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It''s a shame really, such a trivial little thing can ruin a reputation for so long. It was around 10 years ago that game developers Tempco got desperate in their attempts to compete with beat-em-up giants Namco and Sega. The game in question was Dead Or Alive, an interesting little fighting game that combined the Virtual Fighter engine with a complex countering system, the first, very basic, interactive arenas, and some lightning fast gameplay that would have gone completely unnoticed if not for the fact that Temco decided to include some giant bouncing breasts. (sadly you did read that correctly) It was nothing more offensive that the average Carry On joke really, and when they combined it with a series of unlockable thong bikinis it did sort of sell well to teenage boys. Unfortunately, I was one of the few teenage boys who really did want the game for the fighting, but my parents were having none of it.
Now Dead Or Alive has reached it''s fourth incarnation. Team Ninja have worked tirelessly in perfecting the gameplay to appeal to hard core gamers rather than button bashers. The bikinis themselves have been gone since game 2 (they did return for a little Volleyball on the beach, but that really was just one for the teenage boys) and the bouncing breasts have been reduced to a barely noticeable in joke. It''s too late now though, the damage has been done, and everyone now assumes that all Dead Or Alive players are dirty old men looking for a few cheap thrills from a high definition game. Shame really as Dead Or Alive really does deserve to be the gamers choice. It''s faster paced than Virtual Fighter, more Tactical than Tekken, and punishes random button bashing fiercely.
The basic game mechanics are the same as previous titles. One button works for punching, one button works for kicking, a third button works for the basic throws, and the final button is the "free button" that when used correctly produces a devastating counter attack. This is where the Dead Or Alive series differs from other fighting games, because while new players can still produce some effective combos with random button bashing, the more experienced players will still win out by grabbing a leg mid combo and stamping on their opponents face. The trick is to know where the attack is coming from. In Dead Or Alive 4 this is even more important as the counter system has been honed to the point where you will only succeed if you hit counter at the exact same second as your opponent hits attack. The only way to do this is to keep your head clear. Try to observe your opponents playing style, look for repeat attacks/combos, or any holes in their offense, and then utilize them to your advantage.
Of course your opponent is going to be making the exact same plans, and so a skillful offense will be just as important to master. You need to mix it up a little. You can use combos, but you can''t really rely on them alone. Try to switch between a characters different fighting stances; try to fake out your opponent by stopping mid combo and hitting them as they counter thin air; heck if you see an opening try throwing your opponent with the occasional "cheap" move, but again don''t expect to abuse these moves as every move in the game is counterable if you have both the skill and the patience. You''ve probably heard others slating the game for the inexperienced players who abuse these moves for a cheap win, and I can assure you that anyone losing to them is losing because they are not good enough to stop the move, not because of any advantage a poor player has with these moves.
If all of this sounds a little complicated to you then I can assure you that it is, at least at first. Therein lies the beauty of Dead Or Alive 4. The only way to understand the depth of the game is to practice it, and eventually anyone can go from defense to offense with the lightning speed of a Jet Li movie.
In terms of the overall package I would definitely say that Tempo have done a decent job here. The basic mode is the story mode where you choose your fighter, battle your way through a string of opponents until you reach the final boss. Midway through each character will have a selection of cut scenes telling their story, and at the end it all gets tied up in a nicely shot CGI sequence. Some of these can be cute, others such as Zac''s are hilariously surreal, but when you reach the main players (Ninjas and the like) you will see the amount of heart that has gone into the Dead Or Alive back story, and the efforts put in to tieing it up here.
Other game modes include the classics survival and time attack; in both single and tag team forms, team battle and a sparring mode. It''s nothing you haven''t seen before but the X-Box live achievements do add a significant replay value to most of them. What impressed me the most with the single player though was the advanced A.I system. Finally the computer will try to learn your attack patterns, counter you with increased regularity, and if given the opportunity will juggle you (hit you into the air and then keep hitting) until the cows come home. It forces you to put the same skill and care into a single player game that you would have previously put into fighting other humans.
