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"[GAME] Dead or Alive Dimensions (3DS)"

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This thread has been linked to the game 'Dead or Alive Dimensions'.
Mon 27/06/11 at 09:21
Regular
"Carpe Diem"
Posts: 154
Fighting games have seen a revival in recent years. A stalwart genre of the 1990's, the fighter was gradually left in the dust as the industry charged forward into the millennium. But recent years have seen a return; a 'combat comeback' of genre leaders in a vastly different gaming landscape. Enter Dead or Alive Dimensions, the latest fighter to return, and the first in the series on a handheld console. But with fierce competition from bellwether Street Fighter IV, is Dead or Alive a strong attacker, or has the series gone a dimension too far?

A love letter to the DOA series, 'Dimensions could be seen as somewhat of a compendium; featuring the story from all the games in one single, remastered package. Indeed, Chronicle Mode has you learning the ropes, playing through a number of the massive roster whilst watching cutscenes and unlocking extras. It may not have the greatest plot in the world, but fans of the series will no doubt be pleased that many loose ends are tied up here. Newcomers will be swiftly introduced to characters, and early battles act as tutorials for those who's skills are a little rusty. In fact, much of Chronicle Mode serves as an intro; a summary of the series' plot spliced with mostly unchallenging battles. The frequent cutscenes are mostly static, with voice acting placed over character cut-outs, unmoving apart from camera changes. Occasionally a full FMV will be shown, though players of previous DOA games will have seen these identical scenes before. By it's end, the 5-or-so hour Chronicle Mode is an enjoyable romp through the series history, but it's clear that the true content of the game is waiting outside of this no frills story mode.

Thankfully, the game is full of unlockables, with enough costumes and collectibles to keep fans busy for many an hour. Playing the standard Arcade Mode will often unlock one of hundreds of figures, all of which can be viewed at your leisure in an oddly voyeuristic Showcase Mode. Here, you can use the 3DS gyro-sensor to create for your character 'dynamic' poses, and snap photos of them if your so inclined. It's definitely not the most sophisticated mode, but as a light diversion between the fighting, it does at least show off the 3D in style. Collecting costumes is expectedly addictive, with each character owning upwards of five, each unlocked by simply winning battles. Additionally, new costumes are promised by Spot-Pass updates, the first of which are already available. It may not add anything in terms of gameplay, but owning a full wardrobe for your fighters is both a traditional and enthralling pursuit.

The true challenge of the game, of course, exists in mastering each character's style and taking to the many non-story modes. Survival Mode is formidably tense; with scores of enemies from 10 to 100 coming consecutively at your character. On the other hand, Tag Challenge Mode sees you and a friend work together to defeat strings of foes. It is worth noting here that these tag battles are somewhat different to the usual affair. You take control of only one fighter, with the other being controlled by a Wi-Fi friend or an AI if you play alone. That said, you can still tag in-and-out to recover health and take a breather, a factor which is especially handy as the AI enemies pile on the challenge. Other than this, the standard Training Mode is an expected if largely unused addition, whilst Free Play allows you to jump straight into a classic one-on-one battle. There's certainly a lot of content of offer, with most modes offering addictive incentives for those prone to having 'just one more go'. Indeed, this level of quantity is something seldom seen in a handheld fighter, bringing the game right up to the levels of it's larger screen console cousins.

The fighting itself is smooth and accessible, with button mapping perfectly suited to the controls of the 3DS. The circle pad controls your character movement, with combo's largely carried out by frantic face button sequences. Occasional combo's require a direction to be held, which can be done either with the Circle pad or D-Pad, depending on which you feel more comfortable with. By default, the bottom screen displays a list of combo's, a lifesaver both for beginners, and those who prefer 'tapping' to carry out a move. Thankfully, tapping the screen is not as cheap as it could be, seeing as scrolling to find the move is not feasible during a heated battle. Countering is also easy to master; just a button press coupled with holding the stick in the direction of the incoming move. Ultimately then, DOA Dimensions is comfortable to play on the 3DS, it feels natural and is never overbearing, even when hammering your tiny console to finish that massive combo string.

For many players, the real meat of the game is bound to found in the addictive online mode. Connecting allows you choose between playing with friends, or to be paired up with a similar skilled player from anywhere in the world. From then on, it's as expected; a one-on-one fight with up to 3 different rounds, the winner awarded a handful of points to boost their online rank. Unlike DOA4 however, there is no lobby or tournament fighting; you will simply battle a single foe and return at once to the selection screen. This is not a problem in itself per say, though it does allow you to skew character variation in favour of sticking to a single favourite. There is also an optional Throwdown Mode, where battles are arranged against the creators themselves for you to test your skills against. These are usually refreshing challenges, putting you squarely in your place without the need for much derided 'spamming'. As it stands, the online play is compelling but bare; allowing competitive, intense fighting whilst doing away with established extras. Still, while it may not be brimming with content to fight through, the online mode is hard to put down, and will clearly be the one game mode to keep you playing for the longest time.

In conclusion, DOA Dimensions is a brilliant fighter; a thrilling journey through a much loved series with enough new content to stand on it's own. As a portable fighter it is notably complete, providing the same level of polish you'd expect from a full console release. Fans of the series are in capable hands; the game is practically an amalgamation of all that makes the franchise great. For everyone else, Dimensions is a solid 3DS fighter; a perfect companion to Street Fighter IV, and an indication that the genre is truly alive and kicking.

