Some Brief Thoughts On Dead or Alive: Dimensions

By Ishaan . June 4, 2011 . 1:34pm

Our Dead or Alive: Dimensions playtest won’t go up until the coming week, but I did want to post a brief bullet list of thoughts on it, partly as a set of notes for myself to refer to while writing the full playtest. These won’t be in any coherent order or articulated very well, so please bear with me. Here goes:


  • Great use of the 3D effect. Depth is very apparent, but also things that “pop” far out of the screen, like Kasumi’s arm reaching out during her winning pose. No “paper cutout” impression like some other 3D games (Street Fighter, Steel Diver) give off. Everything looks like it has volume.


  • 3D comes at the cost of framerate. Very noticeable difference. Luckily, depth slider makes it so you can turn 3D up in stages that look great with it, and turn it down where it doesn’t make much of a difference.


  • Great use of gyro-sensor to look around the background during main menus. Not mandatory or forced, but a fun little discovery, which makes you want to try it.



  • No proper Arcade mode. Arcade mode in Dimensions is a trial to achieve the best times against AI opponents. Free play mode will probably get the most use.


  • The game is terrible at teaching you to play it. It keeps pausing to give you instructions, but none are very useful aside from telling you which button does what. The manual isn’t much help either; you’ll have to look online for a FAQ.


  • If you’re a DOA newcomer, start with Hitomi. She’s a nice combination of stylish moves + easy to learn.


  • If you haven’t played a DOA before, it takes a while for the game to communicate why it’s good. You need to start tinkering with the counter system if you want to understand what makes the game fun.


  • Control-wise, works great on 3DS. Analog pad is very comfortable to use.


  • Moves list on touchscreen won’t get much use to pull off combos. You’ll use it more as a reference guide. It’s context-based and scrolls up and down to different move sections depending on the situation, which is neat, but also distracting.


  • Lack of costumes is a little disappointing. Having downloadable costumes is nice, but DOA is known for having tons of unlockable outfits. You’ll only find 4 or 5 per character here.


  • Overall, Dimensions feels a bit rushed. Still, lots of potential here. Team Ninja definitely know how to use the 3DS very well.

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  • lack of unlockable costumes is almost a game breaker for me when it comes to DOA, the rest sounds nice though and Hitomi happens to be my fav char, more important games on the way for now, but I will keep an eye on it, if I feel like playing a fighter on my 3DS.

    • Sorry but that is a lie. Besides daily DLC, costumes you get when spend your streetpass coins. You also unlock costumes by playing various modes in the game. I unlocked Christie third outfit by beating the arcade mode with her. After I already did it with Ryu.
      My Kokoro already has 5 outfits 3 and 2 DLC. So I’m still not sure where this talk of lack of costumes is coming from.

      • malek86

        From the fact that DOAU had like 15 costumes for every girl, and 8 for every guy. DOA1 also had a bunch of costumes for every character.

        Considering that all the costumes in DOAD are recycled from previous games, it wouldn’t have taken much effort to put a bit more.

        • 20/5 (Fri.) Kasumi
          21/5 (Sat.) Ayane
          22/5 (Sun.) Kokoro
          23/5 (Mon.) Leifang
          24/5 (Tue.) Tina
          25/5 (Wed.) La Mariposa
          26/5 (Thu.) Hitomi
          27/5 (Fri.) Kokoro
          28/5 (Sat.) Ayane
          29/5 (Sun.) Leifang
          30/5 (Mon.) Tina
          31/5 (Tue.) La Mariposa
          1/6 (Wed.) Jann Lee
          2/6 (Thu.) Zack
          3/6 (Fri.) Helena
          4/6 (Sat.) Bayman
          5/6 (Sun.) Bass
          6/6 (Mon.) Leon
          7/6 (Tue.) Hitomi
          8/6 (Wed.) Eliot
          9/6 (Thu.) Brad
          10/6 (Fri.) Christie
          11/6 (Sat.) Helena
          12/6 (Sun.) Gen Fu
          13/6 (Mon.) Ein
          14/6 (Tue.) Leifang
          15/6 (Wed.) Hayabusa
          16/6 (Thu.) Hayate
          17/6 (Fri.) Christie
          18/6 (Sat.) Kasumi
          19/6 (Sun.) Ayane
          20/6 (Mon.) Kokoro
          21/6 (Tue.) Hitomi
          22/6 (Wed.) KasumiThat’s just the current DLC list. Plus the unlockables, and the costumes you can by with coins. So I think there may be alot of content in there.

        • Suicunesol

          Er… I think that’s false. There’s at least one costume for Kasumi that I know of that is completely new, and that is the green one (costume 4). Am I right?

          Currently, if you include the DLC costumes that are set for release over the month, Kasumi, Hitomi, Leifang, Kokoro, and Ayane will have a total of 7 costumes (if you assume that each girl will have 4 unlockable costumes).

          I guess if you’re used to 15+ costumes for each character, I can understand your disappointment. But 7 costumes to me is a fine quantity.

          Also, some of the costumes in the previous games like in DoA4 are simply recolored versions of the same costume. However, none of the costumes in DoAD are recolored (except for the boss characters). They’re all completely different costumes.

          • I agree, but I’m surprised that no one compared this with DOA4, since it seems to have less than what Dimensions offers. 

