[Shock Value is a weekly segment which runs down inexpensive titles that are more than worth the money spent.]
- Title: Dead or Alive 4
- Developer: Team Ninja
- Publisher: TECMO
- Genre: Fighting
- Release: December, 2005
- Platforms: Xbox 360
- Pricing: New: $20, Used: $15
Some games come and go. Some games are popular for a few months and then totally eclipsed by their sequel which will hit stores around the same time in a year. Some games however, will be played for years and years on end and create rampant, dedicated communities who remain loyal to the game unconcerned with a sequel.
Dead or Alive 4, for the Xbox 360, is one of those games. Sure it has been nearly five years since the game launched with the 360, but what if I told you that no fighting game released since then can compare? Dead or Alive 4 continues the long running series of big breasted female ninjas, lovely and detailed graphics and absolutely addictive gameplay.
Players take control over one of twenty-two characters and battle their opponents in the ultimate test of speed and skill. What starts as simple and easy to learn controls and combat will eventually evolve into a deep, intricate combat system that will take dedication to master.
There is a punch button, a kick button, a grab button and a block/reversal button. The nuances of battle lie in whether or not your opponent will reverse your kick, duck your high punch or grapple your vulnerable block. Each character possesses a unique array of offensive and defensive maneuvers in addition to the basics.
Lei-Fang has a number of formidable parries and guards while Kasumi can vanish and reappear behind her opponent for a devastating punishment. Players can complete the story mode to learn more about each character and witness gorgeous cutscenes, which can be viewed again later in the gallery mode.
Always fun are the challenging survival and timed attack game modes, which allow you to earn bronze, silver or gold medals. You can unlock multiple costumes for each character which is absolutely awesome considering that if they charged for them like they do with costumes in fighting games nowadays, it would cost $100.
Local multiplayer is a blast if you can find anyone willing to dedicate the time to become any good. Even if you can’t, a button masher would have just as much fun with the easy to grasp controls. The real main course of this meal though is the online mode. For a game that came out five years ago, DOA4 has an incredibly sprawling online community.
You’ll be able to find a fight at all hours of the night and day, which is even stranger considering that this game is Xbox exclusive. Not saying that there aren’t many Xbox owners, but this game certainly hasn’t died out the way just about every shooting game ever on the console has.
The fact that so many people still play after all this time is testament to this game’s quality: we love it. You can decorate your avatar who you’ll then take into the lobbies when organizing a game. While online you can check things like the leaderboards and character play data.
The lobbies themselves are awesome too; you can customize your space and purchase TVs on which members can watch fights between combatants; granted they themselves aren’t fighting. The game has aged phenomenally well, in every possible way.
DOA4 is a remarkable game, so much so that even time has not managed to put a damper on it. Witness the work of the great Itagaki before the um….complications. $20 for one of the best fighters ever to have been created is quite a deal. You’ll be glad you spent the money after just five minutes with it.