| Mature Sexual Themes, Violence
| The Good
┤ Great Graphics
┤ Polished Gameplay
┤ 4 New Characters
┤ CG Endings
| The Bad
┤ Lack of Extras
┤ Counter "catch" time needs to be reduced
┤ Xbox controller isn't ideal for this game
The DOA series is one of the most controversial fighting
games around. Fighting game elitists, in particular, seem
to find joy in bashing the series. It has been called everything
from a "button masher" to "hentai for the masses". In truth,
DOA is as deep as any other fighting game, and excels
in areas that others falter. Limbo stuns, open and closed
stances, hi counters. Haven't heard of them? Check some FAQs.
Where does DOA3 excel? The Tag Team mode is the smoothest
and most seamless around and the tag throws are some of the
most impressive seen in fighting games. Throwing is very useful
and commonplace because of the game's paper/scissors/rocks
engine. The action is very fast, and the game punishes predictability.
DOA3 picks up the storyline where all other fighting
games do. The next tournament. So what's new in DOA3?
To begin with, 4 new characters. Christie (Snake Fist), Hitomi
(Karate), Brad Wong (Drunken style Kung Fu) and Hayate (Ninjitsu).
Graphics: DOA3 is the best looking game I have ever
seen, on any console to date. The DOA characters have
always had an anime influence, which means that the characters
are not modeled as realistic as games like VF4.
Some may prefer one character style over the other, but in
terms of detail and backgrounds, DOA3 comes out on
top. You can actually see the muscles flex on different character's
body parts. You can actually see Tina's stomach muscles contract
in her introduction. You'd be surprised at the number of minor
details that can only be seen when the game is paused. The
characters have so much detail in their costumes that you
can actually tell what material they are wearing. The hair
blows realistically, and even reacts to each hit. The arenas
also are the larger than ever. If you really want to see how
incredible DOA3 looks, simply pop in DOA2 or
Soul Calibur. The differences will be readily apparent.
Gameplay: DOA3 has had some major updates since DOA2.
Counter damage has been drastically reduced. The Counter "catch"
animation is still the same (I wish it required Soul Calibur
timing). The arenas are larger and in-stage obstacles are
now in most stages. Air throws have been added. New moves
for each character, including ground throws for a few. Characters
can also suffer a KO from fall damage. Most importantly, sidestepping
is actually useful. The 3D movement is greatly improved from
DOA2, but it still is not as good as the 8-Way run
from Soul Calibur.
Audio: Nothing really special. If you like Aerosmith,
you can hear three of their songs at various times. The hit
effects sound good in surround, but aren't anything memorable.
The same goes for the background music. On a brighter note,
the voices are all in Japanese. Which means that the voice
acting is top notch.
Conclusion: DOA3 is a worthy upgrade. It polishes
all the areas where DOA2 faltered. One of the biggest
problems is the lack of secrets. The one player replay value
is very low. It mostly involves practicing and beating Survival
mode records. It's definitely not perfect, and there are a
few things I hope they fix for DOA4. But it's a great
looking fighter that is also very easy to pick up and learn.
Becoming great at it is another matter. Is it worth buying
the Xbox for? I think so, but then againâ I have an obsession
that compels me to own every fighting game in existence.
Addendum: The Booster disc for this game found in
July's OXM features 18 new costumes and a new CG introduction.
This is the "upgrade" that Tecmo promised US gamers. The problem?
The Japanese version and European versions of DOA3
have the 18 new costumes, CG introduction, and an ADDITIONAL
50 moves. For some reason, Tecmo has decided that US fans
are more interested in fanservice than in gameplay. They have
promised more booster discs in the future, but until thenâ