TITLE: Dead or Alive 4
DEVELOPER: Team Ninja
DATE RELEASED: December 29, 2005
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 1-4
XBOX SYSTEM LINK: 1-16
XBOX LIVE COMPATABLE: Yes
PLATFORM: XBOX 360
ESRB: M (Mature 17+)
Retail Price: $59.99
Features: 16:9 Support, 480p Support, 720p Support, Dolby Digital 5.1, Memory Card, Online, System Link
Ok, with that mess aside lets get into the review shall we? This was a game that I have long been waiting
for. I loved DOA 3, in fact it was the reason I first bought an Xbox. I loved everything about the game. It
looked awesome and flowed so smoothly. When I heard that they were making a DOA 4 I felt both joy and
pain. Joy because it was another DOA, pain because I felt that they were going to screw it up and make
another Soul Calibur 3. I myself do not own an Xbox 360 as of yet, but a good friend of mine does. He came
over for the weekend and I made it my mission to do nothing but play this game until it was 100% done.
When I opened the case and put the game in I felt a huge sense of exhilaration knowing that I was about to
play the best Xbox 360 game out, or so I hoped.
One of the first things that caught my eye was the graphics. At first glance I didn't really notice too much
of a difference from 3, but I was so rushed by the anticipation of playing the game that I quickly got into
playing and didn't pay to much attention to anything else. Later, after I had played for a while I started to
notice all of the advancements made with the game. The frame rate was smooth as hell; the character
animations were tight and on point, and they paid as much attention to the environments as they did the
fighters, which pleased me greatly. I really have no huge complaints with the visuals of the game. At some
points the visuals do get a little cheesy as far as color combination choices and what not, but that is the DOA
This is one game that, to be fully appreciated must be seen first hand. The largest of gripes I could come
up with for the game is, in actuality, quite small. There is a bit of clipping in the game. Sometimes the longer
hair on the characters starts to clip through the character and what not. This is usually a problem with a lot of
games so, like I said, it really isn’t a big deal. I have not had any problems where that kind of clipping has
caused the game to lock up or freeze.
I did encounter one problem that happened multiple times. In the “Las Vegas” arena where you have the
signs in the back-ground that constantly congrat XBOX 360 on launching I kept having the problem that when
I got hit by a car in a certain area my character would get stuck in the car instead of flying into the air. Then
the car would drive away, but since the character was stuck in it, it would “hit the invisible fence” and get
stuck. If the opponent inched forward then the car would move a little bit, like it was determined to get out of
there, but couldn’t. Other than those few tiny little problems, everything else is quite on par.
The second thing to catch my eye, or my ear for that matter, was the sound. There really was no hint of
twang or metallic sounding noises that plague some games. I know a lot of the time when the action really
gets going and a game has to really chug to keep up with things the sounds is usually the first thing that
takes a dump. Though it is sometimes hard to pick it up when it happens when you are playing on a normal
TV with no surround, when you are playing on a TV with 5.1 surround you can definitely hear the drop in
auditory quality. With DOA 4 I really didn't get any of that. Though there was a lot of action going on at one
time the worst thing that happened was some SLIGHT slow down and that only happened a few times (I can
count on one hand how many times it happened). Overall the sound is on the same level with the rest of the
The signature selling point of this game is its counter engine. It makes the main drive of the game go
from just fight to fight with strategy. Every time a new DOA comes out the counter engine gets tweaked a
little bit more and a little bit more and a little bit more. Honestly I can say that where they have the engine
now should be adjusted just a little bit more. In 3 it was a bit to easy to perform a counter, in 4 it is a bit too
hard. The AI will just hammer you with counters if you let it. On top of that once the momentum gets going it
is very hard to counter and block the attack. Most of the time you end up being juggled or hit just enough
that it makes your character become disoriented over and over in consecutive attacks until you die. Most of
the time it goes like this: "Match starts- you perform your first attack, AI counters and knocks you to the
ground, you get up they knock you around and into the air, juggle you till you land, you get up they manage
to hit you in a way that sends your character into a state of disorientation and they keep doing that
disorienting move until you die". After a while this gets very frustrating, and the idea of trying to counter, or
block for that matter, soon leaves and is replaced by anger driven frustration. When that happens you just all
out, balls to the wall, attack in hopes that you can get the momentum in your favor. Sometimes it works,
other times it just serves to piss you off more.
