Hands on with DOA6 (TGS Build) At Abu Dhabi Games Con

EMPEROR_COW

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#1
Hey everyone! Its been a while.

I recently had the chance to spend quite some time on the TGS build of DOA6 and I thought I would share my experience with you all as I feel like I might be able to answer a lot of questions and skepticism that many (including myself) had regarding the overall changes made to the game, and whether it is enough to make it feel like sequel and not just a DOA5LR+.


VISUALS:
The first thing that caught my eye about the game is how absolutely stunning it looks. DOA5 already still looks better than most games out there, and to think that it could be topped like this is just absolutely mind blowing. (Going to geek out a bit here) I don't know how, but they managed to make Kasumi look even prettier than she already was. the attention to detail like bruises, sweat, tearing of clothes. it all adds to the overall beauty of the game.

but the one thing that caught my eye more than anything was how vibrant the colors were compared to DOA5. It actually makes DOA5 look almost... depressing.

On a personal note, I'm so glad they fixed Leifang's alien face lol.


Now lets get down to the more technical stuff!

LOSS OF STAGGER ESCAPE AND REDUCED STUN DURATION:
This is probably one of the first things any long standing DOA5 player will notice. To a veteran DOA player, losing stagger escape will initially seem like a huge deal since it was a major defensive tool and the usually safer option as opposed to holding in stun. I still found my self frantically shaking my controller to get out of stun whenever I got hit (what can I say, old habits die hard lol). But once you get used to it being gone you will realize that the meta hasn't really changed much, particularly because the stun duration has been decreased. So now instead of staggering into block or holding, the defensive mix-up in stun has simply become doing nothing into block or holding.

For the attacker playing at high level nothing has changed as the offense is simply the same. You either put in another attack with the risk of getting held, wait for the impulse hold and get a hi counter throw, or go for an OH or a throw vs someone that used to do nothing and liked to stagger.

However, because of the decreased stun duration, the attacker really has to commit to the follow up. the concept of what qualifies as a "COMBO" now is far more clear cut since the follow up either connects or it doesn't. I think this makes it a lot easier to understand for both beginners and pros alike.

This is probably the main reason behind doing all this in the first place. The ability to stagger was really a huge dividing gap between players and to this day almost looked at as secret tech when playing with a beginner that asks "hey how come my combos aren't working on you ?".

I just wanted to mention that holding in stun still functions the same and is still a very dangerous thing to do, as it increases the stun duration and allows for things that usually do not qualify as a combo to be comboed into each other.

It is also worth mentioning that the strategy of stunning the opponent off guard in order to get them without staggering into another move wont work anymore since everything has a fixed stun duration right now. (one example I used to love doing was Leifang 2H+K into K. Now, unless the opponent does an impulse hold in stun, the K will not connect)

LOSS OF CRITICAL BURST, REDUCED THRESHOLD, & STANDARDIZED LAUNCH HEIGHTS:
In DOA5, a lot of the game plan revolved around how deep you can get someone into stun in order to score a Critical Burst or a level 3 launch height for a devastating juggle. This whole game plan is gone now, and the rules are reverted back to how they were in the DOA2-3 days.

When first playing the game I think DOA5 players will struggle quite a bit in this particular area, as they would be too invested in the ground game for a cash out that no longer exists.

I also noticed myself and other players going beyond the threshold quite a bit at first which led to inevitable knockdowns or threshold launches from moves that wouldn't normally cause a launch, till we got the hang of it being reduced and actually started to play DOA6 and not DOA5.

Don't get me wrong. The stun game is still very viable and there are still relatively safe ways to extend stun either by sit down stuns, limbo stuns, or the newly introduced Fatal Rush. However, opting for an early launch is now far more attractive since the launch height will not change, making it the safer option for guaranteed damage.

Again, I think the standardization of launch heights is another approach the team is taking to make the game easier to understand, as there was no indicator before to distinguish between the different launch height levels (except maybe threshold height when the critical stun sign goes red). The fixed height makes the juggles cleaner and more clear cut.

