Dead or Alive is one of those series that might take a few moments for people familiar with other fighting games to find the right footing. Especially with how critical holds, sidestepping, and throws can be in Dead or Alive 6. But one thing that comes through with this installment is how friendly it can be. Especially if someone is starting off by playing alone and offline, Dead or Alive 6′s Story and Quest modes go out of their way to keep things moving, introduce people to new characters, and offer constant rewards that make it feel like someone is making real progress.
Both the Dead or Alive 6 Story and Quest modes are designed to draw the eye in the main menu, with each one having larger than usual, bolded fonts. Both can be jumped into easily and immediately, without spending any time with the (incredibly helpful) tutorials. However, what is really great about each of these modes is how well the informational lessons are integrated into them. Before you head into a Story segment that will involve fighting or any Quest mission, the game will offer you the option to practice a mechanic that will come into play with a push of a button. In the case of Quests, this is incredibly relevant, as that fight will repeatedly and specifically offer you opportunities to use that sort of move and reward you with gold or codex entries that help you learn more about the world. (As well as costume parts, if you complete all missions.) If you fail a fight or complete a Quest without nailing every objective, a prompt to jump right to the guide for that specific action is available. In each situation, learning how to do things right is a button press away, then head into a menu to go back to where you were.
For the Dead or Alive 6 story, a little prior knowledge might be helpful. It will bring in certain characters, like Hayate, Helena, Kasumi,and Marie Rose, and expect you to have some idea who they are and what their objectives might be. But, at the same time, it is organized in such a way that you it is easy to figure out what they might be up to and get to know other people. For example, we come to understand who Rig is and get the impression about how mysterious he is. Marie Rose helps us learn more about Honoka, who debuted in Dead or Alive 5 Last Round. There may be times when the unlocked segments force us to jump around to a different character’s node on the timeline to advance someone else’s story, but is usually handled in a way that makes sense for makes sense for it. Sticking with the Marie Rose example, which happens early enough to avoid spoilers and continues the theme, you can’t continue to see her friendship with Honoka beginning and her mission from Helena continuing until you stop and go see a node were Hayate bursts into Helena’s office to meet with her. This makes sense, because Marie Rose was there. She initially tried to stop the inclusion.
While the Dead or Alive 6 Story mode spends a lot of time with its detailed and realistic characters interacting and fighting in what can feel like a rather equal division of experiences, Quest is an full of opportunities and chances to find your comfort zone. Once people head into NiCO’s combat simulator, you have an array of different quests to choose from. Each one has three missions. One of these is always successfully completing the quest, guaranteeing you one star. The other two usually involve performing a certain action, earning a certain score, or winning within a set amount of time. The rewards for the initial missions tend to be coins, sometimes giving you around 1,000. (This is quite a help, considering costume parts tend to hover around 2,000 for accessories and get into the 5,000s for outfits.) You might unlock a codex part. The big score is the Clearance Reward, which is a costume pattern part that can help you unlock outfits for the character you had to use. But even if you don’t manage to clear everything and get that costume part, it is very easy to earn enough stars to unlock the next groups of missions and the gradual increase in difficulty means Quest mode grows with you.
What really comes out in both the Story and Quest mode is the personality. This is for obvious reasons in Story. After all, you are actually following each person’s actions, seeing how they interact with other people, and learning all about their motivations and mindsets. But this is also very obvious with Quest’s different tasks, mainly because it forces you to use different characters. You have to try out different attacks, holds, or throws to earn the stars, and all of these actions have their personality maintained throughout. For example, you can see how over the top Tina constantly is, with her kayfabe wrestling moves. Diego’s moves are all very rough and seem unpolished, but effective, showcasing his street fighting roots. NiCO feels like this mad scientist who has this cocky air surrounding her, with her bravado when a match begins and ends and the flourishes she uses for her electrical attacks. By being forced to use everyone in Quest mode, the fights show us who they are.
In short, Dead or Alive 6 can be very enlightening. The Story and Quest mode feel like they do all they can to welcome people into the game, whether they are new to the series or just new to this installment. The Story’s timeline and its nodes offer an even distribution of different story segments and fighting opportunities, showing characters’ personalities, letting you sample skills, and even pop into tutorials. Quest might offer even more chances, since it focuses entirely on the fighting, forces you to use specific moves in exchange for good and fair rewards, and really helps you learn at a good pace. It can feel like a great place to start.
Dead or Alive 6 is available for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.