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Dead or Alive: Dimensions - 3DS Review

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Dead or Alive: Dimensions

3DS | Tecmo Koei / Team Ninja | 1-2 Players (local multiplayer/online versus) | StreetPass Support | SpotPass Available | Out Now
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2nd July 2011; By Patrick

The 3DS is quickly becoming a system full of fighting games. At launch there was Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition, and now, there is also
Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion, BlazBlue: Continuum Shift II, and Tecmo Koei’s latest entry in their acclaimed fighting series, Dead or Alive: Dimensions. The series is known for it’s “physics engines”, as it were, along with intense combos and multi-tiered stages. Did all of these make the transition to the 3DS well?

    The Dead or Alive series has never been on a Nintendo platform before, so Tecmo Koei has made sure that fans would able to understand the story with it’s story. Dubbed Chronicle Mode, it is comprised of four chapters -- the stories of the first four games. Cutscenes between fights are on rare occasion told by moving, lip-synced 3D models, but more often and much more comically, they are told by the character’s models standing around with their hair blowing in the wind, as they seem to teleport between places. Also, some cutscenes appear to be missing, as evidenced by two fights right after another with the same character halfway across the globe, fighting someone completely new for no good reason. While this does make it hard to focus on the story, the main reason for playing Chronicle Mode is definitely the included tutorial. Before some fights, it will teach you new tricks, introduce you to the unique fighting system, and more. So it is recommended to play for both the story and the ability to learn.

    The fighting style itself is absolutely unique to the series, and has been described as a “Rock-Paper-Scissors” system of sorts. Counters beat Punches, Grabs beat Counters, and Punches beat Grabs. However, contrary to
other fighting games, the stages also play a big part in the fights. You can smash your opponents into pillars and walls, and seeing as every stage is multi-tiered, you can throw or push your opponent off the level of the stage you’re fighting on onto the next one down, seriously depleting their life bar. While the Circle Pad and buttons constitute the majority of controls, the touch screen displays a list of every move your character can do; from two-kick combos to the most complex and deadly moves in the game, available at the tap of a button. This is annoying to fight against, but when used online, players get marked as cheating for using it, so there’s at least some penalty.

    Arcade Mode, a tradition in most fighting games, is the place where you fight a series of fighters without losing a round. Free Fight is also standard, but always a great addition for players that want to jump right into a fight without much time. This game also introduces Tag Mode, which is a Quick Play 2-vs-2 match where you partner up with a CPU to take down two other CPU’s. You are allowed to switch characters when the one in play has less health than the other fighter, enabling them to recover while swapped out. The only flaw is that your CPU does not break enemy combos while he is in play, so your character gets little time to recharge before he or she is sent back out.

    The online mode is relatively lag-free, and features two modes. One is a standard Player vs Player mode, featuring the game’s robust 26 character roster, and the other is a 2 Player vs 2 CPU Tag Mode, which is extraordinarily fun to play. The game also features various challenges that players can complete to unlock costumes and figurines. They start from the very easy, but rank up to ones that I have not yet been able to complete. They will require some serious training and trial and error to get. Overall, Dead or Alive: Dimensions contains an absolutely staggering amount of content. From Chronicle Mode to Arcade Mode, from Tag Mode to the 3D Album, from Online to Local, there is no shortage of things to do if you are bored with any one given mode.

    The final thing of note about the game’s features is that as you complete various tasks, you unlock either character costumes or one of the (literally) 1,000 trophies the game has. These trophies can be placed in a backdrop that you can rotate with the gyroscope, and you can take 3D photographs at will. They will, however, not save to your SD card as a MPO or JPG, nor are they visible in the Nintendo 3DS Camera. But fans have fixed this by programming their own Photo Decrypter that you can download and use to get the photos that way.

    Another great thing about the game is that it uses every feature the Nintendo 3DS has to offer: the gyroscope to change the camera around on the Main Menu and view figurines; the motion sensor, to play with the physics engine; StreetPass, to collect other players’ data and fight them; SpotPass, to download limited-time costumes (one each day, but they’ve begun cycling through them again so everyone can get them all) and weekly developer data to fight against. Team Ninja truly went all out with this title.

    To summarize, Dead or Alive: Dimensions is overflowing with content. With 26 characters, a seemingly endless number of costumes and trophies, and more modes than I know what to do with, it truly is a very good value for $40. And while some modes are more time-worthy than others, there’s something for everything. Thanks to the tutorials and the use of the Touch Screen, it’s a great entry point, not just to the Dead or Alive series, but to the entirety of the fighting genre.

27/30 - Excellent

Gameplay 10/10 - Great fighting system, fluid controls, engaging gameplay, scenery affects battles, online is lag-less and an absolute blast
Presentation 8/10 - Tons of costumes and characters, beautiful scenery, cutscenes in Chronicle mode disconcerting but comical
Enjoyment 4/5 - Tons of modes, most are fun but not all are memorable, Tag Mode is especially enjoyable
Extra Content 5/5 - Overflowing with content, SpotPass and StreetPass incorporation, more content than any 3DS game to date, so much to explore

Equivalent to a score of 90% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)

Review by Patrick
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