Monday, March 04, 2019

"Dead or Alive 6" Review

In many ways, fighting games will always play like retro throwbacks. The charm of quarter-munching arcade fighters will always stick with certain, accepted formulas, such as health bars in the upper corners, special moves and round-by-round formats.

In that sense, the games are time machines to fever-pitched competitive scenes of the 1990s or early 2000s. "Dead or Alive 6" holds onto the now all-but-forgotten era of 3D fighters, pioneered by the likes of "Virtua Fighter."

Games of this mold prioritize approach angles, momentum and evasion, with routines such as the stick-and-move taking priority over traditional combos. A rock-paper-scissors metagame of strikes, throws and holds emerges, with players psyching each other out to gain the upper hand.

"Dead or Alive 6" stubbornly sticks in its chosen era of arrested development, and any knocks on the game for its retro sensibilities are tone deaf. Team Ninja's creation bursts with all the trappings that fans of the series desire, from anime-style sexuality complete with outrageously goofy, breast-jiggling physics, exaggerated move sets and melodramatic music.

Stage design is as elaborate and stylized as those of the characters, with destructible aspects of levels begging players to ram one another through structures, creating a dazzling display of barely-organized chaos.

The online suite is still a work in progress, with only ranked matches available at launch, and lobby play planned for introduction later in the month. As of now, that aspect is the weak link of the gma'es suite of modes, but a slow rollout is preferable to a sloppy and forced bug-filled launch.

Still, it's a fair question why Koei Tecmo felt the need to push the game out now rather than wait until it was feature complete until release. The chosen pattern amounts to using hardcore gamers as paid public beta participants.

There's no denying how much fun there is to be had in the game as it stands now. With its ample humor, dazzling pyrotechnics and pulsing entertainment factor, "Dead or Alive 6" stands alongside the likes of "Street Fighter V" and "Injustice 2" and the upcoming "Mortal Kombat XI" in the new generation of fighters that thrive for their dedication to the old ways. This game launches you forward by taking you back.
Publisher provided review code.

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