Dead or Alive: Dimensions
Dead or Alive: Dimensions was a big surprise to be honest. I’m not a very talented person when it comes to fight games and a handheld version didn’t give me a lot of trust. But, the Nintendo 3DS now has a new game that’s always as fun as the breasts of its lead characters are big!
One of the most fun modes is Chronicle, a combination of the main storyline, gameplay of course and a very extensive tutorial. The story follows the happenings from the first four Dead or Alive games but I have to be honest and confess I didn’t have any idea what was going on. All kinds of characters pop up with their own rivalries and issues and the pace is so high that you never really get the chance to learn to know anyone without checking Wikipedia.
Not that that spoils the fun. Some beautiful CGI-movies make it digestable – most are unfortunately in-engine and the acting is rather 1D – and that you slowly but steadily learn the controls and moves makes it ideal for newcomers to the series. You’re taken by hand as if you were an enfant and that’s more than welcome. Also the two screens are very well used with a beautiful 3D effect on top and handy clues and references below. This way you can dynamically see which combos you can do depending on which inputs you already gave, something that also comes in handy in the Training Mode.
I appreciated the combat a lot thanks to all this and I even got so enthusiastic that I tried to learn combos by heart. Less complicated than Street Fighter, with three attacks and an easy to use system to evade attacks and start up counters. You don’t need superhuman reflexes to kick ass in DoA: Dimensions and there’s a perfect balance between depth and accessibility.
The spectacle is brought with clear and fluid animations and a whole series of varied locations in which you can fight on several levels (and throw opponents from those as well). Qua detail, artistic choices and animations there’s very little to be negative about and this is without a doubt one of the most beautiful games from the 3DS’ launch lineup. Despite the 3D implementation being quite good, hardcore gamers will quickly move to 2D as you get 60 instead of 30 frames per second, something crucial for those serious with fighting. A bit sad to be honest as this completely makes you wonder why you would want it on the 3DS.
Next to the richly filled singleplayer there’s more. The Survival Mode places you against incrementally stronger and more opponents, up to a maximum of 100 fights. Crazy and definitely something for the better fighters amongst us. A bit more accessible are the Arcade challenges which also have easy parts and where you mostly need to focus on putting down a good time.
For those that still want more there’s the Tag mode where you take on the most difficult opponents but with the help of a second AI-controlled fighter. You can switch between the two but sadly enough the AI can also decide to suddenly jump into the ring by himself. Multiplayer is also present but both players will need a copy of the game to be able to play together, something I always find a major bummer. Luckily you can also go online, but the few games I played went bad due to the tons of lag.
In exchange for all your blood, sweat and tears you get little puppets you can fotograph afterwards with your 3DS like with those AR games. A fun extra for the fans next to the normal things you can unlock like costumes and new characters.
Dead or Alive: Dimensions is really a great game thanks to the patient and smart way the devs draw newcomers into the game and slowly but steadily allow them to evolve their talent. Too bad that the storyline is still very difficult to follow and doesn’t profit from that same vision and accompanying patience from the devs. Luckily this is made up by beautiful graphics, great characters with the necessary boob-vision, a deep and responsive combatmodel and of course lots of extra modes for newcomers and absolute specialists. If you’re looking for a handheld fight game then this is one you can get at the store now!