The general story of DOA4 is the same as the story of DOA3: Ninjas stopping DOATEC, People working for DOATEC, Tina wanting to be a rock star, her dad trying to stop her, and a couple extras just there for fighting variety. This is really just the first 3D fighting game for the Xbox 360.
The list of features as supplied by the manufacturer:
* DOA Online – Experience unsurpassed online play on Xbox Live, including large-scale global online tournaments, increased worldwide simultaneous online play, detailed scoreboards, the ability to form clans, a new and interactive lobby area featuring voice and text chat, and more.
* 3-D high-definition graphics – Utilizing the advanced technology of Xbox 360 and Team Ninja's development expertise, Dead or Alive 4 takes 3-D graphics to a new level, creating a visually stunning video game.
* New characters and old favorites – Meet new faces in the DOA cast of characters, and get ready for the return of Dead or Alive® 3 favorites Christie and Brad Wong!
* Interactive stages – Incredible new interactive stages showcase 3-D graphics and astounding attention to detail, from each strand of a character's hair to the individual cherry blossoms falling from the sky.
Graphics are pretty good. They are what you would expect for the 360 after seeing DOA3 and Volleyball for the first Xbox. Unfortunately, you get a lot of the problems you usually get from fighting games. You will see parts of your characters go through walls or each other (especially when trying to grab). Another minus is that the clipping issues do not stop there. You will see the ladies' hair fall through their shoulders and torso. However, the arenas are immensely detailed and very interactive. On the plus side, parts of the costumes like hats or sunglasses will come off a character as you're fighting. Some other pluses are amazing cutscenes, and that it takes no more than slight mental effort to make the puppies jiggle.
The sound in the game is amazing. From the punches, kicks and throws, to the soundtrack and voices, the sound is awesome. 5.1 is not a necessity since its a fighting game and you know exactly where the attacks are coming from. Voice acting seems a little flat, but about normal from what I know of Japanese games.
This is the crunch time for a fighting game. The buttons are easy to learn and use and there is a command list for each character. The game feels like Tekken 4 on crack. Playing against the computer generally allows you very little time to bring out moves and combos, especially when you seem to get countered about 60% of the time on normal. The number of moves each character has seems to be plentiful, but for a lot of the characters, you will use different button combinations to do what looks like the exact same attack for the exact same damage. Online play is pretty good, especially since a good number of moves are exactly the same for the DOA3 characters. Going through the exercises in sparring mode is nearly impossible because some of the moves it asks you to do you cannot create the situation to. For example La Mariposa's exercises asks you to perform a standard throw while facing away from your example. Unfortunately, you can't actually get La Mariposa to turn away from the opponent at will (or at least I couldn't). Also, Tecmo has advertised a whole new countering system for DOA4, which as far as I can tell means that you mash the buttons anytime you are getting hit. Counterstriking is fairly easy since all you have to do is a fast attack when your opponent is trying to bust out a fancy move. As for a counter hold, it's anybody's guess as to how that actually works.
ONLINE / MULTIPLAYER
It really doesn't get more replayable than this in theory. Awesome online interaction, awesome playability, and it takes forever to get all the achievements (try getting 20 straight online wins or one of the top two players). You need to beat the game with each of the 16 original players to unlock Helena, then beat the game with her to unlock a Spartan from Bungie's Halo Universe. Another good thing about it is that since it provides for 2v2, it can develop the party time greatness that Halo enjoys while not being a shooter. However, if you aren't a die hard fans of fighters, or just picked it up for Nicole (like me), then it really isn't going to cut the mustard.
As for originality, yeah the story is a new chapter in the DOA plot. However, DOA's plots haven't exactly ever been the best. Move lists are fairly identical, and the only real thing that differentiates DOA4 from DOA3 is graphics and bonus characters.
Awesome game. Many people will come for Nicole, but many more will stay for the fighting.