|Dev: Team Ninja|
|Pub: Tecmo Koei|
|Release: May 24, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: N/A||Crude Humor, Drug Reference, Language, Suggestive Themes, Violence|
by Josh Wirtanen
When looking through 2011's video game lineup, it's pretty clear that fighting games are back in a big way. This year has already seen the return of the Marvel Vs Capcom series, while the newest installments in the Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, and Tekken franchises are on the way. Of course, the Dead or Alive series will be contributing to this mix as well, with Dead or Alive: Dimensions for the Nintendo 3DS arriving in May.
Dead or Alive: Dimensions promises to include just about everything that long-term fans have come to expect from the series: fast-paced action, breakable set pieces, multi-tiered environments, a wide variety of unlockable costumes, and an eclectic cast of characters from the DoA universe. Another popular returning feature is the option to listen to the dialogue completely in English, or to hear the original Japanese dialogue with English subtitles. So you won't need to learn Japanese to enjoy the story mode, but if you are a purist who prefers the original Japanese audio, you won't have to complain about the English overdubs. And while still present, it sounds like the trademark jiggly boobs have been toned down quite a bit.
Even if you are brand new to the Dead or Alive series, you won't need to try to piece together the story so far. The Dimensions story takes players throughout the plot of the entire series, and even adds some details to tie the various plotlines together even better. Some of the cutscenes are lifted directly from previous titles, and some are brand new. Complete noobs won't feel lost amidst references to previous titles, and even the most hardcore DoA veterans will see story moments they've never experienced before.
To level the playing field between long-term fans and those new to the DoA series, there is now a feature that allows players to completely avoid the rote combo memorization that may be a turnoff to those with less fighter experience. Moves will be listed on the touch screen, along with the button combo required to pull off each move. You can use the information on this screen to learn new combos, or you can simply tap the desired move to have your player execute it. However, since experienced players can plunk away at these combos without having to think about it, relying too heavily on the touch screen will prove to be a slight disadvantage against old school combo users.
There are twenty-five playable characters; all of them are familiar faces from previous DoA titles. Twenty of these will be available from the start, while five DoA bosses will be unlockable: Raidou, Gohyakumine Bankotsu-bo, Kasumi Alpha, Omega, and Alpha-152.
It looks like there will be fifteen stages, many of which should be familiar to long-term fans. However, some of these will be re-imagined versions of older stages, and there will be a couple brand new ones thrown in as well. One of these all-new stages takes place on a cruise ship called the "Freedom Survivor" (which supposedly will play an important role in the storyline), while another throws fighters into a completely Metroid-themed arena. The Metroid stage includes a whole bunch of lava, as well as appearances by Ridley and even a brief cameo by Samus. While it's been confirmed that Samus won't be joining the cast as a playable character, it will definitely be fun to see her show up in the background from time to time.
Dead or Alive: Dimensions will include quite a few game modes to play around with. Arcade Mode is true to the classic formula: select your fighter and battle your way through a series of characters, each a bit tougher than the last. Chronicle Mode puts players in the roles of various characters, fighting through an epic storyline spanning the entire DoA history. Tag Challenge allows you and a friend to swap back and forth against a tag team of two other AI players. And there are local and online multiplayer versus modes as well. DoA: Dimensions even has a mode called Album, which allows players to view the collection of 3D snapshots they've taken throughout their matches.
Of course, since this title will be on the 3DS, it will take advantage of the 3D capabilities of the system. However, in normal 2D viewing mode, the animations should be smooth as butter, running at sixty frames per second. Switching to 3D mode will cause the frame rate to drop to thirty fps, resulting in a slightly less streamlined look. It's up to players to determine whether they prefer the depth of the 3D look, or the buttery flow of the sixty fps frame rate. One concern we had was that this could possibly create problems with the multiplayer experience. Fortunately, Yosuke Hayashi, head of Team Ninja, explained that this would not impact multiplayer at all. In a multiplayer match, one person could be viewing the game in 2D while the other could be enjoying the 3D look, and neither player would have any problems due to the different frame rates.
With its plethora of various game modes, customization options, characters, and costumes, as well as online play and some great new features, Dead or Alive: Dimensions looks like it should satisfy a wide variety of gamers. And if you've never heard of the series before now, DoA: Dimensions looks like a great place to jump in.
CCC Freelance Writer