In this Tekken spin-off, you control assassin Nina Williams as she fights to take down terrorist organization/evil corporation Kometa. She infiltrated a luxury cruise ship, Amphitrite, as a fighter in an illegal fighting tournament. The mission was to find out more about this organization, and two other CIA operatives were sent onboard the cruiser. Nina was but a support member of the team, not to take anything in her own hands unless her colleagues fail. Yet, when she is taken captive, and receives the news of mission failed, she's about to take matters into her own hands, and do what she's trained to do... sweep off the decks.
Nina must make her way through a large cruise ship, finding keys and scanning prints to gain access to more areas while using stealth to avoid the guards. When stealth fails, the game's more unique aspects come into play. Although game uses 3rd-person perspective, on certain occasions it switches to 1st-person view such as when using a sniper rifle, swimming underwater, or crawling the ducts.
Death by Degrees uses analog sticks to perform the attacks. The left stick moves Nina, and make her dodge when tapped instead of moved gradually, while the right stick makes her attack in whatever direction it is tapped, so attacks can be executed in any direction. Blocks are executed by holding the right stick toward the enemy at the precise moment of attack. In fights, you can disable enemies quickly with precisely-aimed bone-breaking maneuvers. When executed correctly, the game switches to an x-ray views to bone crushing a bit more enhanced then it was done in Rogue Ops. You can lock camera over your shoulder in most of the areas, which then allows you to freely rotate the camera while Nina is constantly in her running mode. Beside martial arts, she can use variety of melee weapons like knives, batons, swords, and such, as well as pistols, machine guns, and other firearms. As you defeat opponents, you gain points which serves you to upgrade already rich plethora of moves and attacks.