DOA4 is the Xbox 360′s first fighting game and sets the bar that other fighters will be compared to. The series has gone through a series of refinements since it’s the 4th in the series. Let’s see if the bar is high enough?
In the previous installments, the AI was hands down pathetic. Counters were easy to pull off, combos were easy to learn. Basically the game never pushed the player to become good at it. DOA4 is a whole new breed. Counters are harder to pull off, and the AI will punish you for button mashing. Being knocked down can be a bit disastrous as it may take a few seconds before you can get back up again, leaving you open to low attacks and standard ground beatings. The achievements in the game are hard but it just makes DOA4 all the more rewarding once they are unlocked.
The cast has received subtle changes in terms of moves with the omission of some moves and almost everyone now has a move that can be charged and released depending on whether you want the hit to be faster or more powerful. There are four new fighters to choose from and even the addition of Spartan 458 (Halo, anyone) as a hidden character.
One thing that has been outstanding in the previous DOA games was the graphics. The graphics on the Xbox console were some of the best ever. In DOA4 the character models do not look much different from the previous few installments of the game, especially when compared with those visuals found in Dead or Alive 2 Ultimate. The character models do not look terribly different because they were perfect to begin with. Team Ninja made the characters look so perfect and have always pumped out the graphics of whatever system they are developing for. The lighting effects are just eye-popping and the environments are breathtaking. The game supports 720p and 1080i which is just excellent. The games endings are also HD CGI movies that are very well choreographed and shot in exquisite detail.
The sound effects and the voice acting are well done. But it’s odd for a British national to speak such fluent Japanese without any accent. But everything else is just music to one’s ears. From the sound of the waterfall, to the leaves rustling, the sound effects have been made to the utmost quality. But the tracks are not hum-worthy and are easily forgotten. The option of using one’s own soundtrack is always available.
The online mode has been improved over the previous versions. But the problem of lag still stings the game. There are times when you feel like you fighting some one in the same room, while other times its like watching turtles have a race through a muddy swamp. Part of this is due to congested servers, part to people’s individual Internet connections and part to the games programming. The game modes available are the same, Winner Stays, Loser Stays, Tag, Tournament, etc.
Dead or Alive 4 is the best installment of the long running fighting game but the game is likely to have mixed reviews. Some may say that the graphics truly show what the console is capable of but may be put off by the punishing gameplay. Some may enjoy the difficulty but may feel like the game is just a port from the previous series. The game is the best fighter game available for the 360 right now and is definitely worth a play.