Review by Arbuthnaut

"Best 360 Game so far? Yep."

After years of anticipation, and countless delays, Dead or Alive 4 is finally here. Does it live up to the hype? In short…yes, yes it does.

Gameplay - 10/10

One of the biggest gripes people had with previous installments in the Dead or Alive series was that its Gameplay was insanely shallow. Team Ninja addressed this in more than one way. The biggest thing that set the DoA series apart from other fighters was its reversal system, which in DoA3, was incredibly easy to abuse. You were given a large window of opportunity, and if performed correctly, the counter would result in the opponent taking massive damage, considering how little work was required. With Dead or Alive 4, the amount of time given to reverse has been nearly halved, now giving the player 12 or 13 frames to pull one off. Not only are reversals harder to perform, they also do considerably less damage.

Team Ninja also felt that many characters handled too similarly in the previous installment, and as a result, have changed each character's move lists drastically. Characters that were once considered weak and useless can now stand toe to toe with characters that would demolish the competition. Helena can now beat Bass. Characters feel varied and individual.

One thing that is definitely noticeable is the difficulty increase. Not only has Team Ninja removed difficulty settings below Normal Mode, but DoA 4's normal is equivalent to Hard or Very Hard of DOA2U. Computers now Block, Counter, and Juggle at least as often, if not moreso than online opponents. Many people may not like the increase, but this time it actually prepares you for online play, something DOA2U could not do.

Which brings us to the best part of this package, the Online. I'm not going to waste space here telling you about the Lobby or Zack's shop. If you played DOA2U Online, think that, but streamlined, sped up, and virtually lag free. This game is reason enough to spend that extra cash for Xbox Live Gold.

Graphics/Sound - 9/10

The game, like the previous installments, is gorgeous. Most characters do not look to different from DOA2U, but the models in that game are only 1 year old as of this writing, and they were top notch on the original Xbox. What Next-Gen technology really brings to Dead or Alive is the ability to instantly and perfectly render everything, from the characters to the jaw-dropping environments. The physics of cloth and hair flow realistically, and characters are animated perfectly. And yes, the CG character endings are simply flawless.

The game's soundtrack is again, generic fighting music. Most songs are remixes of tracks used in the previous titles. Tomonobu Itagaki once again uses a couple Aerosmith tracks to tell the story as well. Characters speak only Japanese, except for the Spartan, Bungie's contribution to this stellar title.

Final Recommendation - Buy

Are you a fighting game fan? Do you own a 360? Maybe you just need something to add to your slim library? Buy Dead or Alive 4. Although time may prove me wrong, I honestly do not think the 360 will be given a better fighter in it's lifespan. You owe it to yourself to play this game.

Final Rating - 10/10

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 01/04/06

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