Of course the real depth to this new Dead Or Alive game will only ever be found on X-box live. See I never had this on my old X-Box so I had no idea what I was missing out on. However it''ll be the Internet play that ultimately decides your future with Dead Or Alive 4. Like all beat-em-ups this game is primarily a multi player game, and with the ability to play it online you can now find a wealth of human opponents without trying to talk all of your mates into getting together to play games. Ultimately the online portion of Dead Or Alive will be where your practice will come in handy. The problem is that you''ll need a lot of practice. Team Ninja have never been interested in producing games that anyone can play, they like to challenge the elite of gamers above anyone else. That''s not to say that regular people can''t enjoy Dead Or Alive, I certainly do and I''m still a grade C gamer (whoops just lost like 30 matches in a row to a better guy, now I''m a D). It''s just that you need the right attitude going in. Try to be the best and you better be the best or you''ll hate the game, but make it a point of searching for players in your skill range and you''ll most certainly have fun, so long as you don''t expect any of the victories to be handed to you.
That''s not to say that the online portion is perfect. Far from it. As with any game this fast paced a very fast connection is a requirement if you want to avoid getting lagged. You''re best bet is to search for players that live in the same country as you, and pray that nobody with a poor connection enters the lobby from further afield. Still, the amount of lag is no where near as bad as it could be, and if you don''t mind being choosey about who you play it shouldn''t be a problem.
The other aspect of the game that demands consideration is, of course, it''s cast of characters. Personally I was well pleased in this regard. There are initially 16 characters to choose from, with a further six you can open up later. Yet all of these characters remain balanced in their own respective fields. You have the fast combo heavy ninjas like Ayane, the more balanced characters like Jan Lee, and of course the big power hungry brutes like Bass. For first time players it will appear that only a few characters are worthwhile, but once you start getting better and developing your own style you''ll find different characters to be perfect. I''ve even seen people become unstoppable with Bass, despite the general consensus being that he is useless. All in all this would have to be the most balanced cast of fighters since the original Street Fighter 2.
Shame that the same can''t be said for the games arenas. Now I missed Dead Or Alive Ultimatum on the Xbox (only DOA fighter I didn''t play) and as a result some of these advancements are new to me. I still like the way Tempco allow you to interact with the environment. For instance, my favorite stage features a fight on a rope bridge, but you''ll quickly find yourself kicking your opponent off the bridge, causing them to crash down hard on the bottom, and continue the fight in the river below with all sorts of tree branches and stones to throw each other against. Other levels feature shops where you can throw each other through displays, and even a big mansion full of endless windows . I like this because, again, it forces tactics as you try to move the fight in the right direction to get your enemy into a danger zone, while trying to avoid getting cornered if you miss. Sadly, there are a few levels that feature random environmental damage. You know getting hit by a car on the road, or attacked by a wild animal in the jungle. In single player it''s a cute enough gimmick, but in multi player I find it does cheapen things. I''ve had matches where I''d be playing against a clearly better opponent, and just as he goes to finish me he gets hit by a car and I steal the victory. I''ve never lost a match in this way, but whenever I win like it I never feel satisfied.
Aesthetically though the game is a tour de force. The graphics in this game have to be seen to be believed. Some people gripe that the character models look very last gen, which is not really true at all. In terms of the slightly detailed, anime nature of the characters there''s not that much more you can do. However in Dead Or Alive 4 the other areas have been improved upon 10 fold. Clothes sway realistically in the wind, hair flows as the characters fight, and the texture mapping on these costumes is unbelievable. In the environments you will see some wonderful lighting effects, the best water effects ever, and again the detailed textures used to create the various arenas so realistically. Thanks to the slightly smaller levels the draw distance is never a problem, and clipping is limited to a few pieces of hair that you will never be able to notice during the high speed bouts.
In the audio department you mostly get what you''d expect. The over the top grunts go hand in hand with the over the top ninja fights perfectly. Appropriate characters like Zac and Bass have the requisite hilarious voices, and everything you would really expect to hear is present and correct. Then the music kicks in. Tempco have gone to great lengths in order to fit the music with the game, even getting the rights to songs by Aerosmith for the main theme and ending scenes. Even the lyrics are important if you want to understand the story, and the necessary emotions, whether they be laughter or tears, are always provided by the perfectly selected music.
