Review by Azuro

"Amazing look and fun, but the revamped counter system does harm when it shouldn't."

Ah, the Dead or Alive games. If I remember correctly, the DOA games are widely known for their use of a countering system. To be honest, it was a good idea, but way too overpowered to be as simple as it was. Hit away and block and you can easily reverse pretty much anything the opponent threw at you. Another thing DOA is known for is the rather jaw-dropping physics that are used for the breasts of the female characters. Team Ninja brings that back in the Xbox 360 installment, Dead Or Alive 4.

DOA4 is an amazing game to look at. The graphics definitely push the 360 to its limits. Team Ninja definitely deserve a lot of props for the fine details in the levels and the character models. The bouncy breasts are back, even better looking than ever. The CGIs are just plain incredible. I've never seen such beauty in a game, ever. I have no complaints when it comes to the game's graphics. Simply a stunning game visually and just great to look at.

The story...meh, I'm very confused with it altogether. It's not necessarily the best story for a fighting game out there, as you really will have a tough time understanding what the heck is going on. But hey, a fighting game shouldn't be about the story should it? No, it should be about the fighting. Thus, why it's called a fighting game. But either way, they could've made the story at least a smudge easier to understand and get into.

There are a good deal of things for you to do in this game besides fight, which is cool. You have the Story Mode, which obviously tells the story. You also have the standard Survival, Time Attack, and Practice modes. What's also good is an Online mode, where you can play other 360 gamers out there and let them know who's top-dog. You can also watch fights that you've downloaded from online. You can even watch the endings you've unlocked through Story Mode. There's plenty to be occupied with in DOA4, that's for sure.

As for the music and sound, it's not too bad. I do dislike everyone having Japanese VAs because I'd rather hear each of the characters speak in their own native tongue or English. I don't think it's likely for a burly American wrestler to speak Japanese that fluently. Other than that, the VAs are full of emotion and are good. The sound effects you hear throughout the game are what you've been hearing for a while, which isn't too bad. They fit pretty well with the game itself. You've been hearing the music for a while as well, and it's not terrible either. Overall, the game's very easy on the ears.

Now, onto the most important aspect of the game. That is...the fighting. Nothing much has seriously changed in the controls. You still have Punch, Kick, Block, and Throw. The biggest change within the gameplay is how you counter. Before, it was a simple tapping of away and block and you counter. It's a bit different here and it's not only more difficult, it actually messes up the gameplay some instead of fixing it. The countering is now height-based, meaning you have to hit block and the D-Pad in a direction respective to the attack you intend to counter. This seems good at first glance, but you also have to take into account whether it's a punch or a kick. If it were simply guessing the height, the counter system would be perfect. Instead, you have to guess exactly what's coming, otherwise you eat more combo. It screws you over once you're stunned because your only defensive option at that point to escape is to counter. When you have to be dead-on with what's being thrown, it turns countering into a huge guessing-game. It's a big problem. You can learn all the characters and what attacks hit where, but it'll really help only slightly. Countering's now luck-based, and because of the way the fighting engine works (Countering is a huge aspect even in the easy-counter days), it makes playing a bit frustrating. Not to mention, it makes Story Mode full of controller-chucking moments, as the AI fully exploits this flaw on a daily basis and is rather frustrating. Other than this, the gameplay is definitely fun. Tag Team play allows for 4-Player competition and makes the game more enjoyable.

There are also costumes to be unlocked for each of the characters. None of them serve any true gameplay purpose other than to look pretty, but hey, it allows for replay value.

DOA4 is definitely a good game and worth buying. It's fun to play and looks amazing, however the more-difficult countering system messed up the gameplay a bit due to the fighting engine not changing at all otherwise. But other than that setback, you'll enjoy playing this game a lot.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 06/22/07

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