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July 2019

Dead Or Alive 6

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Fighting
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Developer: Team Ninja
Release Date: March 1, 2019


PS4/XOne/PC Preview - 'Dead or Alive 6'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on Jan. 17, 2019 @ 12:30 a.m. PST

Dead Or Alive 6 is the next installment in the long-running fast-paced 3D fighting franchise, featuring multi-tiered stages that create a truly entertaining competitive experience.

Pre-order Dead or Alive 6

The Dead or Alive franchise is known as much for its busty female cast as its actual gameplay. The spin-off games that focus on scantily clad beach volleyball over punching and kicking don't help matters. The DoA series has a dedicated fan base that enjoys the fighting game aspect of it, and Dead or Alive 6 wants to appeal to the die-hards. The recent online beta demonstrated how the gameplay mechanics have changed in this iteration.

The demo featured a cast of series mainstays: Ayami, Hayate, Kasumi, Ryu Hayabusa, and newcomer Diego. By and large, all of the characters feel familiar and very similar to how they played in the earlier games. Diego is a street punk from America, and his fighting style embodies that, with grabs, headbutts, and dirty fighting compared to the flashy ninja style from the rest of the cast. He's a fun inclusion and a good fit for the franchise.

While Dead or Alive usually has a simple punch/kick/block button setup, DoA6 also features an S (or "Special") button, which does almost everything that isn't kicking or punching. Tapping it performs a "Fatal Rush," which is very similar to the auto combos that are seen in titles like Dragon Ball FighterZ. It's a basic and reliable combo that can be done easily. It's predictable, so you can't depend on it, but it provides genre newcomers a way to feel competent relatively quickly.

New to the DoA franchise — but obviously not to fighting games — is the inclusion of the "break" meter, which functions as a super meter. As with most traditional super meters, you fill it up by taking or dealing damage. As the bar fills up, you gain access to special abilities that use the meter, including flashy special attacks and counter-moves. You use the meter to gain an advantage, and you'll regret wasting it when it's unnecessary.

The special abilities in DoA6 function similar to special abilities in just about all other fighting games. You can unleash them to do substantial damage. You can use supers to extend combos or counterattacks. The counter-hit mechanic allows you to effectively break out of combos by using your meter, which is essential if an enemy has backed you into a corner.

All in all, the gameplay in the DoA6 demo feels very familiar to fans of the genre. The addition of a super meter obviously switches things up and changes how the game plays, but the same accessible gameplay that is instantly recognizable as Dead or Alive remains intact. The Special button makes basic combos and button-mashing a bit easier, but experienced players will have little trouble kicking the rear ends of anyone who doesn't plan out their moves.

Like many recent fighting games, Dead or Alive 6 is aiming to create an accessible entry point to the franchise for fans who are just getting into the genre. From the demo, DoA6 isn't reinventing the wheel but focuses on polishing and adding just enough new mechanics to keep it feeling fresh. Hopefully, the full game will shine when it comes out on Mar. 1 for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

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