All in all I would definitely recommend Dead Or Alive 4 to anyone who is serious about their gaming. It''s hard, but the rewards for perseverance are well worthwhile. Of course if you don''t think you''ll be putting the time in to learn the game then I wouldn''t even recommend renting it for the perfect presentation, because you, and most people admittedly, are not part of the games target audience.
This is a very good fighter like the others in the series, great graphics great animation great interface. However it has to be said that if you are going to go online youre going to have to know every move on every character and how to counter (which i cant figure out out how to do effectively).
There are some stupidly hard tasks and combos DOA4 asks of you, but if youre like me and stick to the easy combos you CAN COMPLETE everything on single player, despite other people moaning about it. Its not that hard when you get used to it. It IS stressful however when you come back to it after a while and you forget all the good combos for each character, just remember yor new tv and xbox 360 costs a lot of money and you DONT want to hit it, ive bought a stress ball to stop me doing this (ive also got a smiley face cushion that i punch aswell). Leave your hardware alone when playing any fighter.
This is the original staple fighter for the Xbox 360, and even after years, I still come back to play it now and again with friends, the Tag team and getting the last hit in is great fun. The online community has dried up quite fast and is almost non-existent, but as mentioned earlier, I never saw it as the selling point of this game, or in fact very fun to play online. It is in many respects though, a very standard fighter with unlockables and competition ladder single player modes, it would have been nice to see something along the lines of the Mortal Kombat free roaming worlds, though, i suppose thats what Ninja Gaiden fills in for. Eye candy is a word that would describe this game well.
I am not a big fan of beat em up fighting games but I thought I would give this game a spin. As I was new to the series I didnt quite follow much of the characters and their individual plots but concentrated mostly on the action.
The game has a decent variety of characters who play and feel completely different. Each of them have their individual moves but there is no clear instruction on how to pull them off and I did struggle at first. However once I did get familiar I managed to improve. The difficulty I still felt was very hard but it could be just beause I am new to this.
The levels were nice to see and had some good enviroments. The graphics were a little cartoony in my opinion but its quite possible it was meant to in the first place. Some half decent soundtrack was present as well.
The game was a little frustrating to start of with but then got good but it lost its appeal soon enough and I had to put it away. The multiplayer experience might be great for a veteran but for a newbie to tis genre I got beaten up a lot. My highlight of the game however was unlocking a spartan from the halo series which was fun to see.
A naturally good game that follows the rest of this series well. It sticks to it's roots by keeping most of the original characters but adds in some new ones to mix things up a bit. This game has amazing graphics and also a wide range or people to use in gameplay. It's 4 Player local mode is brilliant for having a good team match without having to connect to xbox live however, if you want that extra thrill of playing against the pros this game allows you to connect up easily and battle the best. The arenas are well designed however, not many are available in Multiplayer which is a bit of a dissapointment but bearable. I feel that this is a very good game and i see no reason that anyone who enjoyed the rest of this series or any other series should dislike this games. VERY WELL MADE!
Dead Or Alive four is a fighting game for the Microsoft Xbox 360 console.
This game has all of your favourite characters, or the dead or alive girls and a couple of guys make it into this game. There are some additions to the roster are like a Spartan from the halo universe.
Button mashing in this game will only get you so far, you have to master the tricky counter system, once that is done the game will be much easier however the computer opponents are still punishingly difficult.
The graphics in this game are amazing, some of the best you will see on the Xbox 360 console, and this game is almost three years old!
This is one of the first fighting games to have an online mode, the fighting is good but sometimes you can get lag which severely disrupts the flow of the game.
You can get this game for around 15 to 20 pounds, if you like fighting games don't pass this one up.
Wow! That's all I can really say to start of this review. As an avid hater of fighting games, I decided to pick this up because of my friends' recommendation.
I normally hate fighting games, due to having to learn a LOT of buttons to pull off even the simpler moves, this game is similar, but every move just seems easier to pull off, and you can get by with just knowing the basic of moves.
The one word that I would use to describe this game is addictive - this is mainly due to the counter system, the single best part of the game. If you become REALLY good, you know which move is coming next so you can 'counter' it (this involves pressing the counter button along with a direction) - and it's this system which makes you want to play more to learn each characters moves so you can counter them when you play against them.