9/10
There have been no replies to this thread yet.
Mon 27/06/11 at 09:21
Regular
"Carpe Diem"
Posts: 154
Fighting games have seen a revival in recent years. A stalwart genre of the 1990's, the fighter was gradually left in the dust as the industry charged forward into the millennium. But recent years have seen a return; a 'combat comeback' of genre leaders in a vastly different gaming landscape. Enter Dead or Alive Dimensions, the latest fighter to return, and the first in the series on a handheld console. But with fierce competition from bellwether Street Fighter IV, is Dead or Alive a strong attacker, or has the series gone a dimension too far?

A love letter to the DOA series, 'Dimensions could be seen as somewhat of a compendium; featuring the story from all the games in one single, remastered package. Indeed, Chronicle Mode has you learning the ropes, playing through a number of the massive roster whilst watching cutscenes and unlocking extras. It may not have the greatest plot in the world, but fans of the series will no doubt be pleased that many loose ends are tied up here. Newcomers will be swiftly introduced to characters, and early battles act as tutorials for those who's skills are a little rusty. In fact, much of Chronicle Mode serves as an intro; a summary of the series' plot spliced with mostly unchallenging battles. The frequent cutscenes are mostly static, with voice acting placed over character cut-outs, unmoving apart from camera changes. Occasionally a full FMV will be shown, though players of previous DOA games will have seen these identical scenes before. By it's end, the 5-or-so hour Chronicle Mode is an enjoyable romp through the series history, but it's clear that the true content of the game is waiting outside of this no frills story mode.

Thankfully, the game is full of unlockables, with enough costumes and collectibles to keep fans busy for many an hour. Playing the standard Arcade Mode will often unlock one of hundreds of figures, all of which can be viewed at your leisure in an oddly voyeuristic Showcase Mode. Here, you can use the 3DS gyro-sensor to create for your character 'dynamic' poses, and snap photos of them if your so inclined. It's definitely not the most sophisticated mode, but as a light diversion between the fighting, it does at least show off the 3D in style. Collecting costumes is expectedly addictive, with each character owning upwards of five, each unlocked by simply winning battles. Additionally, new costumes are promised by Spot-Pass updates, the first of which are already available. It may not add anything in terms of gameplay, but owning a full wardrobe for your fighters is both a traditional and enthralling pursuit.

The true challenge of the game, of course, exists in mastering each character's style and taking to the many non-story modes. Survival Mode is formidably tense; with scores of enemies from 10 to 100 coming consecutively at your character. On the other hand, Tag Challenge Mode sees you and a friend work together to defeat strings of foes. It is worth noting here that these tag battles are somewhat different to the usual affair. You take control of only one fighter, with the other being controlled by a Wi-Fi friend or an AI if you play alone. That said, you can still tag in-and-out to recover health and take a breather, a factor which is especially handy as the AI enemies pile on the challenge. Other than this, the standard Training Mode is an expected if largely unused addition, whilst Free Play allows you to jump straight into a classic one-on-one battle. There's certainly a lot of content of offer, with most modes offering addictive incentives for those prone to having 'just one more go'. Indeed, this level of quantity is something seldom seen in a handheld fighter, bringing the game right up to the levels of it's larger screen console cousins.

The fighting itself is smooth and accessible, with button mapping perfectly suited to the controls of the 3DS. The circle pad controls your character movement, with combo's largely carried out by frantic face button sequences. Occasional combo's require a direction to be held, which can be done either with the Circle pad or D-Pad, depending on which you feel more comfortable with. By default, the bottom screen displays a list of combo's, a lifesaver both for beginners, and those who prefer 'tapping' to carry out a move. Thankfully, tapping the screen is not as cheap as it could be, seeing as scrolling to find the move is not feasible during a heated battle. Countering is also easy to master; just a button press coupled with holding the stick in the direction of the incoming move. Ultimately then, DOA Dimensions is comfortable to play on the 3DS, it feels natural and is never overbearing, even when hammering your tiny console to finish that massive combo string.

For many players, the real meat of the game is bound to found in the addictive online mode. Connecting allows you choose between playing with friends, or to be paired up with a similar skilled player from anywhere in the world. From then on, it's as expected; a one-on-one fight with up to 3 different rounds, the winner awarded a handful of points to boost their online rank. Unlike DOA4 however, there is no lobby or tournament fighting; you will simply battle a single foe and return at once to the selection screen. This is not a problem in itself per say, though it does allow you to skew character variation in favour of sticking to a single favourite. There is also an optional Throwdown Mode, where battles are arranged against the creators themselves for you to test your skills against. These are usually refreshing challenges, putting you squarely in your place without the need for much derided 'spamming'. As it stands, the online play is compelling but bare; allowing competitive, intense fighting whilst doing away with established extras. Still, while it may not be brimming with content to fight through, the online mode is hard to put down, and will clearly be the one game mode to keep you playing for the longest time.

In conclusion, DOA Dimensions is a brilliant fighter; a thrilling journey through a much loved series with enough new content to stand on it's own. As a portable fighter it is notably complete, providing the same level of polish you'd expect from a full console release. Fans of the series are in capable hands; the game is practically an amalgamation of all that makes the franchise great. For everyone else, Dimensions is a solid 3DS fighter; a perfect companion to Street Fighter IV, and an indication that the genre is truly alive and kicking.

9/10

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