Review by mixedlion
"Well Worth It!"
This game was one of the original reasons I BOUGHT the X-box 360. I'm a fan of the Dead or Alive series, and when I picked this title up, I was most definitely NOT disappointed.
These graphics are just phenomenal. Each character looks absolutely stunning, although I do wish the ladies would have a bit more distinctive facial features rather than look like they come from the same porcelain doll-palette, but really I can't complain. The clothing especially looks real, from Gen Fu's soft, cotton/fur on his martial arts uniform, to the sleek shine of La Mariposa's mask and outfit, the clothing looks definitely passable for being real. The stages are well designed, from the cheering fans with signs and posters in the DOAX ring to just the beautiful atmosphere of the Seaside Market. There's no graphical flaws in the game other than what I've been told about the hair, but that's almost non-existent considering how good the graphics are elsewhere.
Dead or Alive has always had good music incorporated in the game, and this series doesn't stop in that trend. Particularly excellent are Kasumi's, Tina's, Lei Fang's themes, but none of them are bad at all. Also, for the first time, characters groan and whine when they are injured (in past DOA games they were silent), each hit and strike sounds totally real, and the voiceacting is pretty good (only thing is I wish it were in English, not Japanese, I hate having to read subtitles).
The gameplay is where the game shines. In the past, DOA games were frustatingly easy, but now it's a challenge, sometimes even too challenging. The game's AI is smart, and both beginners and DOA veterans playing this game for the first time will often find themselves on the recieving end of counterattacks, even in the beginning stages. This is great for those who want a real challenge. The modes are standard fighting game fare, with team battle, tag mode, time attack, Story mode, only nitpick is that I wish the unlockable characters would be playable in Story Mode (not just Helena). However, in-game the moves are stunningly real-looking, and the classic DOA multi-tiered enviornments (stairs, cliffs) have been greatly improved. Each arena is expansive and huge, and the addition of small tables and barriers that can be leapt over are a great addition.
My only complaint is the game's main boss, Alpha 152, is way too frustrating at times and too powerful, though DOA has a history of frustrating bosses (remember Tengu, DOA fans?). Other than that the gameplay is awesome.
The game's three new characters, Eliot, La Mariposa, and Kokoro, are well worked in the game (I particularly liked La Mariposa considering I'm a big Tina player). They fit in well with the whole Dead or Alive storyline (which, considering it being a fighting game, Dead or Alive's story and concept really isn't too bad, not so much Soul Calibur or Mortal Kombat good with storytelling, but better than Virtua Fighter if you know what I mean). Neither of the three new characters are overpowered nor weak. Eliot is pretty good for beginning players, and really easy to master yet can be a real challenge in the right hands. Kokoro is similar to Eliot and Lei Fang in a few aspects, and she's fairly easy to learn as well, though facing her as an AI opponent or particularly skilled DOA player can result in a lot of frustration, but that's just a good sign she's an excellent character. La Mariposa (or Lisa), is one of my new favorites. She's definitely not for beginners, and those considering playing with her should spend some time in sparring mode, but she's an excellent character that's fun to play and even more fun to watch. DOA was due for a luchadora, that's for sure.
All in All: 9/10
This game is great, even fanboys and fangirls of Virtua Fighter and Tekken will gladly love to play this game. A free flowing fighting system, a ton of beautifully rendered and realistic characters and moves, and just an overall fantastic atmosphere and graphics places Dead or Alive 4 at the top of my list in my history of fighting games I've played (and mind you I'm a huge fighting game fan). Tecmo should definitely keep up the good work, and Dead or Alive is sure to remain a top series.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 08/30/07
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