Amazing game, counter system will definitely keep you hooked.
I've always loved the Dead Or Alive series, but I have to say DOA4 just is the ultimate in beat-em-up games. A bold statement, but I stand by it completely.
The gameplay is SO smooth and natural, with the most complex and sophisticated system of blocking I've ever seen, with hits making the character reel back slightly against blocked fists, rather than just clanging off unnaturally. The moves are also unreal, with a wide range of classic punch-kick combos yet also complicated teleport/grab moves, or nicely executed taunts.
Despite how overwhelming all that sounds, the game still doesn't alienate the button-basher. You don't need to have completed all the training and immersed yourself in the manual to enjoy (or even be successful at) at multi-player for a fun evening in
The tag team mode is also just wonderfully fluid and enjoyable.
The graphics are stunning (if you can keep your eyes off the ridiculously exaggerated busty heroines), and some of the scenery is just uncomparable to anything I've seen in a fighting game before...yet it doesn't distract from gameplay (yes, even the level where you're inexplicably fighting amongst dinosaurs).
Online multi-player is also great fun, but is occasionally ruined by hardcore players who switch off their console on the verge of defeat so as not to blemish their records, which is not sporting and very irritating. It can also be slightly laggy if you're playing with someone from abroad, although I find this helps nail difficult grabs with the extra time delay!
You've got an ace collection of unlockables, with old guests (sadly not Christie, which disappointed some fanboys) making an appearance, as well as new novelty characters like a female Halo Spartan.
I'm finding it very hard to fault it at all...but if something strikes me I'll edit it in ;)
This has to be one of my all time favs and this is also an xbox 360 classic.
This is your beat em up game with oh so many combos and also moving, interactive backgrounds. You can get kicked down the stairs and be hit by a car. I havent really seen this in any other beat em up games. The graphics are great and you can go online to prove how good you are!
I really like the graphics for this and think they are great especially the background.
Nice music that gets everything going and also you get to choose a charcter to be your system voice.
Xbox live is the most famous part of this game, you get to play all game modes such as tag, survival and its fast paced. You get a better rank the more you defeat and you also get to learn alot of new skills and meet new people!
You can pick it up and play it again and again either on live or with your friends or by yourself. I never got bored because its so fast paced and you get to string up alot of great combos and try out new moves.
A great game overall, buy it if you like beat em ups.
I am not a huge fan of beat em ups. Well not most of them. I grew up on Streat Fighter II on the SNES, as im sure a few people did. And that stands as one of my favourte games, and is at number one of my fighting games. However siting neatly at number 2 is dead or alive.
Theres no real storyline to it (but when is there in fighting games, ignoring Street Fighter II), but each character has a bacis premise as to why their fighting. The thing that i like about this game is its simplicity. One reason i dont like other fighting games is because to pull off a move that it worth anything, you have to press a dosen buttons in the right order, and before you get half way, the other player has already got there. In DOA you don't need any real experience in fighting, and the number of buttons you need to press to pull of some nice looking move is rather small. A beginner can easily look like a pro on this game. Another aspect of its greatness is the speed at which it plays at. Its all rather fast, and matches can be over very quickly.
Its not a particually deep fighting game, but that workds perfectly for me.
There's one thing you can't say to me-i don't like a good fighting game. Hell, Im not the kind of guy who loves Street Fighter or other 2D games like that, but if you say to me 'Play Tekken' then I won't resist. I love fighting games like Mortal Kombat, Soul Calibur, Def Jam and Dead or Alive. Yet, Microsoft has failed me. There's no Tekken game here, there won't be a Soul Calibur for maybe a year, and Mortal Kombat-who knows? There is Def Jam Icon, but that's not a whole lot. Also making its appearance on the 360 is Dead or Alive, with DOA4. It was released in January 2006, which means it was a launch title, technically. This is weird, because its predecessor, DOA3, was an Xbox launch title. And just like DOA3, DOA4 does showcase the graphical power of the 360. But do stunning visuals, beautiful ladies and Master Chief make this the best fighting game ever?
