We analyze the sixth installment of Dead or Alive, which comes to PC, PS4 and Xbox One with changes in the game system and variety of modalities.
Fast, offensive and full of options. There are several signs of identity that have defined the Dead or Alive saga throughout these years. And some of them shine with more light than ever with this sixth numbered delivery of the saga of Koei Tecmo . After several years and several subsequent versions of DOA 5, the series starred by Kasumi , Ryu Hayabusa, Ayane and company looks back, it is set in the dynamism and fluidity of Dead or Alive 2 and step forward playable level . Although the same can not be said of all its production values .
The arrival of a new iteration has not been without some controversy. When it was presented by surprise during E3 and could be tested for the first time, something that caught the attention was the most serious and dark tone of the characters and the scenarios. It was not a trivial decision, but something that was done consciously to try to move the series away from that sense of frivolity that has too often reigned around the saga. Many times unfairly. Not because it was uncertain that the exaggerated design of the female characters was evident, but because behind that strategy based on voluptuous modeling and endless costumes to each more erotic there was a powerful playable base. That surely touched its zenith with the Ultimate reviewand, later, with DOA 4 . But he had his space in the 3D fight.
The words of its producer, not only in Meristation but to other media of great importance, did not sit well with a part of the fan base that has in the charismatic fighters of the staff a relevant purchase reason. The feeling of attempting to retaliate a posteriori and the ambiguity in this sense did not help. So true is that it has been somewhat more sober in certain initial designs of the characters as there are costumes that evoke past deliveries and that the controversial policy of DLC a mansalva fixed line similar to the fifth installment. And so tangible is all this, as it is that DOA, although sometimes it seems that it does not interest, hides behind scarce cloth suits, a more than remarkable 3D fighting game.
Beyond the stone-paper-scissors
The system of Dead or Alive has been based since its inception in a triangle in which the punches and kicks are imposed on the grips, while these beat the keys (cons) and, finally, this mechanics is the key to beat the blows. This makes fighting in a 3D environment very dynamic and offensive. That the sequences of blows can not be repeated in excess because the reaction in the form of a rival’s key leaves you knocked out. And that to hold the blockade waiting for a gap is not the best option because the holds generate significant damage. Each delivery has been based on extra elements that have shaped the experience. On DOA 4 there was a rebound , perhaps excessive, on the ground. In DOA 5, the system of progressive damage until getting lethal blows. Here, the new S button and the change in the stunning system mark the combats.
When the S mechanics were introduced , many began to see a possible chance of the game to bring the new players closer. A button with unique properties that allows launching a self-combo with four strokes, which allows to launch a key that stops any attack and a special attack that damages the opponent. To all this is added an elusive right and left fast and that allows kickback with ease. On paper, a tremendously powerful button with many options. Luckily, the reality is that its presence in combat offers a more than interesting depth.
Because the autocombo , which has a slow start, does not take away too much life by itself. Because the special attack is harmful, but not devastating compared to other movements. And because knowing when to use the S key is important to manage the energy bar that is spent with each of the movements. The depth of this new mechanics is found in the combos and their stun capabilities. Each character has a couple of attacks that leave the enemy in lethal daze. It is a state in which the enemy can not react, except with the key with S that spends 50% of the bar. Searching for this status is key to lengthening combos, and is the biggest difference with Dead or Alive 5.
In the previous game , the combo system was progressive, and to reach the stunning final you had to go through different phases of attack, through stuns critical intermediates. That caused the opponent to seek, even desperately, to make a counter to prevent us from advancing in the stunning to the most powerful. Either he played it or he knew how the matter would end. Here the system has changed. By having punches that leave you in lethal daze, like the first S attack of the autocombo, players can make combinations of all kinds that seek this enemy state in the first attack. Or in the third. Or later. Therefore, change the variety of offensive options … And also the way to defend yourself.
When you start a combo with an attack, the enemy bar indicates the life that we are going to remove as much with that sequence. If the opponent tries a key and it goes wrong, naturally we can continue advancing in the attack and remove much more. That is why the risk of making keys in case the flute sounds is not so recommendable, because we can extend our own agony when, at best, the advisable strategy is to respect the rival combo and accept that we will lose that part of life.
To this is added the cast of movements that allows us to chain lethal stuns to make devastating combos. We start with two S attacks, and in this state of stun, we do not continue with the autocombo but we start a normal attack, which ends in another lethal daze, in a sequence raising the ground opponent and ending with S to launch a special attack. Much more complete and unpredictable than crushing four times S. And much more optimal at the level of damage. There, and using the elusive head with this button, is the great interest of a mechanics that seems much more complete and fits better in the playable essence of the series than the Power Blow of the fifth installment.
