Review by fireemblemomega
The girls are back!
The girls are back in another installation of the DOA series. I have to admit, with the release of such titles as DOAX2 and Paradise the series had me worried for a while. However, the 3DS port of this game brings a few things to the table to make it arguably the best fighter for the 3DS and possibly of all the entries. Aside from the spin offs, this series has stuck as a solid fighter that is well-known for the ladies and the lightening fast combat, making this more a game of skill than to button mash your way through.
This game has had 4 actual installations as stand-alone titles, but have all lacked in the story area as well as a tutorial. In DoA: Dimensions, there is both, giving the player the time line from the first game to the last released game. The cut-scenes will really stand out and the 3D makes it feel like you're actually in the environment shown. The Chronicles Mode gives both these scenes and a tutorial and even helps out with the fights that take place afterwards to give even first time players a chance to experience the style without having to resort to button mashing. The combos are listed at the bottom screen, giving players a choice to either use their stylus to input commands but have no way to cancel them if they screw up, or you can easily see what buttons to input quickly, before flicking your eyes back onto the main screen. It's incredibly easy to pick this game up, play a few matches, put it down and carry on with your day when you have a few minutes. There's also a collection of figurines of all of the characters in the game that can take some time to complete so there's a bit of a collector's incentive in the game, giving it the feel of winning prizes to enhance your collection as you fight. The game also toned down on the sexuality giving it more of the fighting tag it really is and less of a fan service tag, though the sexuality will always be there this game has it take a backseat.
As mentioned, the story graphics are beautiful. Unfortunately most cut scenes have the characters frozen a la comic book style looks and will generally take some time. I found myself skipping some of them, but would not mind seeing them if I had some time to do so. Unlike its previous entries, this game's story is much more fleshed out than usual and actually has the characters acting within the roles/jobs that are listed on their bios. Most fights take place as a matter of practice, hatred or just because someone angered someone else. This gives the game a simplicity that makes the player just want to fight and learn more about his/her fighting style. The only thing about the game's story mode is that you will not have a choice of who you are to fight the opponent but will play mainly as Kasumi against most of the characters from DOA.
Other modes include Arcade Mode, a Time Attack Mode that encourages speed for the fastest time possible. There are 6 courses in all and they range in difficulty from Easy to Hard, creating a sort of building up to the hardest mode. There isn't a mention of how many enemies you fight but each course's line up stays the same no matter what character you play as. This mode offers a figurine as a prize for completing a course, as well as bragging rights of how fast you accomplished the course. This mode is also one of the ways to unlock additional costumes for each character giving the player more choices to dress his/her favorites in.
Survival Mode is a bit like DOA 4, except you'll fight a set amount of opponents with every 10th fight being a boss character. Courses range from easy to the hardest mode and provide figurines upon completion of every set, or as many as you won in that set. Again, there is a scoreboard that gives a bit of incentive to beat the highest score each time and in this way it can improve your fighting style to optimum efficiency.
Tag Mode isn't new to the series and can be a bit of a hassle to use in the game. Ranging in difficulty and toughness of opponents, you and a computer controlled AI take on a series of characters in either 2 v 1 or 2 v 2 matches. The opponents defense will be jacked up but the plus side is that your teammate or yourself, whoever is standing by, regenerates stamina during this time, so it evens out so long as you play it smart. The AI doesn't sync well with your character and usually rushes in, regardless of stamina left, when you reach a certain point of health. If your partner dies, some of the levels grant extra lives to make up for either you or your partner going down, but most of the later ones won't having you fight with more skill as you progress. Your partner and yourself can do a tag throw where if you and the AI hit throw at the same time, you deal massive damage and switch out giving a sort of 1-2 punch that can dish out the hurt. Unfortunately it's nearly impossible to tell when your partner will throw and worse yet, your partner never seems to throw with you most of the time. This mode was definitely the one to bog this game down as these factors will cause more frustration than fun, unless skilled. Figurines are an award here as well, but appear less frequently.
Throwdowns are unique to this game in the sense of using both Street and Spot pass. While your 3DS is closed, if you encounter another 3DS with DOA: Dimensions in it, you'll fight an AI-avatar of the person you encountered, giving you a bit more of an opportunity to fight others without having to stop every time you meet someone. However, the AI will act nothing like the person and will sometimes just stand there waiting to be beaten. The other type of Throwdown is the special challenge released by the makers of the game each week, giving a prime opportunity for figurines as an award even if you lose. If you win you get two and they'll generally be the harder ones to unlock in the game. Both of these fights will either add or subtract from your record/score for online play which leads to the next section.
Online play is conducted in a few different ways. First there is the throwdown mentioned above, but there's more. Next there's local play, so if you end up meeting someone who has the game you two can either fight against each other right then and there. The other mode is via Wi-Fi and you can fight anyone whose friend code is stored in your 3DS, online in your region or online in the world. The mode suffers from a lot of lag and button mashing seems to be the norm as if you input a command at a lag time it won't go through. If you end up fighting a sore loser, odds are he/she will break the connection so as to not lose stats and to rob you of a win making finding a way to increase your online score rather difficult at times, but it can be fun to connect and learn different playing styles as well.
There is also a training mode, allowing you to fight to your hearts desire and polish skills, or even give a character you aren't used to playing as a try. The computer AI allows for a variety of stances, attacks, guards and can even auto-throw/hold for you to get used to counterattacking.
Figurines allow you to take snapshots of the characters in various poses and costumes and are unlocked by fighting. Anything snapped is saved to the SD card and can be viewed later whenever you like. There's background changes and the camera is basically yours to command as you wish.
The games graphics are stunning, giving the feel that you have a console system in your hands. The 3D is rendered very well, but it does slow down the game speed so it's a personal preference on fast or 3D. Each strike is well done and the combat meshes into a fluid-like smoothness that gives the game it's lightening performance. The sound is clear and each strike can have a different sound depending on whether the opponent/player was barely hit or majorly damaged. The voice acting sometimes doesn't match up with what is spoken and can sometimes take away from the game in a slight sense but is otherwise clear, not slurred, blurred or otherwise muffled.
Play time can take only a few minutes for a fight and completing the game takes perhaps a day at the most unless a player gets stuck. on a tag challenge or the like. Completion of figurines can take over the course of weeks of fighting but for the main game and its stages the game can last a surprisingly short amount of time depending on how well you fight. It's definitely worth playing more and can even be addicting in the quest to completion. This is a must buy for any player who enjoys fighting games and this port to the 3DS was almost made for the system like it always belonged.
Product Release: Dead or Alive: Dimensions (US, 05/24/11)
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