Its been only a few short months since the release of the 3DS and much has been said about its ability to render children blind, cause mass famine, and generally (in our office) is thought to be responsible for preventing Rapture on the 21st May 2011. No mean feat, however, there has been very little in the way of new content to keep the rest of the gaming public happy, until Tecmo decided the UK should be playing Dead Or Alive’s latest installment, DOA Dimensions.
A 3DS exclusive, and a game that was launched with the console in both Japan and the US, we have been forced to wait to get our hands on a copy of the latest installment in a franchise that has spanned over 15 years, and 10 formats. Tecmo and Team Ninja have brought bouncing breast and devastating combos to audiences everywhere, and now for the first time to a Nintendo console.
Simply put, DOA is a 3D fighter that leans heavily toward the use of tactical strikes, blocks and counters. Unlike the button mash of competitive franchises, true masters of DOA games will always win out against frenzied spamming of the punch and kick buttons, but the beauty of DOA is the ease of access to become a master, or at least feel like one…. With only, punch, kick, guard and throw as inputs, you are coaxed to use each as and when appropriate, whilst the touch screen can be used to pull off more advanced combos. As with SSIV 3D, the touch screen alone will not enable complete beginners to roll all over a seasoned player, but will simply help to ease the learning experience.
Fans of the series will be pleased to note that this is in no way a stripped down version of the franchise, featuring 25 playable characters, 8 game modes, and some of the best use of 3D to date, DOAD has a stack of content to keep anyone interested for longer than a few hours. Newcomers and veterans alike will find a useful recap of the series and introduction to the fighting mechanics in “Chronicle Mode”. Whilst having enough ham and cheese in the characters acting to give anyone a serious bout of indigestion (think DOA, Street Fighter & Mortal Kombat movies combined together!), and posing little threat in the early chapters, you will be taken on journeys through the DOA universe, elaborating on the characters back-stories and rivalries, with bouts set after some impressive cut scenes and sequences. If you are looking for chronicle mode to make the game, you will be sorely disappointed, it is an educational tool, and provides entertainment in short burst, but where the game really performed for us was during the tag, survival and online modes.
Tag and Survival modes take on a ladder format, with 20 challenges set within each mode to try and beat. Unlocks are collected throughout, with characters, costumes, free play maps and figurines, all nice to haves, but these are the modes that will really test your skills within DOAD.
The 3D effect and gyroscopic panning of environments work particularly well, and go a little further than many of the other UK launch titles. Whilst not massively noticeable, we did see some minor frame rate drops when using 3D compared to not, and the colours appear more vivid when in standard 2D mode. These by no means sour the experience, as this is a great fighter that will greatly reward those looking for something much deeper than SSFIV, but we saw them so thought we would share them.
Overall Dead Or Alive Dimensions in my opinion is a far superior game to SSFIV on the 3DS. Content, controls, environments and mechanics, offer a far more in-depth and rewarding experience than SSFIV, and will keep you entertained for much longer. The online modes do however have some lag on occasions, which we have yet to encounter with SSFIV, but overall if you were looking to pick between the two on value and longevity I would recommend DOAD every time.