In been a long wait for the next sequel for the Dead or Alive series, the last being in 2012 with Dead or Alive 5, before that game later spawned various other editions with added content.  So here we are in 2019 with Dead or Alive 6 and in a nutshell, this is the DOA we love.

In terms of story, just like DOA5, I really struggle to understand what is really going on here.  This is partly because of the timeline layout for the story campaign chapters. I know this layout is meant to give the player more freedom on how they approach each chapter, but for me personally, I prefer something more traditionally structured, as it’s quite easy to lose some plot details along the way.

However, I’ll explain the story the best I can, so bear with me.  Following the events of DOA5, the M.I.S.T Laboratory was thought to be at an end, however, thanks to a new character introduced into DOA6, who just so happens to be some kind of evil genius, NiCO plans on resurrecting M.I.S.T and the key to her success seems to play into the fate of a somewhat naive, but very talented fighter by the name of Honoka.

After parting ways in the previous game, Kasumi, Hayate and Aya, collectively known as the Mugen Tenshin Clan are called back into action to put an end to NiCO’s dastardly schemes!  But in all honesty, this is DOA, so the story and its characters are as wacky as they get, which has always added to the series’ charm in some way.

To accompany the Story mode in DOA6 is the DOA Quest.  In this particular mode, you have 96 quests, each with three varying criteria that you must acquire to earn the maximum in-game currency from that fight in question.  Each criteria for a quest can vary from dealing a certain amount of damage, performing certain moves and the most basic, just winning the fight (which alone will earn you 1 star out of 3).  Should you obtain all three requirements in a quest, not only will you earn the maximum currency, but you will also unlock items such as costume attire for your favourite characters.  In quite a handy fashion, should you have difficulty executing a certain task, the game will kindly recommend to you a tutorial to brush up on your skills.

Other modes of note include various training modes including Free Training, Tutorial mode, Command Training and Combat Training.  So DOA6 really does a great job in an attempt to make you the best DOA fighter that you can be.  Naturally, with just about any quality fighting game you can take the fight online with either a Ranked or Lobby match, which will really put a test to your skills.  Also, in the DOA Central, this is where you can see all your unlockable extras such as the DOA Encyclopaedia, DOA Trivia, Music, Theatre, player stats and much more.

Also in the DOA Central is the Wardrobe, this is also where you can customise all of the playable characters’ costumes, accessories and more.  Pre-release, a lot has been made of the sexualisation of the characters and if you’re familiar with the series, this has always been a signature identity since it began way, way back in 1996.  Now I’m not going to say that in this day and age that the DOA series should lose its identity, not at all.

However, I can understand why some fans can be put off by it, especially if it’s a series that some are being put off from wanting to play the game.  So as a compromise, the developers have toned down the default costumes for many of its fighters, however, by playing the game, in particular with modes such as DOA Quests, you can unlock loads of costumes and accessories for your fighters, which is a first for the series.  So if you want that iconic Kasumi costume, you can unlock it in-game.

Visually, while the cut-scenes are as gorgeous as ever, it’s perhaps not up to the visual standards of other games in its genre, such as Tekken 7 or Soul Calibur VI.  But that’s not to say that DOA6 isn’t a great-looking game, because it most certainly is.  The character animation is superbly done, even though the English dub is way off at times, with this game being native Japanese and the framerate does a great job of keeping up with the action.

dead or alive 6

Furthermore, you can change the game to prioritise on graphics or performance via the options if you wish.  New to this entry is the visible damage, which you’ll see take effect as the fight unfolds, with cuts and bruises appearing on the fighters, as well as damage to clothing.  Also, even though it’s been present in all previous games, the over-the-top bouncy physics (you know what I mean) has gained much attention.  The developers have said that it’s been toned down in DOA6, but I can’t really notice much of a difference if I’m being honest.

Now let’s get on to the game’s most important aspect, its gameplay.  Throughout the years, this series has never been particularly difficult to pick up and play, which is why it has always been quite welcoming to all skill levels and DOA6 is no exception.  As long as you go with the flow and momentum of the fight, just about anyone can get a win in DOA6, with its fast and fluid gameplay.

One of the main reasons that the combat in DOA6 is so welcoming is the newly introduced Fatal Rush, for which when your in-game gauge is full, you can unleash a powerful move, specific to the fighter in question, which sparks a very fun to watch, slow-motion sequence.  Likewise, there is also a new Fatal Reversal, and when timed right, it can stun your opponent and place you directly behind them to deal some added damage.  It’s these kinds of moments that can make just about anyone playing DOA6 look like a great fighter.

However, if you end up going up against a skilled player online, you’ll soon get your ass handed to you, so as always, there’s plenty here to master with its 26 fighters and 14 stages at launch.  Speaking of stages, not to sound cliché here, but if there’s ever a game where stages are almost like characters themselves, then it’s the DOA series.

Many of the stages have multiple layers as you send your opponent crashing through a wall, down a mountainside or even into the jaws of a T-Rex!  And all stages have some form of interactivity, one way or another that you can use to your tactical advantage.  There are certainly not many fighting series’ that quite deliver the stages like DOA.

To conclude, Dead or Alive 6 is yet another strong entry in the series.  The story mode may make little sense at times and it does assume that players will have knowledge of the previous story, but where it really matters, Dead or Alive 6 shines.  I’ve had a blast bashing those buttons, and figuring out what fighters I prefer to main and the interactive levels are as awesome as ever.  It may not be the most technically gifted fighter out there, but it’s easy to pick up and play, and it gives you that “one more match” vibe above all else, it’s a blast to play!  Dead or Alive 6 is ridiculously fun and endlessly charming, and that’s why I love this series, which is why you should consider picking up this crazy fighting game in the not-too-distant future.