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Dead or Alive Ultimate Xbox Review

Dead or Alive Ultimate
Team Ninja
October 2004
Xbox Live:

Dead or Alive Ultimate 
Tuesday, November 16, 2004 

"Ready, Fight!" As you hear those words you’re concentration zero’s in on the action on the TV screen. The fight is hectic, brutal, and close. Finally you hear the announcer call out “Winner!” But you weren’t playing. Instead of playing, you were just experiencing the awesome online parts of Team Ninja’s latest golden game, Dead or Alive Ultimate. You were in the “virtual arcade.” A feature Team Ninja developed for their first attempt at an online fighter.

One of the coolest things about DOAU is the fact that you can hang in a room with up to seven other players and watch each others matches against one another. It really gives you the feeling of being in the arcade. You can talk to everyone in the room, including the two currently engaged in battle. It adds a lot to the battle because now not only do the people fighting have to worry about their opponent but they also have to try and block out what everyone else is saying as well. Not always an easy task.

Gameplay in DOAU is what you would come to expect if you’ve played any of the other renditions. Fast paced battles with a lot of counters being attempted but not always timed correctly. Though the game is quite fun, it is also quite flawed. First off, counters still have to large of a window and do too much damage, a correctly timed counter can, in fact, deal up a third of your health bar in damage. Another major flaw is the new addition to the engine. Slants are deadly, way too deadly.

On the great wall stage (one of the more visually appealing stages) if you get knocked down the stairs, be prepared to have it take about half your life by the time you’re done rolling. The last major flaw I’ve noticed with my time is move priority; I’ve found a lot of the times that a slow low kick will get priority over a fast mid kick. Not the end of the world, but enough to frustrate anyone who’s delved deep enough into the engine to be able to notice it.

Now it’s not all bad, counters are normally few and far between, and it’s not impossible to make a come back win after eating all that slant damage. Some of the cooler looking throws come when near a slant. The game is still very fun when you’re playing against people on your skill level.

Graphics are easily some of the best you’ll find. Team Ninja is known for pushing hardware to its limits and this game is no exception. Animations are fluid. Characters are as realistic as they could possibly be. The environments you fight in are extremely beautiful, I don’t think you’ll find environments looking this good until the next the console generation.

Again, I thought the sound fit very well. Unlike in DOA3 the song in the opening movie fits almost perfectly. The whole super rock band and fighting game just didn’t seem to fit together too well in 3. This time though, they used Aerosmith’s “Dream On,” not only did it fit the video, it also happens to be one of my favorite songs of all time, so that was an added bonus for me.

The sound effects and voice work were also good. Punches and kicks made sounds that, though didn’t really sound like fist to face or something similar, were appropriate and portrayed when you landed a hit and just how powerful that hit was. Leaving it with the original Japanese voice actors was a huge plus as well. Having played DOA2: Hardcore on the PS2 and hearing the really bad English voiceovers, this was a nice addition. All around great sound package.

This game is a great package worthy of every penny spent. Though I can’t say it stands up to the likes of Soul Calibur 2, it’s good to warrant a purchase and a spot in your gaming library. It’s the best online fighter out there right now, leagues ahead of Mortal Kombat: Deception and, in my opinion, the second best fighter available for the Xbox. Whether you have Xbox Live or not, this game shouldn’t be passed up.

Overall Score

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