Dead or Alive Dimensions ReviewGareth Chadwick
Let me get this hammered out from the start; Dead or Alive Dimensions is probably my favorite fighting game of all time. I can say that unreservedly and without exaggeration. The reasons for this extend beyond the game and into the portability of the 3DS itself, but, even with this portability, Dimensions would have to be one hell of a game to get such praise.
Obviously, this is the case. Dimensions reaches the rarely touched paths of those portable games that are so good, they would be entirely at home on a full-fledged console. It's genuinely difficult to imagine what else could have been packed into the game as everything I can think of is all present, correct and very well implemented.
First, however, I'll start with the fighting. Dimensions' combat is fast, furious, and surprisingly deep. It and the characters are almost perfectly balanced so, if you lose, you'll have only yourself to blame, for better or for worse. The depth to the combat is impressive and, if you were just given a list, would be quite daunting.
Thankfully, the game slowly eases you into the techniques as you play through Chronicle mode (read: story mode). As you progress, you'll be introduced to blocking, countering and reversing your enemies' attacks, as well as playing as a wealth of characters (and unlocking them too). The really impressive move is reversing, with which you can reverse any strike attack provided you reverse at the right height, resulting in what amounts to a grab move. It's got to be well timed but, once you've got it down, you'll feel like a total badass. It's also incredibly useful for breaking your opponent's combos when they get through your defenses and will probably be the most important move in your arsenal purely for this reason.
Graphically, the game is gorgeous. It really shows off what the 3DS is capable off; the characters models are detailed, the levels are animated and vibrant, the 3D is superb. Perhaps the only problem is that the frame rate it's rock solid, but when you're playing in 3D it only runs at 30fps. Turn 3D off and it'll double to a super-silky 60fps. As soon as you use 60fps the difference when playing in 3D is jarring. It's a shame, really, as the 3D is really very impressive; legs and arms come out of the screen, the levels have real depth to them. It's all very much a showcase for the system's graphical capabilities.
Aesthetically, the game is as you might expect. It's leaking anime from every orifice and, as such is full of anime characters. The men are either stuper-muscled or a little androgenous and the women are all rather well endowed and not afraid of angling it towards the camera so you get a wonderful 3D face full every time you win with a female character and watch the victory animation. It's a little tiresome, to be honest, but its nothing less than you can expect from Dead or Alive. The male victory animations usually involve a fist or a foot or something similar being near the screen to best show off the 3D. It does that but it's a gimmicky and cheap way of doing so.
There is more content here than you could possibly expect. There's numerous game modes, including Chronicle, Arcade and Free Play, there's local wifi multiplayer, online multiplayer, collectables, outfits constantly being downloaded when your 3DS is in standby, StreetPass support... The sheer amount of content is huge for a fully-fledged console game, for a handheld game it's almost unheard of, and it's more than welcome.
I never thought I'd enjoy Dimensions as much as I did. As it is now, I regularly pick it up and jump into Free Play mode with characters and stages set to random, so every match gives me a random character to play as and another to play against on a random stage. I've got up to 50 matches played in one go through this. If that isn't the mark of a successful fighting game then I don't know what is.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.