After a company called DOATEC losses its creator, it goes into a mess. But, the daughter of the creator, Helena, takes over. But, a group of ninjas called the Mugen Tenshin clan decide they need to destroy DOATEC as the company has somehow caused the Ninjas trouble. While all this is going on, a wicked creation that could destroy the world is evolving. Like most fighting games, you have to read the manual to discover any real plot to the game. The cutscenes, while stunning, don't make too much sense, and it doesn't really talk about the plot much. But, it doesn't really matter.
The controls are pretty much the same as DOA on the Xbox, thanks to how similar the controls are. You punch with the Y button, Kick with the B button, throw with the A button and block/counter with the X button. You can move your character with either the right analog stick or the D-Pad. Fighting with the D-Pad is fine, but it'll probably be better to use the stick instead. You use the bumpers to tag your partner in and to appeal. Overall, the controls are responsive and thanks to how the 360 controller is designed, fans of DOA 3/Ultimate will adapt to the controls quickly.
DOA4 at first will be very similar to Ultimate on the original Xbox. Its a game where countering and blocking is just as important as punching and kicking. Yet, as you play a little more, you'll notice some changes. The game feels more tactical feel, as the A.I. in the game are pretty tough. Also, the game feels even smoother than its predecessors, probably because of quick loading times and better frame-rates. But, most importantly, the moves for fighters have changed. This means DOA fans will love to learn all the moves for each character, and fans will need to get back to basics with the game. You can do either punches or kicks, high or low as well as in air or ducking. You can also grapple, which are powerful but hard to do. Each match is about you trying to knock out your enemy while trying to defend yourself against their brutality. One thing you'll notice is how fast paced the game is. On the normal setting, a three round match was over in a couple of minutes, which is pretty fast. Fighting is still easy to get into, but it's hard to master, thanks to hard A.I.
The roster of fighters here is about two dozen fighters of returning and new fighters. The new fighters are Kokoro, a martial artist who is best at open palm attacks, Eliot who's a teenager that is best at Mantis style moves and La Mariposa, who looks like a Mexican Luchador, and fights like one too. Returing are series vets are Ryu Hayabusa (star of Ninja Gaiden), Jann Lee, Tina, Kasumi and Ayane. Fans of the series will love these returns, but they'll also love that even the returning fighters have new moves. One character that many, many gamers will recognise (unless you live under a rock) is Master Chief. Yes, you can unlock Master Chief. He looks better than ever, yet is disappointing for some reasons. One is that you don't actually hear Master Chief speak, instead you have to hear Katana say 'That's how ladies do it' and other out-of-place phrases. Master Chief also has much less moves than other fighters in the game, meaning that this fighter isn't exactly the greatest. Overall, Master Chief feels gimmicky, not helped by an arena designed after the opening level of Halo 2. Fans of the series will enjoy playing as Chief, but anyone else will check it out and then leave it alone.
Another improvement is the levels in the game. Other games in the series have let you kick enemies down mountains or smash them through windows, but DOA4 adds more. Some levels have other ways of damaging your enemies. A level near a Las Vegas casino lets you push enemies in the way of oncoming cars, sending them flying into the air. Another level has lots of dinosaurs in the level, and sometimes they run across the fighting arena, so you can push enemies into them. Enemies can easily do this to you as well, meaning you can't cheat your way to victory by using the environments. The size of the levels varies, from huge levels like the Vegas one, to cramped ones like a Ninja's dojo. And, like before, you can throw enemies into walls, some electric powered, meaning for some huge explosions!
The modes in the game are pretty standard. The best is the story mode, no doubt about it. Basically, it's an eight match mode that increases in difficulty as you progress. Sounds like your standard arcade mode, right? Well, it does feature cutscenes. That's not new as well, but what makes the story mode really fun is that the whole mode is completely unpredictable. I never knew what was going to happen next, as one moment there was a brawl with two women fighting over a huge cabbage, yet there was another when a girl was about to be eaten by a dinosaur, only to be saved by a guy who took it out. Then the women came out with 'That's cruel', and they got into a fight. There were some truly ridiculous situations and it was pretty hysterical when something happened i wasn't expecting. That also happens with the endings, which can be completely different to what you think will happen. This makes it worth replaying, to find out every plot tie-in.