Aside from that annoyance the game play is relatively unchanged; if they changed anything major they
did a damn good job of masking it to make it look like it was no trouble at all. Everything is a bit more fluid,
and things seem to flow a little better as far as combo's go. The addition of some new characters really helps
to bring a lot of freshness to the game. Though there are a few “clone” fighters they are relatively unique
and each adds a different perspective on how to fight in the game. This game shines in single player mode,
but it really takes off when you add more people into the fray. The human element really helps this game to
show how dominate it really is. I do not have direct access to Live, but I did play with my friend and my
brothers. Having just us play made the game so much more enjoyable. I can only imagine how frantic and
fun the game can get when playing on Live. Aside from live content and the single / multiplayer campaign
this game packs on a lot of extra modes. When playing single player gets boring you can jump in on a game
of survival mode. Now there is nothing really special about survival mode on the surface, but underneath it
all it becomes quite clear just how beneficial it can be.
I have always been a big advocate of using survival mode as a means of truly practicing moves and
combos. I know many games, including this one, have a sparing or training mode, but that just doesn’t give
the player what he/she needs to really learn how to play the game. Sure it is easy to beat a non-moving
sparring dummy, but when it comes down to putting those moves into action nine times out of ten that
doesn’t happen. On top of that, when playing through the campaign you are not worried about learning the
moves you just want to 100% the game so you just do what works. Now all this is fine, but when the
competition starts going up a notch or two, like when you get on live and play against real people, you get
stomped because you have no idea what to do.
Survival mode lets you practice in a way where while you are playing you are learning at the same time.
You do not feel the pressure to complete the game, because there is no completion to be had in survival
mode. It just keeps going and going and going… On top of that the AI gets harder and harder as you go, so it
is almost like playing against a normal person. Survival mode is the best way to bone up on the game and
hone your skills so that when the time comes to beat up on your friend or neighbor you can do it with style
and ease AND look good doing it.
As I said before this game is live capable. Unfortunately I do not have much access to live, but I did get a
chance to play it for about an hour or so. If you think this game is awesome just playing it with some buddies
on a LAN try playing with some PRO’s on live. It is a real awakening. I thought I was a house playing the
game with my friends, but I got humble real quick when I jumped on live. The ferocity of competition on live
alone gives the game tons of replay value. The harder the competition the bigger the drive is to overcome it.
The best thing about live is that it comes with so many possible ways to bring a freshness to the game.
Updates through live could bring new levels, new costumes, hell even new characters…maybe. Live brings
with it an untamed plethora of goodness.
What can I say about the story? It is a typical DOA story. It is much like Tekken in the respect that unless
you are Asian or know a lot about Asian culture you have no idea what the hell is going on. The basics of the
story are understandable, lots of people fighting a major corporation in hopes of taking it down for good with
lots of people bitching at each other on the side, but past that you just look at the TV slack jawed wondering
why the hell some chick is half naked performing intense karate moves to make her dinner and then falls on
her face while walking away, or why the hell some Bruce Lee knock off is playing the Jazz Sax randomly…IT
JUST DOESN’T MAKE SENSE!
Bottom line this is an awesome game. This has set the bar for fighters on the 360 WAY HIGH and this is
only the start of the consoles life. If people could learn from what this fighter has to offer and improve upon
it we could be in line for some monumental fighters down the road. Though the game has been done before
in versions 1, 2, 3 and all other incarnations, this game seems so fresh and new. If all sequels could be like
this then people would not groan when the news of a sequel comes out for a much loved game, much like I
did when I first heard DOA 4 was coming out. This game is very much the Resident Evil 4 of the franchise.
The one thing that could possibly prove to hurt the game is the little problem with the AI juggling. Though this
is a small problem that has basically been around since DOA it does get very frustrating and could very well
hurt sales from people who only play single player.
With that aside, though I hate doing the rating thing , I give this game a solid 8. A 10 means
perfect, and no game could ever be “perfect”, and a 9 is just a bit too high due to the minor flaws in the
game. I can safely give this game the “go out and buy” rating it is most certainly worth the price. For all
those who don’t have Live, or don’t play with other people I would say rent this one first only because the
story mode is quick, and the survival mode, as fun and beneficial as it is, can only entertain for so long
before it gets stale.
SCREEN SHOTS COMMING SOON!