The first game I reviewed for the 3DS was Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition. In that review, I talked about how I wasn’t a huge fan of fighting games. I spoke of how I really only truly enjoyed fighting games if they were Super Smash Bros, how I’d never played Street Fighter II (and had no idea a third installment even existed), and how I enjoyed playing Dead or Alive for a very brief time. By the end of that review, however, I talked about how SSFIV ignited a new-found (maybe just recovered) appreciation for the fighting genre, and I became very excited for the quickly-approaching Dead of Alive: Dimensions.
Part of the reason I was excited for DoA was nostalgia. I played the hell out of Dead or Alive 2 on the Sega Dreamcast as a kid, and the thought of playing another game in the franchise after so long really brought back some fond memories. The other, larger part of the reason for my excitement is the fact that the 3DS still has almost no games worth playing more than a few times, and dammit I’m starving for some new software.
Luckily for me, Dead or Alive Dimensions hits the spot pretty well.
I’m going to go ahead and say it now, just to get it off of my chest. As much as I enjoyed Super Street Fighter IV: 3D, I like Dead or Alive: Dimensions a little bit better. Now that doesn’t mean I’m calling it a deeper or more rewarding fighting game, because that’s not what I’m saying at all. I hold only a casual interest in the genre, so I obviously get more enjoyment out of a fighting game that’s a bit easier to learn how to play.
Whereas Street Fighter IV took about ten hours to learn the ropes (I’m still not even good at the damn game. I just know a handful of combos with a single character), DoA is pretty easy to pick up and play. Anyone can get into a match with the computer on the easy setting and kick some ass and have a blast with the game. You don’t have to learn how to play DoA to enjoy it. However, if you do decide to go deeper with the game, it becomes just as rewarding as Street Fighter IV, only with much less frustration.
Running through the Chronicle mode, which features an awful story that you are luckily able to skip through, you will be taught just about every aspect of the game’s simple control layout, and you will be introduced to the surprisingly engaging hold and counter systems, as well as the basics of the triangle system. It is up to you to practice these techniques, but at least you don’t have to figure them out on your own through several hours of gameplay.
There are several other modes including Arcade, Survival, a tag-team mode, both Local and Online multiplayer modes and Throwdown. Each mode offers hours of gameplay and is unique to itself. Arcade is a race against the clock, making each subsequent run through an attempt at beating your previous time. Sadly there is no implementation of anything other than a system-exclusive leaderboard; no online or even StreetPass compatibility.
Survival puts you against unlimited enemies and you last as long as possible, while Tag Mode is tag team fighting and is a fun distraction from the main game. Finally, there’s Throwdown, which takes StreetPassed or SpotPassed enemies and has you fight against them.
The online mode is what really detracts from the overall quality of DoA:D. Whereas its competition (Super Street Fighter IV) has an online infrastructure that works phenomenally with excellent match-making and hardly any lag, Dimensions is a mess. The online play is painfully laggy, the match-making system is frustrating at best, there are only a few options for matches, and it just isn’t any fun to play.
Still, Dead or Alive looks phenomenal on the 3DS, boasting the most impressive 3D visuals the system has seen so far. The action is fast and fluid, animations are great, breast physics are awesome, and the 3D arenas look amazing and have plenty of detail, putting Street Fighter’s motionless backdrops to shame.
If you are, like many others, starving for 3DS software, then consider DoA a temporary saving grace. The game features tons of unlockables, plenty of modes, and has enough content to last at least until Zelda hits shelves in mid June.
I personally enjoy the bulk of this game more than I did Street Fighter IV, though it isn’t necessarily a better game. It has plenty of issues (namely with the awful online infrastructure) and lacks the depth of its primary competition, but Dead or Alive Dimensions makes up for it with tons of content, gorgeous visuals, and its tight and fast gameplay. I recommend this as a purchase, as it’s a great game that deserves a look.
Score: 8.5/10 (Great)