The other modes are pretty standard. But these are executed well. Survival constantly throws enemies after enemies at you, meaning it's faster paced than other game's survival modes like Tekken. It's also crazy because you're constantly fighting and fighting. It's worth replaying too, because of achievements for defeating an amount of enemies. Time attack sees how quickly you can complete the story mode, which is hard because of the tough enemy A.I. There are also tag matches, where you can play with the computer or friends. It's great for four players offline. There's also a sparring mode, which lets you practise using moves in the game against the computer. It's great for learning the new moves introduced to the game, and to get to grips with the game.
There's also online play here too, which was first introduced to the series on DOA Ultimate. The online play works as if you were in an arcade waiting for a fighting game. Basically, when there's no matches available for play, you can wait in a lobby. There are different types of lobbies and avatars, like squids and a land full of candy. It's very goofy, but it gets old quickly. But hey, it's better than sitting there staring at a 'there's not match available now' screen. You can create matches, and while your first one is free, you'll need to spend credits earned by defeating other players online. When you can get a match, it can be pretty intense as people must be edgy to fight after waiting. Unfortunately, there was some lag here and there, but it never got too overpowering.
The enemy A.I. is very good, which is both a good and bad thing. It certainly adds challenge, but it adds too much challenge. The A.I. is very aggressive, beating you down whenever they can. Plus, they reverse your moves quite a lot, meaning it can feel like the game is cheating you. Its not impossible to complete the story mode with every character, but it'll be a struggle to. Plus, the default setting doesn't have any lower settings before it, meaning you're stuck with the hard difficulty. One thing that you'll notice about the game is that if you play with a strategy, you'll do well. If you counter, outsmart the enemy by not repeating the same moves then you're doing well.
The game is rated 16+, which is a higher rating than DOA3. Does that mean it's more adult than the previous game? Definitely. One character actually may as well be naked. Basically, all she wears on the upper half is a very small jacket, which barely covers he breasts. Very rude! Plus, other characters wear things like only bras on their upper half. That means the game retains its sexual references of its predecessor, but worse. The game also has violence, but it's pretty minor because there's no blood in the game. But, because of the sexual references, Im not sure I would let anyone under the recommended age play it.
Graphically, Dead or Alive is one of the 360s best looking games. This is mostly due to the game's beautiful environments. The game has some stunning environments, like an outside of a Vegas Casino, a lush jungle, a hill with dinosaurs on it and more. They look stunning, thanks to beautiful textures and lighting. Theres also some beautiful animation, as translations between moves is spot on. There's a couple of rough spots in the game, like the flowing hair of characters really doesn't animate well, and looks like ribbons than strands of hair. There's also clipping and other odd issues. What is mostly disappointing about the graphics is the character models. They look like dolls and figures, with unrealistic skin colour and a lack of detail like facial complexions. Still, the clothes they wear look stunning, as little details like the shining parts of La Mariposa's outfit, and other such remarkable details make outfits look impressive, making the skin models easier to forgive. Plus, with brilliant environments and other details, with little load times, who cares? Like it's predecessors, 4 boasts some incredible cutscenes. The in-engine cutscenes look excellent, thanks to smooth animation and nice motion blurring. But, these don't hold a candle to the drop dead gorgeous CG cutscenes played after you complete the story. They are beautiful, if a little blurry. They almost take over Square Enix's beautiful CG work in games like Final Fantasy.
The sound is great. Like DOA3, the voice acting is all done in Japanese (aside from Master Chief) with English subtitles. Unfortunately, most of the people are from other places like America and Russia, which makes it unrealistic. It would have been nice to hear them speak their native language. The game's announcer is great, thanks to the sheer enthusiasm they bring. The effects are pretty much recycled from the original, but because they're great anyways they sound good still. The music is great, with mostly fast techno tracks. Areosmith is still here though, which is annoying. Oh, and you'll hear a song that has themes from the Halo song.
-(The Replay Value)-
The game's value is much better than DOA3, thanks to online play. But even if you don't have Xbox Live, you'll still get great value here. If you don't have Live you have the six hour single player mode and other modes. The achievements give value too, with achievements like 'spend five and ten hours with the game' or beat every character's story mode. If you have Live, you could boost the hours of gameplay time much longer.
