– By Jakejames Lugo
Dead or Alive 6 has released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC to the delight of fans who have stuck with the franchise since it’s leap onto next-gen hardware back in 2005 for the Xbox 360. The sixth installment of the series continues to spotlight the tantalizing ladies and their deadly fighting moves, but is this entry a lot more reserved than other DOA games? There’s still plenty of breast physics and scandalous outfits to make the ladies (and guys) in Dead or Alive 6 look very appealing, the series has always been very open with that, but unlike before it doesn’t seem to be taken to an extreme this time.
Whether it’s due to the changing cultural environment or not, Dead or Alive 6 holds back from really committing to the over-the-top provocative presentation we’ve seen over the years. The last DOA entry for consoles, Dead or Alive 5: Last Round, sported more lewdness for the roster of fighters with its swimsuit outfits and “barely OK” costumes. While there’s an audience for this kind of thing, much of the criticism about the Dead or Alive games have always centered on the sex appeal rather than the gameplay or other content provided. The harshest things said about DOA games usually refer to it as a shallow “waifu fighter” or how it degrades women into tantalizing fanfare. Yet Dead or Alive 6 seems to have put more focus on its gameplay than extra costumes, despite being given the same criticisms.
Good examples of this in the game are the lesser amount of bold costumes for most characters out of the box. Though extra costumes that are like this are coming in the game’s season pass and DLC, most characters who have been glammed up in previous entries are presented more conservatively this time. One of the series’ mascot fighters, Kasumi, has more outfits that reflect her ninja lifestyle and Japanese heritage instead of multiple variations on a swimsuit or lewd dress. The same could be said for other characters like Ayane, Mila, Hitomi, and even Helena. The guys on the roster have a similar approach, even though fan favorites like Zack still get an outfit to show off their musculature.
However, that doesn’t go to say that some characters still don’t exude the sexiness like they’ve done in the past. Much like how games such as Soul Calibur VI have characters like Ivy and Sophitia, Dead or Alive 6 still has some of the fighters that put their sex appeal forward alongside their fighting prowess. Characters like Tina, Christie, Honoka, and Leifang definitely show off their assets in and out of battle in different ways. But once again, this is far tamer than what we’ve seen in the past where these kinds of characters were at the forefront of costumes that looked like they would barely stay on during combat.
One other indication how Dead or Alive 6 is unlike its predecessors is the lack of focus on its photo mode. Previous games have allowed players to take pictures of the ladies alone without engaging in battle. This was something that became more prevalent in Dead or Alive: Paradise and the Xtreme Beach Volleyball, spinoff titles in the series, allowing players to ogle at the characters from all kinds of angles. DOA 6 still has a camera mode, but only allows you to photograph fighters engaged in battle, rather than like the Venus scenes from Paradise. It’s also noticeable that other modes like DOA Quest and the online modes have a bigger emphasis on placed on them, since most unlockables and titles can be received from playing each mode frequently.
Does all of this mean that Dead or Alive 6 completely steps away from the appeal that the series is known for? Absolutely not, it’s still there in different ways and makes it stand out from other 3D fighters, but it’s also not the sole focus this time. The fan service will always provoke the ire of many critics for the series, however Dead or Alive 6 shows that some adjustments have been made in ways that would otherwise go unnoticed by those who haven’t explored the majority of the series. Dead or Alive 6 is still DOA as we know it, but a bit tamer than usual. Whether that is a good or bad thing is still very much up for debate.