Dead or Alive: Dimensions Review
Dead or Alive: Dimensions Box Art
System: 3DS
Dev: Team Ninja
Pub: Tecmo Koei
Release: May 24, 2011
Players: 1
Screen Resolution: N/A Crude Humor, Drug Reference, Language, Suggestive Themes, Violence
Less Jiggle and More Juggle
by Amanda L. Kondolojy

Sometimes it's hard to remember that the Dead or Alive series isn't all about ladies in bikinis and scandalous dating sims. Since the debut of the "Xtreme" series—and the subsequent PSP games that didn't feature anything except gift-giving and picture-taking—it has been kind of hard to see the ladies of DOA as anything more than sexy avatars. However, Dead or Alive Dimensions brings the series back to what made it so famous in the first place: excellent fighting. DOA dimensions keeps the original series' format, even down to the reaction and counter-based battle system, but still manages to feel fresh and new on the 3DS.

Dead or Alive: Dimensions Screenshot

When I first started up DOA Dimensions, I was instantly reminded of Super Street Fighter IV, simply because of the amount of content in the game. The main menu offers you a ridiculous amount of things to do, and it's a little overwhelming at first. In fact, as soon as I started up the game, I was notified that I had already been challenged to a figure battle via Streetpass.

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If you've never played a "real" DOA game before, or if you're just feeling a little rusty, the best place to start is the story mode. But don't expect a grand narrative. Though there are long cutscenes and plenty of talking, I can honestly say I couldn't make heads nor tails of the plot. There's some ninja family and some double-crossing and a militaristic group—it's all really just a mess. If you expect a cohesive story like you might find in Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat, you just won't get it.

Dead or Alive: Dimensions Screenshot

However, what the story mode does well is introduce you to DOA's fighting mechanics. The first several battles serve as an interactive tutorial that teaches you everything from landing combos to executing throws and counter-attacks. The basis of DOA's battle system is the counterattack system, which relies on your ability to anticipate attacks as they happen. It sounds a little bit complex, but trust me, you'll get the hang of it soon enough.

The battle system presents itself fairly easily in DOA's story mode, and you'll pick up on the simple controls right away. However, if you aren't a fast button-masher, DOA: Dimensions has a unique move list feature that allows you to see your move roster on the bottom screen and execute any of the moves (even high level combos, juggles, and grab attacks) just by tapping it on the screen. This is a great tool to help beginners get through early fights and learn button combinations. However, tapping the attacks is a little too slow for practical use in more difficult modes or in the online arena.

Dead or Alive: Dimensions Screenshot

Once you have conquered the basics and are comfortable with the battle system, the game definitely opens up. If you want to have a simple fighting match against the computer, you can hop into the Arcade mode. If you want something a bit more challenging, you can climb the stage ladder in Survival mode. Feeling friendly? There's a TAG battle mode that lets you team up with friends close by. Want to get to know the ladies of DOA a little better? There's a picture mode (you knew they had to include that one). There's also a figurine mode that lets you appoint specific fighters and customize them to battle those you meet using the Streetpass system. This mode is especially cool and is just as addictive in DOA as it was in Super Street Fighter IV.

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