Review by DrummerManiac

"Mortal Kombat - blood + more ladies +unbalanced AI = DOA4"

At first glance, it seems like a decent fighting game with some awesome looking characters. And it is (What with all the breast physics), although every game has its problems. Namely the unbalanced A.I, the bizarre story mode endings and those little visual problems that could've been fixed, but weren't because the developers were focusing on other "important" stuff. DOA4 is another one of those generic arcade fighting games: Think Mortal Kombat, with all the blood turned off.

The setting of the fights is pretty simple: 2 fighters on some weird level, fighting until one opponent's health bar runs out. The levels themselves each have some kind of way of expanding: Falling off a bridge into a river. being knocked down stairs, knocked through windows, e.t.c. And the characters you fight in story mode are pretty random, except for set fights (E.g Ryu fights Christie in a castle/hall thing). Since I'm already talkin' about Story mode, we'll start with that.

Every character has their individual story mode, usually consisting of 3 main parts (Complete with cutscene) and about 7 random fights. Once you have completed all these, a bizarre ending movie, having almost nothing to do with the character. Expect to see Hitomi making breakfast in nothing but her panties and a nightgown, Kasumi dreaming she's a topless mermaid, Ryu destroying some helicopters and Christie killing a guy in a strip club (While wearing very a revealing leather outfit, and dancing erotically). While the graphics in these are amazing, they are completely unrelated to what the character has been doing in their story mode.

Gameplay is like most other fighting games: Use the control stick to move around, and have a couple of buttons for kicking, punching, blocking and throwing. This doesn't really work. Y controls your punches, B makes your character kick, X will make your character block (Briefly) and A will let you try and perform a grab and throw move. Like I said, it doesn't work. Most (Hell, all) combos consist of punches, kicks and control stick jabs. But, due to the AI (See my ranting a few paragraphs down) you will be able to perform a 4 hit combo before your opponent reverses it, and gives you a 9 hit combo. Usually over. Think you can block it? Wrong. Even holding the block button won't last very long, and usually grabbing will never work unless your opponent is standing completely still, but your opponent has no problem doing it to you.

Online play is yet another feature included to "enjoy" the game to its full potential. But, considering you will be versing people who can probably drain your health bar in one combo, making you throw your controller around in frustration. And if you happen to be winning, then the person will most likely turn off the Xbox 360, ending the match and letting no one win. Any matches where no one does this will be few and far between. Also online is Zack's Shop, where you can buy alternate costumes for the characters (These can be unlocked by completing Story mode or Time Attack mode).

Visuals are quite amazing, and truly put the 360 to the test... Or do they? The cutscenes before fights and ending movies are truly beautiful, but the ingame fighting can leave more to be desired. The whole thing is very colourful and bright, but the same can't be said for the character's hair: Characters who have long hair (I.E Almost all of them) look like they have paper thin ribbons of hair that are made of plastic, which somehow move though the character's shoulders and neck. Considering from first looks that alot of work has been put into the breast physics of the girls (They bounce around everytime the girl moves), it shouldn't be too much to ask for some good hair visuals. This is supposed to be next-gen, isn't it?

Now, the thing that annoys me the most. Out of all the things in the game that make you think "Wow, the people who did this are really smart and should rule the world", there is a problem that will shatter those thoughts to pieces: The AI. This simple feature is in almost every game, but it's particularly bad here. When you are playing story mode, the first few fights will make it seem like you're in Training mode, but then after a few fights the AI difficulty is pumped up to insane proportions, to the part where you will be juggled, combo'd into the air and smacked into the ground, and then a few low attacks to finish you off. And while you can't grab your opponent or reverse their moves, they can do it easily to you, even when you're fighting. Once when I had to fight Alpha-512, it demolished me with an 11 hit combo, followed by another 5 hit. I was KO'd in seconds, and never got a chance to fight back.

Rent or buy?

Definitely rent. You'll see all there is to see in one story mode playthrough, let alone about 20 more times. If you want to unlock all the costumes for the characters, you could try: But it will take a very long time, especially since you can't save between fights. So if you get stuck on the final boss and turn off your 360 in frustration, you'll have to play through it all again. Maybe I'm not partial to fighting games, but I've played some good ones (And bad ones) before, and this falls under the category of "bad ones". DOA4 had potential, but there are details (Both large and small) that the creators didn't pay attention to, even though it would've been common sense.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 11/27/06

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