Ah, Dead or Alive. The boob game. The kawaii cash grab. The Japanese fighter more famous for its bouncing breasts than its juggle combos. How has a new mainline Dead or Alive game come out in 2019? Did Team Ninja, a developer that I’d thought had reinvented itself with the superb Nioh, lose a bet with Koei Tecmo or something? However it happened, the result is a game that’s at best naff, at worst grim.
Dead or Alive 6 has endured a tiresome, weird bait and switch from the developers at Team Ninja. At reveal we were told the heavily sexualised female characters of old had been ditched in favour of a more realistic look in-line with heavy-hitting fighting. Series star Kasumi was shown wearing an outfit that covered her up and looked a bit like something a modern day ninja would wear to battle. You know, it was an outfit that made sense.
The game itself, though, betrays this marketing spiel, exposing it for the lip service it always was. By default, the female characters’ breasts bounce around like balloons tied to string (you can turn this off in the settings). The skimpiest outfits – some of which are nothing more than a pair of knickers and a bra – must be unlocked via playing the game. And Team Ninja has stuck with the icky camera free roam for victory poses. Make no mistake, Dead or Alive 6 is Dead or Alive, warts and all.