• Tecmo, for many years has produced hit after hit on the Xbox, and the Dead or Alive fighting game series have always been a hit for the fans out there. The original Xbox launch had been given Dead or Alive 3 and well the fans were pleased as punch to hear the news that the Xbox 360 was also to be treated to a brand new DoA title, that being – Dead or Alive 4, or DoA4 as I shall now refer to it. DoA4 was to kick ass (sorry yes, pun was intended) on the Xbox 360 and show that Tecmo could produce the sexiest looking fighting game to date. Â But do looks alone sell a game or keep you coming back for more? well, for the answer to that you need to keep reading.

    Firstly it has to be stated that DoA4 really has not made any massive leaps or changes from the DoA series. It is simply a one-on-one fighting game, and even though there is a tag team option, only one of your fighters can be present and attempting to kick ass on the screen at any one time. The other familiarity with DoA4 is the female fighters in the game, every single one of them is stacked top heavy and well, wear next to nothing. Now this may appeal to a lot of fans but I stopped being 12 years old a long time ago and well a graphically pleasing to the eye chick does not get me hot to trot. That said the majority of the female fighters truly become the best pick of any of the fighters available in the game, and that?s because of their skills and not their looks btw.

    DoA4 once again has produced the expected list of game modes to choose from, namely; Story, Survival, Time Attack, Vs and LIVE to name a few. Story Mode and Xbox LIVE play will certainly be your meat and two veg, but I will try as I move forward to explain what the other modes have to offer.

    Dead or Alive 4

    Story Mode like in any other previous instalments of DoA is all about choosing one of the many available characters and through 8 rounds of intense fighting, getting an incite into the characters life and walking away with a very nicely done ending FMV. The problem with DoA4 is that this time, nothing seems to tie together. There are a few characters that you will see either belong on the good guys team and then the few that well should have been smacked at birth for being so evil. But then there are certain characters that seem to have nothing to do with the story what so ever, and well, only leave you a tad confused as to why they are there. That said every FMV ending is superbly done, if not a little perverse in places (I wont spoil your fun and tell you why).

    By completing the story mode with each character allows you a little bonus, in that being able to unlock certain extra features. Most extras in the main are extra costumes to dress up your fighter, but there are also some hidden fighters to unlock by using a certain main group character and additional arenas to scrap it out in. One of these extra fighters is a character from Halo, and although not MasterChief himself, you do get to play with a Spartan Ooo-err. And well as much as this particular Spartan is female, you will grin from ear-to-ear at seeing without doubt the best looking Spartan to dateand the Plasma Grenade Stick move is a corker, and one to perfect in battle.

    However I do have to state fairly early within this review that the modes within DoA4 are by no means a walk in the park. DoA4 has had its fighting learning curve kicked up a few notches and even playing on normal will leave you wanting to consistently lob your controller across the floor in frustration. Why Well in simple terms, the game is so damn hard to master and the computer AI is totally and utterly unforgiving, the AI will kick your ass faster than you can figure out how. Find yourself against a wall or corner and well you may as well give up as you are almost certain to lose being pinned in and consistently abused by the computer controlled opponent. Therefore DoA is no longer just a button mashing fighterthis baby takes practice and you really should take time out to learn each characters moves, failing to do so will only leave you enraged. You have been warned!

    Survival and Time Attack modes are basically as they sound. In Survival you just have to keep going and going and going until you die, aiming to get as many victories as you can without losing your one life. In Time Attack its story mode all over again only this time pitting you against the clock. Other modes include Vs where you can take on a friend at home, and sparring where you can practice against a computer opponent and make them act as dumb as you like.

    But the LIVE play is really where the fun begins. You start your LIVE play by creating your own lobby and avatar, these lobbies are very much a cutesy affair but are also quite funny to see, especially with the little moves your avatar can pull off, and I have to say my Ninja with Baseball Cap and Shades is rather cool. Now if you have ever played Mech Assault 2 you will kinda understand what you get, the lobby system allows gamers into your lobby with their own avatars and allows you to chat and to get cracking with the fighting. Plus if you have set up a winner stays on with multiple fighters a TV also situated within the lobby allows them to watch the fight, although they do have other, better options to watch a fight whilst waiting for their turn, and being able to control cameras in doing so.

    I use the term fun as whilst you will no doubt want to play through story mode to collect all the additional costumes and charactersTaking on other players across the globe is where the thrills come in and proving you are that much better and quicker than your opponent and a human opponent at that is what all fighting fans love. LIVE play is very well done but does occasionally suffer from the ever present LAG and whilst this can hinder you in a big way it can also help you seeing moves slowed down Matrix style allowing you to counter or simply move out of harms way. Now of course we would all prefer to be LAG free but it has become a common occurrence on LIVE play and well you may as well take advantage of it or be fully aware you are about to be taken advantage of.

    The look to DoA4 is superbCharacter animations although Anime like do have a lot of life to them and Team Ninja really have taken advantage of the power within the 360. Slight problems such as cardboard like hair movement but that aside your characters move as gracefully as a swan with all the elegance as such too. The arenas and backdrops are also superbly done, each being full of life and having lots of nice little touches with the likes of falling blossom in one level, or the Vegas street scene where the cars crossing your path can quite literally kill you. Each arena has its own destructible points, and you really will see how much of an arena you can explore by flinging your opponent around and off ledges or through windows.

    Sound presentation in DoA4 is also very nicely done, although if you are not new to the DoA series then you wont be experiencing anything you have not already heard before. Once again every character apart from the Spartan speak Japanese with English subtitles provided on screen, and well it has to be said once again the voice acting has been done extremely well. Other sounds such as the upbeat fighting tracks and the sound effects are all spot on and exactly as you would expect them. Finalised with ambient arena sounds gives the DoA fan a feast indeed for the senses.

    DoA4 really is a very good game, yes it has its problems and problems with the increased difficulty could become a big turn off for a lot of players. But if you persist with DoA4 and become the Master instead of the Apprentice DoA4 truly has a lot to offer you, So don’t be shy, give it a try.

    Score: 8/10

    About The Author