Just for the record, character weight classes still seem intact.

BUFFED FREE STEPPING, BUFFED SIDESTEP:
Movement in DOA6 has received a significant buff. It seems that free stepping will play a more valuable role in the neutral game than before. linear attacks seem to miss their mark more often if the opponent correctly evades them, leaving the attacker more open to a punish. This change isn't as drastic as Soul Calibur VI's 8-way run, but it is noticeable,

Sidestepping in particular seems to travel a lot more now. In many instances in "The Colosseum" stage, I found my self punishing (or being punished) by a sidestep attack which lead to hitting the opponent into a rope bounce and a guaranteed combo from behind. Another use for the new sidestep travel was that it seemed to function as a really good "shut up" move vs. characters coming in from far away with a long range attack.

THE "S" BUTTON, THE METER & THE NEW GIMMICKS:
I'm sure most of you are concerned about this whole S button business and what impact it has on the game, and whether it is too invasive. Well, after almost 3 days of playing this game, I can confidently say that no it is not. In fact, I think its awesome!

for those who do not know, the "S" button is simply a macro of H+P+K and is the button used for all the new gimmicks.
- Pressing 2/8S is the new and universal SIDESTEP command. Pressing it again during sidestep will give you the SIDESTEP ATTACK. However, unlike DOA5, the sidestep attacks this time around only function as "get off me" mechanics and not as stun starters. They do however serve as a valuable tool to trigger some stage situations as I have mentioned earlier. (at first this felt very foreign to me as I was used to pressing P or K after the sidestep, but then it just made sense and I got used to it).

- Pressing Neutral S will trigger the first attack in the FATAL RUSH chain. The fatal rush chain is done by pressing SSSS, all of which are unholdable by a conventional hold with the exception of the first attack as the opponent is placed in a new type of stun called FATAL STUN. It is always a high attack, unsafe on block, and cannot be followed up on whiff or on block. We know all this.

But, is it invasive? does it take away from the character individuality as most of us feared? I don't really think so. First of all, its a high attack, holable, crushable, easily whiffable by a low hold, and from the character's I've tried, hardly has any range to bait it from far away. Secondly, it hardly does any worthwhile damage on its own. Thirdly, meter builds up quite quickly in this game that there is almost always enough meter to stop it with a break hold (the only way to get out of a fatal stun). so it might not be as worth it all the time as people might think. which brings me to the next new mechanic.

- Pressing 4S will give you a BREAK HOLD, which is a universal hold that beats out all heights. It costs half a meter and it doesn't do any damage, but it serves as a situation reset tool. this was probably one of my biggest worries going into DOA6, but I soon learned to love this mechanic and the reasoning behind it. As, I mentioned earlier it is the only defensive tool in fatal stun, but it is also a valuable asset to have when you're in a tight situation as it would beat all strike options. I particularly found it useful when my life was low and my opponent was going for a wake up attack, or when I'm put in a crazy mix up by Helena going into Bokuho stance or Honoka going into her newly buffed Burning Soul stance. Having that break hold in those situations was great! It is however as vulnerable as a regular hold to hi counter throws. So be careful.

It is also worth mentioning that Break Hold does not beat Fatal Rush when it is used as a juggle (obviously).

But again, is this mechanic invasive? is it broken? Hardly. because it costs meter. And meter management is really valuable in this game. which brings us to the next point.

- Pressing 6S will give you a BREAK BLOW. This mechanic costs a whole meter and can be done either raw, or automatically replaces the last hit of a fatal rush (be it on the ground or in a juggle). Unlike powerblows in DOA5, this new mechanic functions as a "SABAKI" that beats out any High or Mid Strikes. So, it can be used both defensively and offensively. However, being a sabaki, this means it has hold frames in its start up making it vulnerable to a "Hi Counter Throw", so be careful. it also loses clean to Low strikes which is something to bare in mind when an opponent has a full meter and is waiting to stuff your attacks.

