Dead or Alive 6, PS4 / Xbox One / Microsoft Windows, 6/10
When talking of fighting games, one rarely speaks of innovation beyond graphical updates, and Dead or Alive 6 is certainly no exception to this tradition. The latest addition to the fighting series that sees scantily clad men - but mostly women - beat the living tar out of each other makes no attempt whatsoever to deviate from the simple formula that has served it so well throughout the years.
Dead or Alive 6 is certainly polished, but in a time when most of the old guard of fighting games are innovating in one way or another, it is hard to find much praise for one that doesn't.
Dead or Alive has always been very unforgiving to novice players, even for a fighting game. The iconic parry system that involves a rock-paper-scissors-type affair where strikes beat throws, throws beat holds and holds beat strikes remains firmly entrenched. Despite this, however, Dead or Alive 6 is still one of the most violent and fast-paced fighters on the market. Unless you are a seasoned veteran, button mashing is eye-rollingly rewarding in that the fast-paced and responsive combination attacks will allow you to rack up obscene amounts of damage to opponents, giving the distinct possibility of extremely quick-fire rounds and matches.
Thankfully, the new tutorial system - one of the few areas that feels truly new - is possibly the best introduction to a fighting game currently on the market. While showing you the fundamental moves and making sure you get a hold on the controller inputs, it also freezes time so you may see exactly when to employ everything from the most simple to the most complex button presses. Much like Street Fighter, Dead or Alive is a difficult game to get a grasp on but the fantastic tutorial makes it a hell of a lot easier and is a very welcome addition to a genre where the barrier of entry is often prohibitive.
What is most certainly not welcome, however, is the absurd cost of the Dead or Alive 6 season pass. Purchasing the season pass at the eye-watering price of €90 grants you access to 62 more skimpy costumes and a meagre offering of two extra characters. Even if you have money to burn, there is just no way to justify such a price tag for a paltry offering of characters and some cosmetic items.
At the risk of sounding dismissive, Dead or Alive 6 is everything you imagine it would be if you are familiar with the series. While it may be polished and generally fun to play, it's hard to be sympathetic towards a franchise that seems so eager to part you with your money, while so afraid of innovation.