes, Violence