- another property of the break blow is the BREAK BLOW CANCEL. This is done by pressing H after the Break Blow hits. Think of it as an FADC in SFIV when you spend your meter to further extend your combo. How does this come into play ? well....

As I mentioned earlier, landing a Fatal Rush will put your opponent in a Fatal Stun which they cannot get out of except via Break Hold. this means that you can opt for S, SS, SSS into a semi guaranteed launcher to further extend your combo (depending on the character). If your launch is high enough you can even use your Fatal Rush of a "guaranteed" SSSS combo, and if you had a full meter, you would end with a "guaranteed" break blow. Here's where things get interesting. If you choose to do a BREAK BLOW CANCEL at that point, then the opponent is placed again in a Fatal Stun state and is vulnerable again to another combo extension via launcher! However, you need to be careful when doing this, as the opponent is back on their feet and can punish that relaunch with a Break Hold if they have the meter.

Meter management is really important and is actually super fun. Because if you go crazy and land a monster combo by burning that whole meter, you better make sure it gives you the round, otherwise you're not gonna have any defensive options for a while should you get hit with a fatal rush. On the other hand you can Abuse situations where Break Hold is needed and drain your opponent's meter till he no longer has any defensive options, THEN go for the monster combo.

It is also worth mentioning that Break Hold does not get you out of situations that are Truly Guaranteed, such as Sit down Stuns, Limbo Stuns, getting hit from behind, or stage dangerzones. So, there are still really deadly "True Guaranteed" Combos.

THE GROUND GAME:
I decided to mention this last as I think this is one of the major concerns the community has. As many have pointed before me, it seems that the whole force tech gimmick has been taken away.

at first I thought that this was a major setback. But as I started to get used to what DOA6 was about and how aggressive it can get (particularly with the new Fatal Rush system and increased emphasis on stage utilization), I stated to see why they opted to nerf the ground game. Simply put, it would have been too much. The game is already crazy and has a lot to offer in terms of damage and pressure. So having the situation reset after knockdown made sense for both sides to take a little breather.

For the record, it was still possible to beat out wake up kicks clean by certain moves just like before.

THE STAGES:
Simply put, DOA6's stages are insane. Positioning and stage utilization is far more important than ever before. Almost every corner has something going on that can lead to a combo extension. In some situations it might be guaranteed like explosions or breakable objects, and in others it can open up a mix-up situation like ropes or being thrown back into the fight by the cheering crowd in "The Throwdown".

because the way the combo system and the character's have been re-designed, you will notice that almost every character can now carry you all the way to the edges of the stage, so you really need to know what to do if you want to get that guaranteed damage. This happens so often now you will forget critical burst even existed.


THE CHARACTERS:
For the most part, the character's move sets have been preserved from DOA5, with a few tweaks here and there for each character, plus mix up options have increased in particular situations. I think this is mainly to play on the fact that you now have a universal hold option with BREAK HOLD that you can use when in a pinch.

One thing I noticed while playing was that character strength now will most likely be defined by how much they can carry you to the edge of the stage and how much they can capitalize on the situation when they do. At first glance I felt that the ninjas (particularly Ayane), as well as maybe Diego, were really good at this. But, as I came to understand the game's new mechanics and the changes done to the characters, it seems that almost everyone has the ability to do this. It's just a matter of figuring out how.

I did mess around with all the characters in the build, but I will focus on the ones I spent most time with.