Replay Value= 9
Overall Score= 8.8
-(The Ending Comments)-
Dead or Alive 4 is the best fighting game on the 360, and not just because there's little competition on the 360. Its fast, looks stunning, sounds great and has superb value. If you love series then you'll do better with this than the crappy volleyball game on the 360. And if you love fighting games and need something for your 360, then you can't do wrong with this. However, if you don't like fighting games, the game's hard difficulty will put you off and, obviously, if you hate hard games then steer clear.
-(The Extra Info)-
This was published by Tecmo and developed by Team Ninja
This was released on January 27th, 2006 and is only on Xbox 360.
You can buy this from Amazon for £17.98
Temco's Team Ninja provides the next link in the beat-em-up chain that is the Dead or Alive saga on the Xbox 360. All the old faces are here, with a few new ones joining the fray. As with the other games in the series, its up to you to battle it out against several opponents with the end goal of becoming the ultimate warrior champion.
As well as the now standard Story mode (where you can play as each character in a series of eight battles) there are also a variety of other gameplay options. Survival mode sees you trying to keep yourself alive as long as possible, Time Attack will test your ability to complete the game as fast as possible, whilst Online mode will see you clashing with an assortment of players from around the globe.
Some of these options are hardly a revelation, and many of these play styles can be found in other three dimensional fighting titles. However, the sheer variety of options and modes combined with the incentive of Xbox 360 achievement points will have you returning time and again to experience and perfect these different styles of play.
The online multiplayer is what will have most gamers salivating, and Im glad to report that for the most part its a stable system. Lag is kept to a bare minimum, and matches take place without too much waiting around. The playful, colourful lobby system is an obvious novelty, and some may wince at the childish style; however, it isnt at the expense of the actual gameplay, and can therefore be forgiven as a quirk of Japanese gaming.
The game looks very smooth and well-rounded. Characters positively glow, while fabric and background scenery look radiant and clean; whilst it may not seem a huge step up from previous games in the saga, it does look particularly glossy in high definition. The environments are suitably detailed and hold a surprising level of variety: from the neon streets of Vegas to the water-filled jungle locales, youd be hard pressed to find much fault with them.
Still, not everything is perfect in the looks department. There are occasional glitches here and there, and some of the animation is a little rough around the edges; various body parts move with an unrealistic, lifeless lurching action, while the animated hair moves with an erratic sway each time the character shifts even slightly. Generally speaking, its not too distracting, but it does make the game seem a little rushed, and lacking the level of graphical sophistication that youd expect to see from a polished next-gen title.
It comes as no real shock to hear that sonically the game is fairly unimpressive. While the background music isnt unpleasant, it fails to create a convincing in-game ambience and will most likely be irked in favour of your own 360 playlist.
By contrast, the spot effects arent too bad. They offer a suitably brutal impact, although not to the same bone-crunching standard as, say, Dead Rising. They certainly do an adequate job, yet theres nothing on offer here that cant be found in any other generic fighting game.
DOA4 is very similar in style and play to the previous games in the series. Much like its predecessors, youll find that randomly pressing buttons will quickly result in your demise. Instead, youll need to carefully plan out moves and countermoves with stealth-like precision in order to win those rounds no button bashing victories are forthcoming here folks!
However, this system is somewhat of a double-edged sword. Youll find that rather than creating an involving chain of combos or skilfully executing punch and kick melees, the game allows players to resort to a frustrating system of move / counter-move, which can soon become a tedious replacement for real ingenuity or strategy.
This unfortunately creates a domino effect that leaks onto multiplayer bouts. Other players often resort to cheap, repetitive victories rather than testing skill and rewarding expertise once youve mastered the battle system, you can effectively undermine the play mechanics all together, resulting in some wearisome battles against participants who simply cant wait to bust out their amateurish list of countermoves.
Whilst Dead or Alive 4 offers a solid, cohesive fighting game, it does so with little panache or enthusiasm. While it certainly provides an array of gaming modes and enough variety to keep you occupied for many a weekend, it simply doesnt present itself as anything more than an evolution of a tried and tested formula.
Fighting game fans will no doubt enjoy the experience from start to finish. Conversely, those who arent keen on the genre will find nothing spectacularly different in this game, and may be better off investing their time and money in a game that offers a less generic experience.