Dead or Alive 4 - Xbox 360 Review

While the Dead or Alive series has been around for several years, this was my first brush with any of its games. Dead or Alive 4 has been out for a handful of years in and of itself now, and was one of the earlier titles I picked up when I purchased my Xbox 360.

I have always enjoyed fighting games, ranging from Street Fighter through Mortal Kombat and including others such as Tekken or Marvel vs Capcom. Not too long ago I reviewed Dead or Alive Dimensions, and I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Since Dead or Alive 4 has some years under its belt by now, I thought it was worth writing about before posting my Dead or Alive 5 review. This title can be had pretty cheaply and I certainly enjoyed it, but let's take a closer look at it.

Graphics - 7:

When this first came out, I thought the visuals were amazing. This was probably the first fighter I had played on the current generation of game consoles. The backgrounds were bright and colorful, characters animated smoothly and overall it was a pleasure to look at. By today's standards, it maybe is not quite as detailed as other fights that have come along since, but Dead or Alive 4 is by no means an ugly game to look at.

Sound & Music - 6:

A lot of things age poorly when you look back at a game from several years ago. Generally visuals and extras are the two things that come into focus most quickly. Sound and music is usually more about design choice than hardware limitation or lessons learned, and here the music is completely forgettable. It does not necessarily feel out of sync with the action, it is just...there. The same can be said of most of the sound effects. Let's put it this way - when I first played Dead or Alive 4 on the 360, visually you could tell it was a step up from what I played in fighters on the PlayStation 2. The same leap was not evident in the audio.

Gameplay - 8:

I really liked the fighting engine. It was not as precise as a game like Street Fighter or Virtua Fighter, but more resembled the Tekken series, which has long been one of my favorite fighting franchises. There is an element of button mashing here you can get by on, but learning the moves and when the pull off combos still means success more often than blinding crushing buttons.

Intangibles - 7:

The big roster of characters was welcome, and the game was easy to pick up and play. I was familiar with fighters but not the series - yet I was immediately able to win matches without having to spend tons of time training. As this was about the only fighting game in town back then, I had no trouble hopping on Xbox Live and finding matches. When I tried it again now... well, there might as well have been virtual tumbleweeds blowing across the yard. I am not surprised mind you, but it is something to keep in mind if you are a big fan of fighting online.

There are quite a few other modes though as well. You can spectate two cpu opponents going at one another, take pictures and save them, plus versus, time, survival and team battle modes.

Overall - 7:

Dead or Alive 4 is still a fair amount of fun, especially considering how cheaply it can be had now. Tastes may of course differ. One of my buddies is a huge Street Fighter fan - he has never had any patience for titles like Tekken or Dead or Alive and grows frustrated with them quickly - especially playing against other people. Lots of achievements out there for people who try to track those down as well. The Dead or Alive series gets a fair amount of attention for how the females are um... portrayed, and that is fair. The designers obviously have that in mind when they start to render all of the character art, but there is a fun engine powering it all as well.



  1. That Random Game Blogger20 March, 2013 11:48

    I love this game, DOA always had a strong fighting mechanic (though admittedly it was starting to get a bit stale) and it was coupled with one of the best multiplayer support for the genre.

    It was years ahead of its time, allowing you to do things that some recent games still don't, like watching other players' matches *coughs*MarvelVsCapcom3*coughs*

  2. Hey, thanks for dropping by!

    And it's funny you mention that with the spectator mode. I've been playing a handful of fighting games lately (including DOA 5, which I'll be reviewing on Friday - but also Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom, Soulcaliber 5, etc) - and I was commenting to my oldest about this feature and how it is surprisingly still lacking in a lot of the newer fighters.

  3. Great review, but I must admit having played 5 it is hard to go back to the earlier DoA games - I can't touch Dimensions now, for instance.

  4. I hear you. I traded Dimensions not toooo long ago, and really found 4 to be okay, but compared to 5 - it's definitely lacking. I see you have been enjoying the Vita version as well!

    Thanks for dropping by!

  5. "It was years ahead of its time, allowing you to do things that some recent games still don't, like watching other players' matches"

    Like I mentioned in your Dimensions' review, it's been a while since I played a fighting game; BUT I like little things like this. I have enjoyed playing chess over the years, and even watching chess games I find interesting (though slower paced than a fighting game for sure!), because each person usually plays with different methods.

    @Chalgyr:disqus do you know, or @8d16fc059f2240795de63bc53424da2d:disqus, if you can select which players to watch, or just friends? Like, is it possible to look up the best players and watch how they battle it out?

  6. This specific mode he is referring to is computer vs computer where they take over the two characters and you watch sort of this neverending fight. Now, with Dead or Alive 5, there were lobbies and you could participate in the fighting or just spectate inside of the lobby watching the matches that take place.

    Unfortunately as you and I both touched on in the DoA 5 review, there's not much online activity to be had. I think the most active one I found had 7 of us in there, and 1 or 2 were idle. I did however get a couple of my online trophies in there. ;)


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