Dead or Alive 4

Intensely frustrating, rewarding, and challenging, Dead or Alive 4 is not a game for those of us with short attention spans, anger management issues, or serious over competitiveness. Truly an impressive looking title, this Xbox 360 exclusive fighting game is the ultimate roadster, a machine that everyone is dying to play with. Those of us that look under the hood should be similarly happy, as it lives up to the promise of any serious fighting game; to provide some ass-kicking martial arts action. Plus, how can you not like a game that features a Spartan from the Halo universe, complete with a space station gameplay level.

While it can be amazingly fun, even an experienced player might find problems with the 'hot and cold' AI, that's easily beatable one moment and then totally capable of handing you a butt kicking the next. To that end, I think it’s relatively understandable that the single player portion of the game is only likely reinforced, with the occasional cutscenes, and character endings that range from absurdly silly to complete and total fan-service.

It’s great, but you really get the feeling that the single player mode exists only to get you ready for online play. And boy, could I go on for a while about online play. Intense, competitive, and with special achievements you can only get through online play, this is one of the best online experiences I’ve had. Definitely two thumbs up for that.

Visually, Dead or Alive 4 is absolutely stunning. Everything looks great. We may still be riding a high wave on the Xbox 360, but just remember the grand tradition of consoles.

These games look great, but they’re likely nothing close to what the system can really do. One of the best ways the game takes advantage of the 360 hardware is in it’s gigantic stages to fight through, marveling at all of the wonderful detail. On a side note, the game sounds great even on a bad TV and one of the unlockables for most every character is a system voice that replaces the default announcer voice. Naturally, I keep mind on Spartan-458 all the time.

Dead or Alive 4 is an unqualified success. If you own a 360, add this to the collection of 3 or 4 great games you’ve been able to accumulate so far.