The Dead or Alive franchise has always been known for its sex appeal, but that began to change with Dead or Alive 4. The evolution of the series continued with DOA5, and now it seems to be almost complete with the upcoming release of Dead or Alive 6. While the sex appeal is still present, the game mechanics have slowly progressed to the point where the denial of Dead or Alive 6 at Evolution 2019 was a shock to many at the very least, and a raw slap in the face on the extreme side.

Guarantees Abound

One of the major concerns the greater Fighting Game Community has had with previous entries in the DOA franchise is the simple fact that mind games reign supreme. While mind games are prevalent in any fighting game, competitive players pride themselves on securing an opening that allows for guaranteed damage, then capitalizing with damaging combos. In previous Dead or Alive games, once a player secured an opening, the opponent still had a plethora of opportunities to avoid any sort of guaranteed damage.

While Dead or Alive 6 can still be played with a heavy focus on mind games, players who prefer to have more guaranteed damage, now have multiple options with each character. The new system mechanics of Fatal Rush, Break Hold and Break Blow all allow for guaranteed damage, with a potential escape option if the defender opts to use meter. For competitive players, the meta will likely evolve into stunning an opponent with a single attack, then using Fatal Rush or shifting directly to a launcher to secure guaranteed damage.

Sidestep is Not OP

With the recent beta test and deluxe demo, a number of fans have been able sit down and get plenty of hands-on time with DOA6. Some seem to believe that the new sidestep in Dead or Alive 6 is a little too strong. While the game doesn’t seem to be balanced with an evasive sidestep in mind, it simply adds a defensive tool that has been sorely lacking from the series. The sidestep introduced in Dead or Alive 5 offered limited evasion, but the new sidestep completely evades all linear attacks for the duration of the animation.

Using the new sidestep, adept players can easily shut down anyone who just wants to mash out a combo string without thinking first. It works very similar to sidesteps in other 3D fighters such as Virtua Fighter, Tekken or Soul Calibur. While not quite as free-flowing as those games, the end result is still the same. If you’re careless with linear attacks, you can now be punished. Some would even go as far as to say the punishment is not severe enough, with the sidestep attack being toned down a bit from what we played at E3 2018 and Evo 2018, where the attack inflicted considerably more damage. Even our impressions of the more recent Tokyo Game Show build have been adjusted a bit after spending time with a retail copy of the game.

To those who would say the new evasive sidestep is overpowered, there are a number of ways to stop it. DOA6 provides a ton of information on every attack (including in-game frame data), so it’s easy to determine which attacks are linear, and which attacks track opponents. Use a tracking attack and it will shut down a sidestep. In addition, all throws track, making them a strong counter to sidesteps. Finally, the sidestep attack is unsafe if the opponent blocks, which means you can bait the sidestep, block the attack that follows, then punish accordingly.

So far, DOA6 looks to be one of the best entries in the series, but stay tuned to Prima Games as we go in-depth with the game over the coming days. We’ll have various tips and strategy articles, as well as making Dead or Alive 6 our game of the week with our full breakdown on Friday!