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Dead Or Alive 4
Information about Dead Or Alive 4Dead Or Alive (12 walls) 4 is easily the best DOA game to date. Gorgeous graphics, tons of modes, lots of unlockable goodies, and online play make this a pretty sweet package. Laggy online play and cheap AI sour the experience somewhat, but overall it is very good. DOA4 is a must own game for Xbox 360 owners.
GameplayAs far as the gameplay goes, this is Dead Or Alive (12 walls) at its finest. One punch, one kick, block, and throw buttons are all you get but it is really all you need. Different combinations of buttons and directional commands result in different moves and in the hands of skilled players the game flows and moves beautifully. It is still quite a bit simpler than other 3D fighters, but it is surprisingly deep when you really start to dig beneath the surface. Counters play a major role in the combat so mixing up your moves so your opponent canít counter makes the matches varied and exciting. You can also play mind games with different fakes and evasive moves and different things in order to bait your opponent into either attempting a combo (which youíll just block) or theyíll try to counter (which opens them up for more punishment). When you really get into the DOA mindset the overall experience is really quite enjoyable.
Some changes have been made in DOA4 from previous games. You only have a split second for counters now and the timing of all of the moves and combos has changed a lot. The game is faster than ever as well so even if you are a DOA vet youíll still have quite a bit to learn here.
Features and ModesIn the features and modes department, DOA4 is stacked. Youíll find a story mode, survival mode, time attack, practice, versus, and a theater mode where you can just watch the computer duke it out. You can play in single or tag team matches in most of the modes and tag team fights give an extra little layer of depth which is nice. Each of the modes have different goodies to unlock such as new characters and costumes and you can earn achievements for a ton of different things so there is a lot to do here and the rewards are almost always worth the trouble. The game is also surprisingly addictive, particularly the survival mode.
Dead Or Alive (12 walls) 4 features more than 20 characters to choose from. The busty ladies are still the focus Ė we wouldnít want it any other way Ė and there is a nice selection of fan favorites and new faces to keep things interesting. Overall the characters are fairly balanced and it is a good lineup overall. My only complaint is the Halo character. She takes forever to unlock (you have to beat story mode 17 times) and she has very little reach and is as slow as molasses. Master Chief she definitely ainít.
Brutal AIOne major complaint I have about Dead Or Alive (12 walls) 4 is that the AI is just ridiculously cheap and frustrating. Even on the default ďNormalĒ mode, you can expect to get beaten by the computer a lot. The problem is that the AI doesnít have to follow the same rules as human players. It can counter anything and everything, it doesnít seem to have any input delays or animation delays (it can just go from one combo to the next without any interruption Ė something that is impossible for human players) and it can and will unleash multiple 10-12 hit combos on you all in a row. You get the feeling that you only win because the computer lets you and it isnít all that fun of a way to play. When you beat it it is very satisfying, but when you lose a bunch of times in a row youíll want to throw your controller through the wall. It isnít so bad when you know why you are losing and you know what to do next time (which is how pretty much every other fighter works), in DOA4 the AI is just cheap and since you have to play against the AI to unlock everything it is a very frustrating process. It isnít impossible to beat, but it is a lot harder than a default setting should ever be.
Online PlayThankfully, playing against other humans isnít nearly as painful as fighting the AI. They have to follow the same rules as you do at least so it isnít too frustrating when you lose. DOA4 uses a similar online setup to DOA Ultimate in that it represents a virtual arcade. Several people can all join the same game and then take turns fighting and you get to watch the other players fight and voice chat with the other players when it isnít your turn. You can adjust a variety of options when you create your game such as single or tag, number of rounds, time, and whether it is a winner stays or tournament style setup. Or you can just join a game already in progress if you donít want to wait for someone to find you.
As far as performance goes, DOA4 is smoother online than DOA Ultimate but it still suffers from periods of serious lag. I would say that 2/3 of my matches have been smooth (mostly) but the ones that are laggy are pretty horrible. Iím talking 1-2 frames per second horrible. The lag drastically affects the way you play the game and some characters (such as my beloved La Mariposa) are basically impossible to use because it throws your timing off completely. Keep that in mind when selecting your character.
Graphics and SoundGraphically, Dead Or Alive (12 walls) 4 is at the same time impressive and disappointing. The character models arenít that much better looking than DOAU but there are some little touches such as much nicer looking cloth textures that make things look pretty good. Also, there are some glitches such as flowing hair and billowing clothing that clip right through the fighters body which looks really bad. An area of major improvement is the environments. The areas you fight in look spectacular and are really the highlight of the visuals.
The sound is also pretty good but it is pretty similar to what we heard in DOAU. Itagakiís obsession with Aerosmith once again rears its ugly head, but there is a lot of other music as well (and you can use custom soundtracks which is very nice). The grunts and groans of combat are fairly standard, but still good.
Overall, Dead Or Alive (12 walls) 4 is a very good looking and sounding game that is clearly better than what we saw in the previous generation but it is obvious it isnít pushing the Xbox 360 all that hard.
Bottom LineWe had quite a drought between the Xbox 360 launch and the next new release, but Dead Or Alive (12 walls) 4 has been worth the wait. It looks better and plays better than any DOA before it so fighting fans are really in for a treat. The main attraction is the online play and while it is smoother than DOA U it can still be pretty laggy. We can only hope that will get cleaned up eventually. Between the online play and the tons of single player modes, there is a lot to do in DOA4 so you can definitely get your $60 worth of enjoyment out of it. If you arenít a huge fighting game fan you might want to rent it first, but for fight fans Dead Or Alive (12 walls) 4 is a worthy addition to your Xbox 360 collection.
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