Dead or Alive 6 Review – More Under the Hood Than First Thought

Dead or Alive 6
Koei Tecmo

The fast and furious, fighting game frenzy of the late 80s and 90s ushered in a plethora of franchises. Although 2D fighters flourished at first, as technology evolved we began to see fully 3D fighters emerge on the scene. The main four 3D fighting game series which crushed all of their competition were Tekken, Dead or Alive, SoulCalibur, and Virtua Fighter.

Sadly, the series that many consider to be the first true 3D fighter, Virtua Fighter, has faded away over the years. What’s even more miraculous is that the fighting franchise everyone thought was finished, Dead or Alive, recently released its sixth iteration, seemingly to very little press and marketing. Heck, I didn’t even hear about Dead or Alive 6 until a couple of weeks before its release.


I’ve never claimed to be a fighting game pro, but Dead or Alive 6 is a game that accepts all skill levels (thankfully). In other words, while a button-masher such as myself can get away with beating average opponents, high level fighting game veterans will most likely mop the floor with me unless I get lucky. Dead or Alive 6 epitomizes a low barrier for entry, but also a very high skill ceiling.

At first, Dead or Alive 6’s mechanics may seem a bit stripped down compared to other games like Tekken 7. Your movement layout consists of basic punches, kicks, holds, and throws. However, depending on which direction you hit on your gaming pad or keyboard, you’ll get different variations of these basic moves.


Dead or Alive 6 also gives me the sense of fully 3D game play. Whereas in the Mortal Kombat or Tekken series, things feel 2.5D at best, Dead or Alive 6’s characters move around the multifaceted arenas with exceptional grace and fluidity. Combined with the intricate moves and attacks at each character’s disposal, this game often resembles watching any great live action, martial arts film.

New to the series are power meters. As you hit or get hit, your character’s meter will eventually fill up and begin glowing. Once at a certain level, you can either utilize your character’s super attack, which dishes out a ton of damage (and looks freaking cool to boot) or execute their super counter, which does less damage but stuns your opponent for a few moments.


Personally, while the super attacks are fun to unleash on foes, the super counters are not only less expected, but also allow me to follow up with even more damaging combos since my opponents are momentarily stunned.

The Dead or Alive franchise has often been maligned and bullied by politically correct types (who don’t even play video games) because of the bouncing boobies exhibited by its many female characters. This mainly seems to stem from Koei Tecmo’s spinoff Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball series, which features lots of scantily clad girls jumping around. However, when played side by side, there is nothing in Dead or Alive 6 that isn’t in Tekken 7 or SoulCalibur 6.

One of the most exciting new features of Dead or Alive 6 is that the longer your chosen character fights, the more wear and tear you’ll see them accumulate. And we’re not just talking getting their outfits a little dusty here and there; we’re talking full-on battle damage such as cuts and bruises.


Why this hasn’t been implemented in other fighting games is beyond me, but it’s great to finally see it featured here. Another shocker was that when you pull of an especially damaging blow, sometimes you’ll smash off one of your opponent’s accessories or rip through their outfits. This is some seriously immersive stuff.

And lastly, speaking of immersion, Dead or Alive 6 sports some of the best stage designs I’ve seen in the long-running series. Each of them is relatively large and they also have interactive elements such as breakable walls and floors. There’s even a stage where bystanders will push off-balance fighters back into the action. However, the super-fun cliffhangers—where fighters have the ability to hang onto the edges of certain broken walls—seem to be missing. Either that or I just haven’t figured out where they are yet.


In all, Dead or Alive 6 is a rock-solid fighting game that features beautifully updated graphics, tense and rewarding fighting action, and a great new energy meter system that really switches things up. Fighting game fans rejoice!
SCORE: 86%

Dead or Alive 6 features great graphics that make its fighting gameplay truly shine. However, you’ll want to have a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:

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