*LEIFANG*
- Lost her guaranteed follow up after Unshu Throw .. (I'm not bothered. With the way the game plays now, it actually seems logical).. now it is a regular mix up state.
- 214P new move functions as a Sabaki vs. MID and LOW PUNCHES only. it has a low profile so it also crushes highs... (its disgusting, I love it lol)
- 1PK new variation to 1PP. Leads to a lift stun. Delicious.
- 2P+KK (the K is guaranteed and leads to crumple stun). can wall splat.
- 3P4P now guarantees P+K Launcher
(All over, she feels great)

*KASUMI*
- 9PK.P and 66KP. new follow up causing bound (can be followed up by pp6p6K) also allows juggle extension if done after launcher.
- 66PK hits mid, knocks down or slams into stage shenanigans. nasty. you cant duck anymore to avoid the 66PP lol
(Overall she feels great. I like her a lot more than i did in DOA5. her new strings really help with the whole opponent carrying gameplan I mentioned earlier)

*MARIE ROSE*
- 3PP new string extension
- PP2K new animation. the 2K looks like her BT 2K (very low profile hurtbox)
- 66H+K hits 3 times. looks like leifang's 9KKK. causes launch.
(still fun as hell. very easy to utilize her Fatal Rush in juggles)

*HONOKA*
- 3P+K4, 4PP4, 7PP all new ways to enter burning soul.
- Burning soul is now insane. has every option now (High, Mid P, Mid K, Low, Throw). Super fun. Its situations like this where Break Hold comes in Handy.
(she's far more interesting now)

*AYANE*
- (BT)8KH is an awesome bait move. great to score a Hi Counter Throw.
(feels and functions more or less the same. but then again she was always a force to be reckoned with. she works really well with the DOA6 game plan)

*JANN LEE*
- KKK new animation. last K functions like his 66K

*HITOMI*
- 3PK (new string)
- 214KPP new ender causing knockdown.

*DIEGO*
It was obvious that his move set was incomplete, but his design is far more interesting to me now after trying him out.
He's very aggressive. Really pushes the opponent forward into whatever.
- 214P gives a ground bounce from mid screen.
- 4PP causes a fall down stun
- 236P (chargable). really hurts.
- PP6PP (I think this is the correct notation). Last P is chargable. looks like his 236P. Great for that extra bit of damage during juggles.
- 7PPH+P combo into throw on hit. looks painful.
He's obviously incomplete. But, I feel he will only get better as the game reaches its final phases. looking forward to him.


FINAL THOUGHTS:
Honestly the game feels absolutely great. I never thought they could top DOA5's mechanics in my mind, but they did it. The matches are fast paced, and it feels fresh and new with just the right amount of old school DOA2-3 neutral game. The extra layer of strategy with the new meter system is a lot of fun and doesn't break the flow of the game at all. Plus, the game is just so.... PRETTY!

I can't believe I'm saying this. But, I don't think I can play DOA5 anymore. DOA6 is just that much better.

SHOUT OUTS:
- I'd like to thank all the players who came by and sat down to learn the mechanics at the booth with me. it was a ton of fun to do. :)
- I'd like to thank @Mesharey from Kuwait for dropping by and sparring with me for 2 whole days and helping me figure out the new mechanics and what DOA6 is all about.
- I'd like to thank my buddy GoroHazuki who dropped by the last day to show support and play some matches (and pull off an 18 hit Helena combo out of his ass lol).
- I'd like to thank Sahil and the Geekay Group MEA for accommodating us in their booth and making sure everything was running smoothly all the time.
- I'd like to thank the EU community manager Simon for his support of the region and getting the ball rolling.
- and finally, I'd like to thank @MASTER for providing the hookups and masterminding it all from the shadows like a true ninja.



P.S: I will be uploading some footage of our matches soon on my youtube so stay tuned (just need to make sure its clean enough since its all recorded from my phone and the venue was super loud)
 
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just_me

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#3
Just for the record, character weight classes still seem intact.
Did you look into this further? Do you think it's still like DoA5, or did they streamline the system a bit?

I think having two (maybe three) clearly distinct weight classes is a good thing for depth and balance, but DoA5 classes were way too messy.
Too many, not enough difference and too arbitrarily assigned.

I know that this is hard to figure out in the limited time you had with the game, especially since… well DoA5 was a mess in that regard, but maybe you have some further insight.
 

