Dead or Alive 3
There is no doubt about it, Dead or Alive 3 is one of those games that is going make you want an Xbox if you don't have one. The graphics are absolutely first class and are the equal of anything you've ever seen in a game, and yes I mean those fancy cutscene graphics that you've probably seen in the Final Fantasy X previews. The character models look that good you'll still be amazed by them even after playing the game for a couple of weeks. Of course DOA3 is a beat 'em up game and as well as being graphically splendid it also delivers superb fighting action.
The game has a variety of modes for you to try. There is the time attack mode in which you have to try and clear the computer opponents in the fastest possible time. Versus mode is the mode for 2 or more players. In this mode a single match or tag match can be selected. Survival mode is a single player mode that sees you trying to defeat as many computer opponents in succession as possible. The more you defeat the higher the score you will earn. A sparring mode is also available for you to practice your moves. There is also a tag battle mode in which your character can team up with another to defeat the computer opponents. Finally there is story mode that sees you selecting a character and fighting against their specific opponents. If you defeat all of these opponents then you will end up fighting the final boss. Defeat the boss and you will unlock a movie clip for your character.
One of the key differences between DOA3 and other fighting games is that you feel like you are in an interactive environment. You can throw your enemies out of buildings, off cliffs and into the snow. If one of the fighters comes down hard on some slabs then that slab will fracture and remain fractured for the rest of the fight. When you throw your enemy into the snow their imprint remains. It is truly amazing to see.
The fighting model is excellent and at no time do you get the impression that one move wins all or find that constant button bashing defeats everything as was the case in the early Tekken games. Each character has a host of special moves and it pays to pick one character and concentrate on learning their moves if you are to become successful. The manual lists the moves and they can be accessed onscreen during the sparring mode. One source of aggravation is that rather than use the game pad buttons to highlight the moves the game comes up with it's own legend. For instance 'F' means press the 'X' button on the gamepad and 'K' means press the 'B' button. So, for example, Kasumi's Tenbu-Shu attack is denoted as upright, 'P' and 'K'. On the game pad it would be upright, 'Y' and 'B'. Sticking to the onscreen instructions in the sparring mode does sort of make this easier as at least the colour of the icons is the same as on the gamepad whereas in the manual the colours are slightly different and confusing.
Overall DOA3 is an excellent fighting game. The character physics are spot on with the female characters breast bobble looking scarily realistic, I wonder how they motion captured that? In the story mode all the conversation is subtitled which is excellent. Most importantly of all though is that it has a damn good fight model that will make sure the only thing that will make you want to stop playing is your aching wrists.
Overall Game Rating: 9.2/10 One of the best fighting games on any platform. Visual excellence and a superb fight model means that you'll be playing this one for ages.
Deaf Gamers comment: Only a small amount of speech is in the game but what is there is subtitled.