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SYFY WIRE Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

Gaming: Dead or Alive 6 arrives; New hope for EA’s Star Wars; Kingdom Hearts reloads

By Benjamin Bullard
Dead or Alive 6 via official site 2019

It’s brutal, it’s quirky, and in a way, it’s a throwback to a style of fighting game that others in the genre have long left behind — yep, it’s Dead or Alive 6, and it’s finally here, after a six-year wait between installments.

Toned down (but only slightly) from the controversial skin parade that the series in famous for, KOEI Tecmo’s new brawler arrived this week to mostly solid reviews, with few arguing DOA’s tight fighting mechanics have ever felt better. And in a gaming world where most graphics shoot for photorealism, DOA 6 strikes a neat balance between current-gen fidelity and a more old-school anime vibe —and it’s kind of a smack in the face of fresh air. 

Check out the over-the-top launch trailer, which thankfully isn’t short on pterodactyls, takedowns, and incomprehensibly goofy sci-fi backdrops:

Fighting games get a lot of mileage out of being silly when they aren’t being bloody (though the two go together like chocolate and peanut butter.) So if the two-month wait for Mortal Kombat 11’s flavor of silly-bloodiness can’t come soon enough, here’s the fighting game that can tide you over and then some. Dead or Alive 6 is out now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

There’s been no shortage of hand-wringing over EA Games’ recent handling of its Star Wars license, with a long-developing AAA game from (by turns) Uncharted director Amy Hennig and EA Vancouver getting the axe earlier this year. 

With only a mysterious game called Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order left on the near horizon, and little information to go on, fans who remember the glory days of The Old Republic and (with more controversy) Star Wars Battlefront haven’t exactly been optimistic lately about what to expect when details on Fallen Order finally begin to drop.

But perhaps there’s a new hope behind all the Star Wars gaming shakeups: writer Chris Avellone, an alum of narrative powerhouses like Fallout: New Vegas and, more topically, Knights of the Old Republic II, revealed this week he’s been involved in Fallen Order, that his work is finished, and, via the Star Wars website, that April 13 is when we’ll be learning a whole lot more about the project. 

For fans who remember KOTOR’s canon-like RPG narrative beats, Avellone’s involvement comes as welcome news. In a tweet, he also teased that “there's another big bomb dropping in a month! Er, I mean, maybe,” but it’s not clear if that tidbit is Fallout-related, Star Wars-related, or a tease for something else entirely. 

In the meantime, all we know about next month’s Fallen Order reveal is that, according to the announcement, “gamers will meet a Padawan who survived Order 66 and explore the galaxy in the time after the fall of the Jedi Order.” Keep your fingers crossed: maybe the Force is with this one.

Square Enix must not have anticipated the loop of positive feedback it would get on the strength of Kingdom Hearts III sales, because it’s had to scramble to keep up with demand for a KH-themed bundle it debuted last year; a North America-only one-off whose main purpose — aside from making money — was to fit in all the series’ labyrinthine lore into one tidy, convenient package. 

Kingdom Hearts – The Story So Far sold like hotcakes when it hit U.S. store shelves last October, cramming in nine previously-released Kingdom Hearts games to catch up both veteran players and newcomers on the series’ head-spinning backstory. Physical copies of the bundle sold out completely before the arrival of Kingdom Hearts III, which itself would go on to move a record-breaking 5 million copies in its first week.

With numbers like that, it’s not surprising that demand for the backstory, along with all things Sora, Donald, and Goofy, has only shot up even further. And if you missed out on snagging a physical copy before The Story So Far sold out, you’re in luck: Square Enix announced this week it’s finished making more, and the bundle is back on sale in the U.S. In addition to the two mainline titles, the package includes the latest remasters of nearly every KH-related release in the franchise’s storied 17-year history. 

Kingdom Hearts – The Story So Far is available (once again) for PlayStation 4, while Kingdom Hearts III is out now for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.