Review by wolverinefan

Reviewed: 10/10/06

A game that focuses on the wrong areas.

Dead or Alive started out on the original Playstation and I'm sure people liked it for the same reason that I did back in the 8th grade, the jiggle factor. I have since played every installment and while Dead or Alive 2 built upon the original, I find that part 3 did nothing new for the series. Now that I've played Dead or Alive 4 I can say they are just ruining the series, not that it was all that worth while to begin with.

I'm sure deep down some where this series has a plot. Each character has their own uninteresting plot line. If it's a girl you should expect a T&A filled ending scene that makes almost no sense. See Hitomi's ending for an example. Imagine a girl cooking in her undergarments..... Why can't we have fighting games any more that have actual plots? Guilty Gear games use to have a rather good plot. Hell, even Tekken is able to still maintain a plot.

Graphic wise I wasn't overly impressed with Dead or Alive 4. Yes, the graphics are nice and it does offer some of the best CGI I've seen yet. Actually, I didn't even see many technical issues either besides some odd clipping with stuff in the stages. Character models look nice, even though hair and stuff looks a bit plastic and unmoving. The boobs still bounce around.

Sound wise I was highly annoyed with this game. The music is fairly good. I wouldn't buy the soundtrack but it fit. Event he sound effects are good. Shouts, glass breaking, water splashing and dinosaurs roaring. All sounds good. My problem comes with the voice acting. It's in Japanese which is fine but when your character is British (as stated by the character stats page) I highly doubt they would speak Japanese perfectly and without any sort of accent or anything. Of course I should expect this from Tecmo, one of the most overrated developers out there right now.

I hate the control in this game. How do we have so many buttons and only have a grab, block, kick, and punch button? Seriously, it's lame. It took me forever to figure out what the block button was and why it wasn't helping me out at all. A manual would have been nice but the video store didn't provide one. I found after 50 or so matches that I was able to kick some butt but then I would get it handed back to me because I'd either get trapped in a corner or my counter would be countered.... It's just frustrating that with so many buttons, nothing really happens. Oddly enough I also had issues with hitting start while trying to block. No clue why though.

Dead or Alive 4 offers a fairly basic story mode. It has about 10 rounds or so. You have choices of Normal, Hard or very hard. This annoyed me because I like to use an easier setting to ease myself into the combos and learning how to use the counters correctly. Sadly it didn't work out that way. For other modes you can change the time, rounds, and how big the life bar is. Yet no easy setting?

Dead or Alive 4 also let me down in the arenas area. Yes they look fantastic but there aren’t a whole lot of them. I love the multi-tiered factor of it all and I found that it was much easier to use them in this title than in the last two. I wish more games would do this with there stages but they don't, and it makes me sad. I also felt that too many of the stages felt like old ones, just rethought out.

Our cast of characters isn't too hot either. I think there are 14 or so and maybe 5 secret characters. They all play differently and they have their pros and cons. Some are easier to use and some are down right cheap. The one that uses Drunken Master technique is a button mashers dream, it's the same reason I hate Eddie Goro in the Tekken series.

I did find another problem with how the game plays. The entire focus during a fight is on the counter system. The AI is stellar at using the counter attacks and doing combos. It also seems to love trapping you in a corner. I would reach a point where blocking didn't matter and that brings up another complaint. Why is it that when I block but get hit my life goes down and when they block and I hit them nothing happens. I also noticed that I would sustain more damage from falls and stuff than the AI would. It just seemed a bit unfair.

On the replay value side the game is loaded. VS, Team, Survival, Time Attack and online. I hear the online is good and adds a lot of depth to the game. I'm sadly unable to connect to Live and No one I know plays games so I can't tell you how multiplayer is but I haven't heard about any major complaints. My biggest problem with the replay value is how crappy the achievements are. Most are online based. Log 20 hours in the game? Seriously, how many people would play this game for 20 hours? I also hate that if you don't have Live you can't access most of the achievements. It's just unfair. I was also let down by the fact that the game doesn't offer any mini games or anything like that, since most other fighters these days offer little mini games to pass the time

My problem with the entire game is that it has nothing going for it besides the tiered levels and the counters. The problem is that the counters overtake anything else the game is trying to do. A match ends up being about guess work on their attacks and trying to counter and combo them without them blocking you. It just becomes too frustrating. I can't recommend this game as anything but a rental and even that isn't something I recommend either. I hope the 360 can get a truly solid fighter at some point. Maybe the new Killer Instinct title?

Story - 3/10
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 6/10
Control - 7/10
Game Play - 6/10
Replay Value - 7/10

Final Score - 6/10

Rating:   3.0 - Fair

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