The first three months of the 3DS have been odd compared to Nintendo console launches of the past. It went on sale in March instead of the holiday season, it hit shelves without a top tier title from Nintendo and the biggest game for the system (still) is Super Street Fighter 43D. While that game looked fun, I’m not as big of a fan of the series as I am Dead or Alive.
This has nothing to do with the boobs of DOA, instead I really love the counter attack system the game has going for it. So when I finally picked up my 3DS, Dimensions was the game I felt comfortable paying $40 for. Thankfully, I’ve gotten my money’s worth.
As I said, I’m a fan of the fighting system. I have been ever since I first played Dead or Alive 4 on the 360. Dimensions has a simple one button per move setup (X punches, A kicks, B grabs and Y counters) making the game accessible to first time players. The game is also playable from the touch screen, with all the available combos mapped out. The screen also changes depending on the situation. While playing with the touch screen is odd (and a bit cheap if you get good at it) it is nice to have all the available combos mapped out for you.
Being my first game for the 3DS, I’m not quite sure if the graphics for the game are good for the system. What I can say is Dimensions looks like a middle of the road Wii game, which is still a giant step up from the DS. Character models look good and some of the environments are very distinct. That said, many of the character models/costumes and most of the stages are from previous games in the series, and the ones from DOA4 looked a lot better on the360 (obviously). So while the game does look good, I have a feeling the system can do better.
As for the 3D, I must confess now that I cannot see 3D. So I can’t tell you if it looks good or not. A co-worker who played the game, however, said the effect was fun but there was noticeable ghosting. If you choose to play in 3D, please note you will lose the 60fps that I enjoyed with the 3D off.
While it is nice the story mode is nearly completely voice acted, it is disappointing that a lot of the music in the game can sound awful. You’ll notice this if you have the volume cranked up when you come across a musical cut scene. The music, noticeably the high notes, will come out of the speakers sounding metallic and making you wonder if you have permanently damaged the speakers on your 3DS. I don’t know if this is a flaw of the system or the game, but it’s a flaw either way that should have been taken care of prior to the game launch.
A selling point of the game, or at least something advertised in the build up to the release, has been the Chronicle mode, which retells the DOA story through the first four games. You will come to know this as a training mode where you unlock characters. The story doesn’t make a lick of sense because it feels like three different stories awkwardly smashed together.
The highlights of this mode are the beautiful cut scenes (many of which are taken directly from earlier games), the fact it trains you on the fighting system of the game and its short running time. Once you play through this once you’ll never return to it.
For people who are fans of the DOA story (if they exist) you may be disappointed even if you can follow along. The story focuses on four characters, so if your favorite fighter is, let’s say Tina, you won’t get any back story on her.
I didn’t get that much time playing locally, mostly because it was tough finding people around me who have bought the game. From the few matches I’ve played, the game play doesn’t take a hit when fighting someone locally.
Online Multiplayer: 8/10
Online multiplayer worked a lot better than I was expecting. As a Nintendo only gamer, we have been disappointed time and time again with online play, especially for fighting games. Thankfully, even on a crowded Starbucks Wi-Fi connection, this mode just plain worked.
There was slowdown on the public Wi-Fi, but I didn’t experience any noticeable lag (lag of course being the time it takes your character to act on the button you just pressed.) That means that even during a slowdown, you still had complete control of your character. My only two wishes are: that I was better at the game so I could win more than one online match, and that more people bought the game so I’d have more competitors.
Replay Value: 10/10
There is a ton to do in this game and even more to unlock. Team Ninja really went the extra mile on using just about every feature of the 3DS. Streetpass lets you download other gamers profiles for throw down challenges (which unfortunately, only let you battle once, so if you lose, you lose). Spotpass allows you to download costumes and throw down challenges when the system goes online. There are also around 1000 figures to unlock, which you can use to take 3D photos of. The box advertises 25 characters in the game, but there are actually 26 to choose from when you unlock everyone. There is also at least one stage to unlock in the game, the completely awesome Metroid: Other M stage.
In addition to the Chronicle and Multiplayer mode, there is also classic Arcade mode, which is actually a bit of a disappointment as the character order of the different arcade levels never change. Playing through it allows you to unlock the cheapest characters in the game: the bosses from DOA 1-4. There is also a tag mode which has you and a computer taking on increasingly difficult challengers, some of which will seem impossible. My favorite of the extra modes has to be the survival mode, which is your standard beat-a-certain-amount-of-characters-without-dying-challenge and a free play mode and training mode. The plethora of unlockable statues can also be obtained using the coins you collect through the pedometer.
You can also unlock system voices, which allows you to change the announcer of the game to your favorite character. If you get into the game, you can play for months.
The most important factor of this game is that it is fun. The fighting system is a blast to play that both supports button mashers and people with actual skill. There are a few characters in the game that throw off the balance immensely when taken online, but overall, every gamer should be able to find enjoyment in this title. The game looks like something that was thrown together quickly (and I’m sure it was) but it was thrown together so damn well that I can’t wait to see what Team Ninja can do when they fully dedicate themselves to making a3DS game.