EMPEROR_COW

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Momiji
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EMPER0R C0W
#5
Did you look into this further? Do you think it's still like DoA5, or did they streamline the system a bit?

I think having two (maybe three) clearly distinct weight classes is a good thing for depth and balance, but DoA5 classes were way too messy.
Too many, not enough difference and too arbitrarily assigned.

I know that this is hard to figure out in the limited time you had with the game, especially since… well DoA5 was a mess in that regard, but maybe you have some further insight.
still seems the same .. kasumi is lighter than hayate who is lighter than bayman


@human013 she seemed fine to me. better than before. but I'm not sure if that is due to changes to her specifically or the new mechanics
 
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Darkslay

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#8
YES! I knew the BB cancel would shoot the combo potential up to the roof! Once people understand how important it is for you to manage your resources, they'll see how much crazier the meta is going to become. Now, I do have to ask, do you feel the current 2 gauge standard is fair? Or do you think bumping it to 3 would make it better?

Sad that you didn't explore more into JL stuff, he has way more than just KKK that's new, lol.
 

Macca Beam

Well-Known Member
#9
good news about the removal of stagger escape. even though it's useful, i never quite enjoyed autistically shaking my controller to do so

i've been playing 5 to lube up for this but looks like i'll stop

tag mode died for the new H+P+K =(
 

EMPEROR_COW

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Momiji
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#13
Good stuff EC, I enjoyed reading it.

I was worried about the game, specially the removal of CB, but after playing it's really tons of fun and confident that it's good.
Yeah it was an awesome experience, and now I can't wait to play it. It makes SCVI look so... anemic .. haha

Do unholdable stuns work the same way as they do in DOA5? I would image characters having more opportunities for guaranteed damage because slow escaping is gone.
Yes as mentioned in the article, unholdables are the same. And ur absolutely right, with loss of stagger, guaranteeds have slightly increased. But the best option after them remains launchers, especially since the launch height is standardized and threshold is decreased.


YES! I knew the BB cancel would shoot the combo potential up to the roof! Once people understand how important it is for you to manage your resources, they'll see how much crazier the meta is going to become. Now, I do have to ask, do you feel the current 2 gauge standard is fair? Or do you think bumping it to 3 would make it better?

Sad that you didn't explore more into JL stuff, he has way more than just KKK that's new, lol.
2bar feels perfect. Just enough for break hold and blow to function the way they should.
 
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UncleKitchener

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#14
I like the changes. I feel like I can get more people to play the game than before. I really couldn't get a lot of people because people really don't like stun and building into launch because they really didn't need to stick with the game with Bamco games keeping it more simple, but now you can give people a game that's different and doesn't attempt to shove too much on your lap and expect you to do the maths.
 
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EMPEROR_COW

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Momiji
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EMPER0R C0W
#16
Great write up. Admittedly some bits are a bit redundant since Matt already covered them in his article. But still great nonetheless. Looking forward to those match videos.
The reason I had to go about things from scratch is that I needed to understand things myself if that makes sense. Up to this day I was very skeptical about the changes. and I really felt this super meter and S button business were extremely invasive and took away from the core of what made DOA special. I was so pleasantly surprised to be wrong about all that. DOA6 is probably the best evolution of the game we could ask for. It shows so much promise.
 

Matt Ponton

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#17
Great write up. Admittedly some bits are a bit redundant since Matt already covered them in his article. But still great nonetheless. Looking forward to those match videos.
I think the fact two separate people reported the same things, ideas, and feelings from separate playthroughs further emphasizes those style and play changes that they came away with.

So while it might be redundant, it's more of a confirmation to me.
 

d3v

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#19
I think the fact two separate people reported the same things, ideas, and feelings from separate playthroughs further emphasizes those style and play changes that they came away with.

So while it might be redundant, it's more of a confirmation to me.
Well I was referring to more of the mechanical specifics, such as being able to Break Blow Cancel, over any personal impressions.
 
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