Review by RooCH

"Flawed, but enjoyable - A RooCH review"

Dead or Alive is one of the best fighting series around. Ever since it's first game it has been ahead of the competition, both visually and in it's fighting engine. Now we are in the age of high definition gaming, does it live up to the hype?

The game is beautiful, but it has sadly not introduced any significant changes to it's fighters. The levels have vibrant colours, interesting concepts, and at times hilarious hazards. The problem simply lies with previous gen player graphics. The designs are at times a little obscene but there is nothing here that the Xbox alone could not have achieved, save a few veins on Jann Lee's arms.

As with every DOA game, it produces flawlessly impressive fights no matter the player. The counter system is much refined and the techniques are quite clever. Some fighters are slightly harder to fight however. Gen-Fu for instance has few long combo's, but his timing makes him incredibly difficult to defend against. The most difficult however is drunken master Brad Wong. Totally unpredictable and button mashers have a field day pulling off mad stunts with the guy. But there is one place where this game is absolutely criminal, the final boss. Some fighting games rely on advanced AI to create a difficult boss, this game is not one of those. 11 hit power combos that switch from high to low in a blink of an eye. Unavoidable three minute throws that remove a quarter of your health, and to top it all off, TELEPORTATION. This is used almost every five seconds and basically means you WILL NOT pin her against a wall, nor will you use ANY combos because she'll teleport after two hits. You do not need skill to defeat her, just luck. A real shame for a game which in every other sense excels.

Simple, but impressive. From tables exploding, to a hard dropkick into a wall, there is a suitable noise for each and some can give one a real sense of achievement. Another amusing feature is the ability to unlock each characters voice by completing their exercises in training mode. But no one ever wants the squeaky girl voices because they grate on you like Julian Clary on helium.

An interesting idea introduced to DOA4 is the lobby system. A small room housing a lobby and a massive television that allows you to watch the matches without joining in. Very clever and the avatars that run around have comical winks that make for a wee laugh before beating each senseless. The online fighting however has problems. The game can suffer lag to an extreme amount and spoils the experience slightly. You are almost certain to get it more than once during your session and it will last the whole fight. Other than that though, it is just as brilliant and complex as the single player. Plus with the fights you are given a grade depending on your success, and as you fight you win money to upgrade your avatar, lobby and even buy secret costumes for fighters. But it takes a long time to earn money, so you'd better quit your real job if you intend on buying that big screen TV!!

Well made, pretty, but ultimately flawed. From the incredible frustration of the "Only luck will help you" final boss to the unavoidable lag, it has it's flaws, but is still the best fighter on the market. If you can see past the problems, go pick it up, it is most certainly worth it.


Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 02/09/06

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