All this, naturally, accompanied by several elements that define the combat of Dead or Alive. From the interaction with the stage to the wall rebounds, which can destroy the opponent in good hands, going through a whole system of counterattack, counterthribes and counter-locks that allow us to enhance the damage by performing actions at the right time and get away from enemy grips if we have sight. There is so much to deepen that for a new player it can easily overwhelm. To all this, more than 100 movements per character already speak for themselves of the possibilities of combo that we have looking for synergies and sequences between these attacks.
Nico and Honoka
The new combat system works, and it does it very well. It does not reinvent the wheel and the base of the game is familiar, but it approaches with the stunning system and type of possible combos to the first deliveries of the series, leaving behind a somewhat more corseted development of the combos present in Dead or Alive 5. The feeling of familiarity is also very present by certain conservatism at the time of presenting the staff of fighters. We have more than 20 characters, of which only two are new: Nico and Diego.The rest, as powerful as charismatic. Kasumi, Ayane, Ryu, Lee, Helena, Christie, Butterfly, Ayate, Hitomi, Eliot, Tina or Brad Wong among others are essential names, very powerful and that seem essential for the fan. But the feeling that new sap is lacking is evident. Naturally, there are others like Marie Rose and Mila, who debuted in the previous iteration.
Among these, the efforts in the story mode focus on Nico, a scientist who is very interested in Honoka , for her learning skills and copy of the best skills of others. Under this premise, the creation of Phase 4 (a clone of Kasumi with its own movements) and the dispute of the sixth Dead or Alive tournament, is developing a sometimes somewhat chaotic story mode, because chapters featuring characters are opened everywhere, but it has interesting moments and in general, it is entertaining. Of course, something shorter and perhaps less interesting than that of the fifth installment, which was something more linear and traditional.
The other great modality of Dead or Alive 6 are the DOA challenges . It is an extensive list of missions in which we have to kill our enemies under certain conditions. The more we do, the more stars we will get and we can unlock new missions like this. The reward of these missions looks directly at the fan who likes to unlock and equip all kinds of elements to the characters visually. We will get resources that later unlock costumes so that we can buy them with the money we get playing. A somewhat strange system – it would surely be better to unlock costumes, because in some cases the ‘farmeo’ is evident – but which aims to engage the user to play while going overcoming missions of various kinds with all kinds of characters.
Along with this, we add a list of already known modalities and that allow us to test our best skills in all kinds of difficulty levels. Arcade , where we fight with a sequence of enemies and where, unfortunately, there is no personalized ending for the characters; against the clock, where besides trying to overcome the rivals we have to do it with the shortest time possible; and survival, in which enemies emerge while we recover vitality with objects and try to win as many fighters as possible. Unfortunately, the tag mode that, they said, was not used too much has been removed.
All this is added to the classic versus and, above all, to a training modality that is simply exemplary.The title is aware of the large number of mechanics that hides in the same action, and does not skimp on resources to tell it. The saga has been focusing efforts in this sense for a long time, and it is appreciated. We have a huge list of tutorials that range from the most basic to advanced mechanics. We have modalities to learn all the attacks and movements of each of the characters. We also have combo challenges to learn some sequences where these basic movements are linked. And the free training mode is complete as few, with all kinds of information … Including the framedata to know the frames in which the attacks come out or how they can leave you sold, something that goes well to know when to punish an opponent.
Dead or Alive 6, analysis
The proposal is completed with a database where we will have stories, documents, music, new costumes and accessories (hairstyles, glasses) to unlock and be able to use. It is true that coming from Last Round , the feeling is that starting from scratch and with somewhat limited content seems an evident step back, and that is that the final version of DOA 5 if something had was just a cast of simply unmatched content. And the comparison starting from scratch again is what it is, although there will be no extra content in DOA 6 if we look at the DLC that can go to 90 euros, something that already happened with the previous delivery, which does not affect the gameplay or the modes, but that is how much less debatable facing the player who buys the title and already knows what is to come.
At the online level, one of lime and another of sand. On the one hand, we have a matched game mode that has a very solid netcode. The games that we played with the maximum possible connection, something said in the usual step in the search, work perfectly, without problems of lag. Taking into account the requirement of the system of keys and cons, it is essential to have a satisfactory experience. Of course, if the connection is unstable it is better not to accept the rival. But on the other, the title has come without rooms to play with friends or lobbies. Something negative, although it was already announced that it arrived this same month of March, a few days after the official start of the game.
Speed, dynamism and spectacularity
On a technical level, Dead or Alive 6 has not advanced enough regarding the fifth installment. The modeling of characters continue to maintain a high level, and several details such as clothing that is breaking, or hair, are appreciated. As they do the improvements in lighting that can be seen in darker scenarios such as the ring in the middle of an abandoned street or on an island with dinosaurs. In motion the game is fluid and spectacular, with effects of lights and very complete animations. But it is true that a greater evolution is lacking in general terms and that betting everything on a solid character model like the one already in DOA 5 should not be enough. It looks good, much more in full action than in video scenes, but it could look much better. The soundtrack,