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Dead or Alive 6 Review: Wibble Wobble

After a lengthy hiatus exploring the realms of Volley Ball and the like, ‘Team Ninja’ is back with their legacy fighter IP ‘Dead or Alive’ in ‘DOA 6’. Before we start: Yes, wobble physics are in full swing along with a sweat setting too. Moving swiftly on…
DOA 6 doesn’t really bring anything new to the franchise, which isn’t a negative statement as the formula for DOA titles is pretty sound as far as the fighting genre is concerned. Players are greeted to an instant training mode which is a massive positive for a series so long in the tooth. To complement the history of DOA, a library section is available to players to unlock reports which fill in the gaps re DOATECH and the like.

Performance, Graphics or Sweat?

When playing on Xbox one X, players can choose to prioritise performance or graphical fidelity. As standard, players experience the performance option which delivers smooth frame rates and a presentation that’s fit for any level of tournaments.

The graphics prioritisation however really lets DOA 6 down with sluggish frame rates throughout. This is especially disappointing when experiencing the game on the ‘Worlds most powerful console’. The trend of developers overcompensating for this generations hardware is wearing a little thin for this reviewer, wishing that studios like Team Ninja would put more into optimisation rather than throwing in graphical prioritisation that simply doesn’t run effectively or hasn’t been tweaked to fit the bill on a given platform.
With that being said, everything pops and looks great in performance mode. Stages have high res textures whilst also including breakables, damaging objects such as weak walls or electric fences and certain set pieces that transport players to another level of the stage entirely.

Stages of Degregation

Character models are also well presented with brilliant animations to suit the characters fighting style. Skin textures whilst detailed are ever so slightly stylised to match the anime feel for the series, whilst hair and clothing physics (and yes, boobies too) react well during bouts.

The fighting system comprises of Kicks, Punches, holds and various combinations of the three. S moves are a great way to get out of any tight spot whilst providing an easily accessible vessel for characters special move, just tap LB and away you go. LT Provides a combination of kick and punches whilst RT provides a combo including the hold button, old school players may opt for double pressing buttons once they rekindle their deeply embedded muscle memory.
1P options come in the predictable flavours of Arcade, Timed and Survival combos with a levelling up mechanic to boot. As players level up they will acquire gold and unlock cosmetics in the name of extra content, but ultimately DOA 6 doesn’t really offer much in this department bar the latter. Although gold can be used to buy rarer cosmetics and lore, which is a nice touch.

Online Multifailure

Multiplayer options include ranked online matches and the all-important VS mode for some competitive couch play. With DOA 6 being so accessible, players will find that bringing friends and family into the fray is an enjoyable and challenging affair. It’s nice to see this kind of accessibility with the DOA franchise with other fighters such as ‘BlazBlue’ holding the belt for hardest fighting mechanics to master.

The online experience of DOA 6 isn’t without fault, with matchmaking constantly hooking players up with opponents with unequal connection strengths. The majority of my time online was spent waiting for the game to catch up with my commands. On a side note, I was playing online using a 20/MBs Wifi connection with the added bonus of a signal booster to rule out any lag and ping issues.

Air Guitar to the Max

The online side of DOA 6 is the real kicker here, as this is normally a fighting titles metagame. Although there is content to unlock and explore within DOA 6 (You should see my wardrobe!), there isn’t much to keep fans entertained after unlocking cosmetics. Although a group of players getting together for friendly or competitive tournaments whilst putting effort into memorising fighter playsets etc sounds like a whale of a time! If you are fresh out of player 2’s, then it really is a hit or miss affair.

The soundtrack of Dead or Alive 6 features a banging metal/guitar heavy OST that puts the nostalgic feels into 5th gear, with voice acting coming across as believable and flattering to the character’s appearance.
Graphics: 9
Presentation: 7
Gameplay: 7
Sound: 8
Overall Score: 7.8/10
Dead or Alive 6 is a game that focuses on its strengths and delivers what fans of the franchise want to see. Whilst it’s online matchmaking could do with an option to match with players of similar connection strengths, it still shows it’s post-game strengths though it’s VS mode, Library and Wardrobe modes for obsessive collectors and lore hungry fans alike. It’s great to see such an established franchise instantly catering to new fans without compromising its integrity.

Format: Xbox One X (Reviewed), PlayStation 4 and PC
Price: £54.99 (Xbox Store)
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Developer: Team Ninja
Age Rating: PEGI 16
Release Date: 01/03/19

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