'Dead or Alive 6' and 'Jump Force' Are Fighting Games With Flaws

"Dead or Alive 6" (Koei Tecmo Games) and "Jump Force" (Bandai Namco)

The "Dead or Alive" series is known for two things. The first is its simple but deep combat system. The developer, Team Ninja, squeezes plenty of gameplay mechanics out of a few buttons, but in the process, the studio has built a fighting game that has stood the test of time.

The second hallmark is more complicated. "Dead or Alive" was released at a time when video games were going through what's essentially adolescence. Harnessing hardware that could produce more lifelike characters, studios catered to an audience just discovering Maxim and FHM magazines. The result of this was Team Ninja making a game with scantily-clad fighters that emphasized elements such as "breast physics."

Nowadays, gamers are older and such puerile antics aren't as powerful a draw. That puts "Dead or Alive 6" in an awkward position. It's a fighting game that downplays what made it popular while also keeping enough of its legacy to make longtime fans happy.

Instead of going in a different direction, the game straddles the line between the familiar and the new. It continues the saga between series villain Victor Donovan's MIST organization and the Mugen Tenshin ninja clan. Donovan has targeted the shinobi because of their powerful abilities, and in this chapter, he tasks a scientist named Nico with resurrecting Raidou, a powerful ninja killed in the original.

At the moment, it features 26 fighters with several longtime favorites such as Kasumi, Ayane, Leifang, Tina, Ryu Hayabusa and Bayman, along with two newcomers Diego and Nico. In addition, the series' dynamic gameplay arenas return with 14 distinct areas. Players have to be careful where they fight because they can be knocked down hills or fall through the floor after an explosion. The fact that players have to know the stages as well the matchups makes it unusual among fighting games.

The big gameplay change comes in the addition of the special button. It joins the hold, punch and kick inputs that have been standard for the series. The special button is used for moves tied to a Break Gauge that builds up over a battle. The meter allows players to perform skills such as Break Hold that allows them to guard against nearly any attack. It also allows players to perform a Break Blow that deals big damage to opponents. Using these moves consumes meter, so players will have to keep an eye on it.

That and the new sidestep attack adds another layer of strategy to "Dead or Alive 6." It's no longer just about reading an opponent and countering their attacks. The gameplay has evolved somewhat, but despite these additions, the title remains similar in both style and substance, unwilling to evolve to a new level.

While some franchises refuse to change, Bandai Namco's "Jump Force" is a series that never quite gets off the ground. Developed by Spike Chunsoft, the fighting game brings together characters from the Weekly Shonen Jump magazine from Japan. It's where popular anime such as "Dragon Ball," "One Piece," and "Naruto" got their start.

Similar to another Bandai Namco fighting game "Dragon Ball FighterZ," players start off as a bystander who is drafted into a conflict between heroes and villains who were once on the pages of Shonen Jump. Diverging from this formula, "Jump Force" lets players create their own avatars and they're thrown into battle.

Combat takes place in a three-dimensional battle arena with mechanics that aren't complicated. Players pick a team of three characters and duke it out with another squad. The system relies on button-mashing simple combos and chasing after foes using a dash button. Over the course of a match, players build a meter for more powerful ability attacks. "Jump Force" also has a secondary gauge focused on the Awakening ability, which powers up certain characters or allows them to unleash their most powerful attack.

The style is reminiscent of "My Hero: One's Justice," but with more over-the-top moves and bigger stages. Although "Jump Force" has a huge roster of more than 40 characters, the teams share a health meter and gauges, limiting the strategy of switching out fighters.

The bigger flaw in the game is in the agonizing load times, hub world and progression. It's a game that pushes players to grind out matches to level up their fighters. Add in a convoluted hub where players have to travel to kiosks to buy items or set up a matches and "Jump Force" puts a lot of obstacles for players who just want to jump in and explore the characters and fighting system.


'Dead or Alive 6'

2 stars

Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PCRating: Mature


'Jump Force

1 star

Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Rating: Teen


This article is written by Gieson Cacho from East Bay Times and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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