'Dead or Alive 6' Hands-On Provides Modes, Swift Gameplay and More Crazy Costumes

When we last played Dead or Alive 6 during E3 2018 last year, we found it to be a major refocus for the series, concentrating more on its hardcore fighting tactics rather than something we dubbed the "cheesecake factor," with its girls in skimpy outfits. But with our latest hands-on with the game, we've gotten even more focus on what the sequel will have to offer, along with what's in store with one of the newest characters in the series.

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First off, let's address that "cheesecake factor." While DOA6 has toned down some of the crazy outfits we might have seen in the last entry, that doesn't mean it's taken them out completely. The developers understand its fanbase and has still thrown in a few alluring outfits for some of its characters, like Tina with her wrestling gear and Nyotengu with her, ahem, revealing Catwoman-esque costume.

However, some decisions have been made to make characters stand out without going too far, like Kasumi with her awesome ninja-style costumes and Hitomi with her traditional combat gear. There's enough here to keep fans of both "cheesecake" and fighting pleased.

The team at Team Ninja have put a significant amount of effort into the game's visuals, which truly shine. The backdrops are appealing, whether you're duking it out in a wrestling arena with electrified ropes and flashing lights all around, or partaking in a brawl in a smaller street setting, where viewers will push you back into the action and knocking your opponent into a flaming barrel is fair game.

But don't worry, there are still crazy moments to go around, whether you get hurled into a dinosaur egg that suddenly hatches and has a pterodactyl throw you to the ground (time travel, eh?) or an octopus tentacle fling you about like a goldfish. So the game is definitely in tune with that level of insanity.

As for audio, the game features solid voicework (mostly in Japanese), as well as the traditional rock music we've come to expect from the series, right on tune with what we heard in the Dead or Alive 5 releases. The sound effects literally pack a punch as well, with each blow landing with a meaty "WHAM!" to deliver that extra dose of power.

But it's the gameplay that really surprises with DOA6. Along with the traditional controls we've come to expect- grab moves, combos, and reversals, all of which work wonderfully- there's also a new super system in play here. Once you fill up an energy bar, you have the opportunity to land a special combo on your opponent by hitting the right bumper button a few times. Once you do that, if you deliver on the hits, you'll deliver a finishing blow that will chop off a good portion of energy. This is not only useful for those trying to get back into a fight, but also a good tactic to build toward if you're taking on an overpowered enemy. Never hurts to store up that energy and use it in the right place.

Revolving back to that new character we discussed earlier, it's none other than NICO, a robo-scientist that helps guide you through the game's mission mode, in which you'll complete certain tasks across each fight in order to unlock new gear for your fighters, along with additional missions.

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Most of these are fairly easy to follow, including sidestepping opponents, delivering low blows and chaining together combos. But as the missions go on, tasks get tougher. Fortunately, the game has a "replay" system that shows you how to complete said tasks, educating you on the fighting mechanics in the process. It's a cool feature.

That, combined with other modes in Dead or Alive 6, should keep fans busy for a while. There's the traditional Arcade mode with a string of opponents; a new Story mode that explains what's happening with Nico and company (which we'll discuss with the review later on); and a bevy of modes where you can just take on the competition.

While Dead or Alive 6 may not be reinventing the wheel, it's certainly spinning right along; and that's going to be more than enough to suit fans that are looking for satisfying fighting action. We'll see how the game fares when it arrives on March 1 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.

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(Thanks to Koei Tecmo for having us down for the event!)

Are you excited for Koei Tecmo's latest brawler? Let me know why (or why not) on Twitter at @TheDCD!