Published on August 12th, 2012 | by Duke0913
Review: Dead or Alive: Dimensions
Developer: Team Ninja
Publisher: Tecmo Koei
Release Date: May 24, 2011
I’m sure many people were surprised to see a Dead or Alive game brought to a handheld Nintendo system, making Dead or Alive: Dimensions the first in the series to make an appearance on any of the Big N’s devices. The games have always been released on consoles, but this game was a bit different. Developed by Team Ninja, the game takes the best of the best from the previous 4 installments, and mashes it up into a very enjoyable game. Not perfect, and yes, it has a few issues here and there, but this is a great fighter for a handheld.
As I said before, Dead or Alive: Dimensions is a mix of all the main titles in the series. The game features a Chronicle Mode, which acts as a story mode. From the original Dead or Alive, and all the way through Dead or Alive 4, everything is explained. You take the role of a handful of characters, and play through the history of Dead or Alive in chronological order. What this means is, if you missed out on any of the games, you will know everything by the end of this mode. Full voice acting is featured in the game, and while it’s pretty decent, some of dialogue’s delivery is pretty weak, and there’s not much variety in what the characters say outside of this mode either. The style and animation is half good, half huh? Sometimes, the animation is spot on. The characters and environments move in a natural flow, all of which show off personality. Other times, everything is just still. Imagine a 3D comic, except with voice acting replacing the speech bubbles. Despite Team Ninja doing this to make the story more unique, it just comes off as odd and unnecessary.
The Chronicle Mode can easily be done in a few hours, but that doesn’t mean you’re done. In fact, this game offers a variety of game modes for you to tackle. Arcade makes a return where you fight a set pattern of characters as fast as you can, and depending on your difficulty determines how many fighters are thrown at you. If you’re one of those that loves a good endurance challenge (I know I do), you can have a go at Survival, and try to make it all the way to the end without being defeated. Training and Free Play are present as well, along with Tag Challenge, though the nature of that mode has been tweaked in this game. When playing by yourself, the first character you choose will be who you play as at all times. The second character you choose acts as somewhat of a support character, in that they only switch places with you during a fight when your health lowers to a certain amount. Whichever character is waiting on the sidelines regains health over time, to balance out the fact that the opponent will have more health and power than usual. It’s kinda odd not being able to control both characters in Tag Challenge, but the system works fine once you get the hang of it.
So, how does Dead or Alive: Dimensions play compared to the other titles on the consoles? Fantastic. The fighting system is based off the one found in Dead or Alive 4, with a few tweaks here in there to make it feel more fluid and up to date. The fighting still goes off the triangle system, which, for those of you that don’t know, is like a game of rock, paper, scissors…just with fists an kicks. You move with either the D-pad or the circle pad and the 4 action buttons to kick, punch, throw, and hold/guard. If and when you and your opponent use a move at the same time, the move with higher priority will land. For this game, here’s how the battle will flow as you try to take down your opponent. Holds will take priority over any strike, yet a throw can easily get around a hold. Any strike will break through a throw, but will get countered with a hold, so long as the right hold is pulled off. If your opponent attacks high, you’ll need to hold high. For low attacks, you better hold low or else your rhythm will be thrown off. You can opt to use the touch screen to use moves, similar to Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition, to use every move available to a character, but having to switch pages can take away from the action and make fighting more difficult than it has to be. Once you understand how things work, you’ll be pulling off combos and juggling opponents as if everything is second nature.
Speaking of nature, the terrain you fight on can either work with you or against you. Throughout each stage there are objects and hazards that you can slam your opponent into, but keep in mind that they can do the same to you. The areas themselves range from a bridge that you can fall off of, to a lab with electrical surfaces that can shock you if you hit the ground. In some cases, you may get carried off by Ridely, a character from the Metroid series. That’s right, both Ridely and Samus make a cameo in the game, but neither of them are playable. Not really a bad thing, considering Dead or Alive: Dimensions features every playable character from the entire series to play with. At the same time, it would have been interesting to see how Samus would fare against the other fighters. May have been a little cheap with bombs and missiles going off everywhere, but still, just seems like a missed opportunity.
Another mode that can take up your time is both offline and online multiplayer. You can link up with your friends in wireless matches, or go online for a random match up. After every fight you either lose or are awarded points, which go towards your overall grade that others can see online. You can even play tag mode online with a friend, if you have each other registered as friends, of course. Though this can be fun, the online modes are held back by the choppy frame rate. The same can be said about the 3-D effect, which drops the frame rate from 60 to 30 in order to actually work. Don’t get me wrong, the effect looks great, and it really looks like the fighting is popping out of the screen right before your eyes, but at the cost of slow down, I’d rather keep the 3-D slider all the way down.
StreetPass and SpotPass get a little love in this game, letting you fight against ghost data from other players you pass that also own a copy of Dead or Alive: Dimensions in Throwdown. While playing the game in general, you’ll earn many figurines that you can take pictures of. If you’re one that doesn’t really play the game much but interested in collecting these figures, you can cough up some play coins to buy some. Now, allow me to correct myself. Dead or Alive: Dimensions HAD spotpass features. For those that are interested in buying the game now, you’ll unfortunately be missing out on a couple of things. Both costumes and throwdown challenges were distributed to players through SpotPass, but the service has ended quite some time ago. This also means that the figurines you get exclusively through the Throwdown challenges are not obtainable. The likely hood that they’ll resume this service again is highly doubtful, considering that Dead or Alive 5 is drawing closer to its release.
Dead or Alive: Dimensions is a great fighter,and a wonderful title for the Nintendo 3DS. Aside from the fact that new players today can’t complete their figurine collections or obtain bonus costumes, the sometimes horrid frame rate online, and the odd lack of animation in certain Chronicle Mode scenes, this is an all around solid fighter. The small tweaks made to the fighting system this time around and the simple controls make it the best in the series. Every character that’s made a playable appearance in the series is available here, giving you many styles to try. With many modes available to play, this is a great game to start with if you’re a least bit interested in Dead or Alive, and will tie you over until the next installment in the series is released later this year.
+ Fantastic fighting system
+ A nice nostalgic soundtrack
+ A variety of modes
+ Nice 3-D usage
+ A huge character roster
– Horrible slowdown online
– Currently impossible to complete figurine collection
Score: 4 out of 5