Dead or Alive 6 Preview

Dead or Alive 6 blew us away when it was first revealed at E3 2018, packing a huge punch in its first impression. Since that time a few more fighters have entered the ring and some more information has come to light, but has the game changed much? We got our hands on an updated demo and honestly, the difference is pretty striking.

On the surface, DoA6 doesn’t seem too different. The controls haven’t changed, the one-on-one fighting is still virtually the same, and the action is still hard-hitting. However, the controls feel much tighter and more responsive than before, combos flowing out of me like nothing. Using the environments works much easier as well, particularly in the Fight Club-esque stage where bystanders push the fighters back into the arena after a hit.

It’s Not All About The Jiggle Physics

I can’t say enough about the graphical upgrades DoA6 has made, from the character models to the wear and tear they suffer during a fight. Seeing sweat shine in the lights above a darkened alley or taking in the majesty of a palatial fighting arena has impressed me both times I’ve played the game. Team Ninja’s improvements to DoA’s overall aesthetic are impressive, the sky is clearly the limit for this next installment.

The game also moves incredibly well, each animation looking crisp and clean. The close-ups on an opponent’s face while he winces in pain after a big shot are awesome, delivering a rush of adrenaline up my spine whenever I see it. I originally thought that might be something I’d tire of over time, but in two demos now I’ve loved it.

dead-or-alive-6-preview-diego-2

Let’s get into the new fighters a little bit, as this new demo added a returning DoA character as well as a brand new face. Diego is the first-timer, and he incorporates a rough-and-tumble street fighting form into his moveset. He’s a bit of a grappler, with some pretty unique grabs in his arsenal, but solid striking and the occasional use of his head make him stand out. At one point he unleashed a devastating combo with Diego that had both players gasping. I’m excited to get more hands-on time with him at launch.

//z-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/onejs?MarketPlace=US&adInstanceId=5600492c-9ecc-4f32-a18f-d0317ea1d4aa

The returning DoA cast member is Rig, Taekwondo aficionado and total jerk from the previous game. Being adept in Taekwondo means Rig is best with his feet, unleashing a barrage of kicks that would make Hwoarang from Tekken jealous. Rig will be best suited for the flashy players looking to impress bystanders, and he’s an agile character with quick kicks and a few flips for good measure.

Still Room For Improvement

This demo did a great job of showing off the two new characters, but there are still some areas to address before the game fully launches. Despite the cleaner controls I mentioned earlier a few moves seem to lag in the heat of battle. Some combos would come out at different speeds during different points of the match, and I’m not certain if it was due to an issue with responsiveness or if the controller itself was beginning to malfunction. Balancing should take care of these problems, but addressing them is paramount.

In two different hands-on demos Dead or Alive 6 has left me wanting more, its fast-paced fighting making quite a first (and second) impression. Team Ninja’s direction in this new game is clearly sound, and while a few technical tweaks need to be made the action is intense and the new visual systems amaze me every time I see them. 2019 seems like it’s so far away now that I have Dead or Alive 6 to anticipate, I’m looking forward to entering the arena as soon as I can.