Dead or Alive Dimensions Review

Posted: July 7, 2011 in Review
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Dead or Alive Dimensions

And in the red corner, the first rival to Street Fighter’s fighting genre crown, and making its debut appearance on a Nintendo console – Dead or Alive Dimensions. Both are competent, accessible and highly enjoyable fighters, so who will be crowned the champion?

Dimensions marks itself out as a very different fighting game almost immediately by focussing on the technical side of battle, thanks to the infinitely complex Triangle System. Each attack is one of three kinds – Hold, Throw or Strike – and all operate on a rock-paper-scissors scale. For instance, if an opponent attempts a Throw, you can counter with a Strike, defeat a Hold with a Throw or stop a Strike with a Hold. This intricate little system hides a wealth of tactical decisions, making each attack a potential disaster or the ultimate triumph.

In addition to the complex fighting system, each arena features several obstacles that you use to your advantage. People can be kicked through windows, off balconies, down mountains and staircases, all of which adds to the feeling that the fights are organic, that the flow of battle could change at any moment.

There are a wealth of game modes available from the off. The story mode (Chronicle) attempts to fit the stories of the previous four DOA games into one bite-size piece and comes off as totally impenetrable, seeing the player jump from character to character and doing battle with anyone and everyone. It’s a complicated story, but it does also introduce the fighting mechanics to newcomers one piece at a time. It’s also where most of the unlockable characters are hiding, making it well worth the two or three hours of play time.

Other game modes include the token Training, Free Play, Local Play and Internet Play, however, more interesting are the Arcade, Survival and Tag Challenge options. Arcade sees you doing battle with eight of increasingly tough enemies in six different difficulties, while Survival pits you against a non-stop stream of opponents. Weakest of the bunch is Tag Challenge, not because it’s a bad idea (you and a CPU partner versus one or two adversaries), but because the ‘Tag In’ command has been mapped to the Block button. This means that anytime you try to counter an attack, you accidentally summon your partner and one of you gets kicked in the face. It’s a bit of a mess in the end, as no amount of skill or practice can make you not call your partner at the wrong moment.

On top of the various gameplay modes, there’s a wealth of secrets to be dug up. Each character has multiple costumes – at least three, although the female fighters have up to eight – and there are a huge amount of hidden trophy figurines. One thousand, in fact. God knows how you’re supposed to unlock most of them as many appear to be random. Some are earned by completing the modes, others can be purchased at random by exchanging your hard-earned Play Coins. The only real point of the figures is that you can view them in the super-creepy Showcase, where you can angle the females for optimum panty/ breast shots – in full 3D. Funnily enough, this mode has seen the game banned from several countries under child protection laws.

If there’s one major difference between Dimensions and SSFIV, it’s that DOA gets perhaps the best use yet out of the StreetPass feature. Not only can your data pass over to someone else’s 3DS (with a character that fights based on your preferences), but you can download add-ons straight from the developers. At the moment, new costumes are being given out, as well as new Throwdown challenges, where the development team send out their own fighters to lay waste to any challengers. The only downsides are that you can only take on the challenge once – if you lose, tough luck – and that you need to have the game inserted to receive any information.

As for the 3D effect, it works just as well here as you might expect. The ability to try and circle your opponent sees the whole arena shift and swirl before your eyes, although there’s nothing here that really leaps out at you like the Ultra moves in Street Fighter. In fact, using the 3D actually slows down the pace of the game – not by much, but it’s definitely noticeable.

So that’s Dimensions. A worthy adversary to Street Fighter’s crown, although the month-long wait between the games means that any power this game had to wow players had been slightly diminished. Still, it’s an incredibly technical, deep and rewarding scrapper that’s a worthy purchase for any fighting fans. If Street Fighter didn’t feature enough 3D breasts jiggling around, DOA is the next logical choice.

85%

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