Review by Arschrammen
"Brilliant! If you can tolerate a cheating CPU and the cheapest boss in history!"
There's nothing wrong with a challenge now is there? I mean, who wants to just cruise through a game with no challenging obstacles whatsoever?...
DOA4 is excellent in that pretty much all the characters are unique and have their own strengths and, more noticeably, weaknesses. Great effort has gone into the motion capture of the characters with some superb looking martial arts. Unlike a lot of recent fighting games, DOA4 has a great flow to it. You won't find the rigid body jamming of Mortal Kombat here; there's nothing but smooth. flowing martial arts and its very beautiful to watch. The emphasis on counter-attacking also makes the DOA series unique and, in my opinion, well on the way to being the most realistic of the fighting games out there. Almost...
The concept of unbalancing your opponent is one of the major fundamentals of any of the best martial arts. DOA4 characters are great in that they all have unbalancing moves to make their opponent vulnerable. However, no matter how off balance they are, they will be able to counter attack you at any stage, so long as they're not in the air. So why bother with unbalancing them at all?
Bearing this in mind, the major let down to this game is that the CPU seems intent on revenge for all the times you kicked its ass in the previous installments. It knows all your moves and can pre-empt them. Sometimes it won't even bother predicting what you're going to do, it will, for example (and this has happened to me countless times!!) just throw in a counter for a kick when you are in the middle of a punch combo. To put it simply, the CPU cheats. I know! I can't believe it either!
There is no easy difficulty to ease you into the game, only a "normal" difficulty which is more like a "very hard" difficulty. Even a seasoned DOA player like myself couldn't get past the first level the first time I played it. It still takes an average of five or six times to beat the boss, who is the cheapest boss in the history of bosses. She has the ability to disappear and reappear anywhere at any time, including if you're in the middle of a combo. She will just reappear behind you and do her special charge up throw which takes half your life off.
Now I'm one who enjoys a challenge, but this game takes it beyond a joke. When the boss can disappear and reappear wherever she likes, and when the CPU counters pretty much every combo attack you do, even when you've unbalanced them first, it is just no fun at all. It honestly feels like the developers are having a joke on the fans because they know you're still going to play it anyway because of the hot hot women with jiggly jiggle bits.
Another frustrating aspect of this game is that if you take out the ninja fighters, this would be quite a realistic game in that there are no stupid flame throwing moves or spears that shoot out your wrist etc; there is nothing but well rehearsed martial arts moves. Unfortunately, there are ninja in this game though, complete with their stupid disappearing acts and flying through the air manoeuvres. I'm not going to lie; I hate ninja in video games and their ridiculous moves cramping the style of good, honest martial artists, which is why I am further frustrated by this game because it is highly rigged in favour of the ninja fighters.
Thus despite it's beautiful graphics and excellent character design and story (although vague at the best of times), DOA4 as a stand alone game against the CPU gets 4/10 for just being so frustrating and generally not fun.
However, I should say that the online features save this game from being a disaster. It is online that you will discover the beauty of DOA and find players of your ability that you can enjoy the game with. You can also compare scores for time attack and survival modes and get an indication of where you stand and also give you inspiration to push on and try a bit harder against the unrelenting (and cheating) CPU. You will also get a grade on how well you perform online ranging from F to SS, but even an SS like myself still can't perform against the CPU.
So, in conclusion, I would not bother with this game unless you have Xbox Live. And a lot of patience.
Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 01/30/07
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