  • malek86

    The analog pad works well enough for someone at my level, but buff DOA players might have some problems with it, since it often seems to have trouble registering the high and low directions. One of my friends, who is a huge DOA buff, said the analog was “imprecise” and immediately switched to the d-pad. I prefer the analog myself, but only because I hate the d-pad on the 3DS. And I’ve never been a power player, even though I’ve been following the series since 2002. I can still pull some decent stuff with it (like clearing Tag Challenge #20 without resorting to cheap characters), but sometimes it does feel like I can’t always pull off the moves I’d want.

    With that in mind, the game does feel like it would be a good entry point for newcomers (single player is particularly easy too), but longtime fans will probably feel disappointed at the lack of options and costumes.

    • Suicunesol

      OMG how could you possibly have cleared Tag Challenge #20! That’s insane unfair hard! >_<

      • malek86

        Make it a mix of luck and all-out offensive play (they mostly do their throw combo tag when you miss a counter or just stand there, so keep moving and don’t do anything unnecessary).

  • OneOkami

    While I missed “Dream On” with the story prologue, I thought the replacement music is fine.  I had actually the opposite experience with Chronicles mode, though, in that it really cleared a lot of things up for me and made the whole story make sense to me (this is coming from someone who has played every Dead or Alive game).

    Tag mode in this game is pretty much garbage for me, same goes for arcade.  Lack of default-unlockable costumes hurt, too, but that was Team Ninja’s way of trying to get people to buy the game (daily DLC).  On that note, I love the concept of the weekly throwdown matches.  Gives me Virtua Fighter nostalgia facing off against A.I. modeled after arguably elite players (perfect record against them so far :)).While the online play has worked…well enough for the most part, I have to admit, I have also gotten a few disconnects and a fair amount of lag which really screws me up by throwing off my timing and/or telegraphing my moves for the opponent to counter and/or failing to register parries that I know were correct and input on time.  That last one is particularly frustrating for me.

    Personally, there are also a few things about the fighting engine that I strongly disagree with such as way some characters moves take precedence over other even if they’re executed well behind, how some strikes take supreme precedence over throws, especially if that character has their back turned, how some throws just plain fail (and I’m just watching the characters arm just miraculously fly right through the opponent as if they are a hologram, how some attacks (at least seem) unblock-able and are spammed by people such as a high kick that Ayane can do and you simply cannot block (and your parries fail to register because of lag…), how some characters who have absolutely no freakin’ business being playable online are, such as the version of Kasumi alpha that was the DOA4 boss, and, though I realize this has been a series staple, how much damage you can receive by getting knocked off a stage.  I’ve been ahead in matches with strong momentum towards a finish when that has happened and one kicks ends just draining all ~50% of my remaining life bar, culminating in depletion after the last big drop and losing the match/round.  That feels cheap to me, I don’t feel the player really earned those victories.

    Thats my take on it.  Its certainly darn fun, but flawed.  I think DOA fans old and new can get a kick out of it, but I personally found too many (frequent) disagreements with the engine and design and sent it back already.

    • Suicunesol

      I disagree with you somewhat. In my opinion, knocking an opponent off the stage is an element of strategy and is something every player should take advantage of. And if a player is a victim of being thrown off the stage, he/she should not complain that it was unfair. Rather, if the player did not want to be knocked off the stage, he/she should have simply stayed away from the edge.

      That said, 50% of a remaining life bar is a bit of an exaggeration, isn’t it? There’s only one drop in one stage I can recall that gives anywhere near that amount of damage.

      Also, what’s wrong with Tag Mode? It’s difficult, but I’ve heard very good things regarding teaming up with other players in tag mode.

      • OneOkami

        You do realize there are several moves that can see you unrealistically flying 50 feet horizontally.  Heck just button mash with Jann Lee for 10 seconds and you’re bound to see what I mean.  Furthermore, you do realize some stages’ design make such a thing highly likely (hard to avoid getting knocked off a bridge when practically any move with some power to it will get the job done).  You do also realize that something as simple as parrying a move can result in your character positioning itself at a point in the stage where it’d be easy to get knocked off.   And boy don’t get me started on Ridley having some fun with doing target practice on you then deciding he’d like to “borrow” you to scrape the soot off the walls. I can really go on and on and on about how the stage interference can be just as much (if not more) a matter of unfortunate circumstance as it is a matter of strategy.

        50% of remaining life is NOT an exaggeration. My memory is as fresh as yesterday on that.  If your fall includes a bunch of tumbling followed by a large free-fall, then you can have the “pleasure” of watching your ~50% life bar crumble away and finally deplete upon that final impact from the free-fall.  And for me is doesn’t matter if only one stage can be that severe, I don’t have a choice in the stage I fight in online so that makes it one stage too many.

        The problem with Tag mode is (unless I missed something), you’re partner is A.I.-controlled and sucks. I prefer to control both my members of my tag team.  BTW, you should know its local play only.

        Also, I should make it clear that I don’t have a problem with ring outs (Virtua Fighter is king with me).  But with the way characters and fly all over the place, the way they can bounce off walls at an angle upon impact, the way some stages are pretty much designed to make getting knocked off inevitable, etc, I do not accept that that design/mechanic in this game.

        • Suicunesol

          Oh, you’re right about the bridge over the river. Completely forgot about that. My mistake.

          Still, the pleasure of throwing/kicking my enemies off ledges to their inevitable doom is so much greater than the disappointment of my own character having the same thing done to her. Personally, I’m not really bothered by the amount of damage. When my opponent takes 50% of my health bar, I don’t usually go “that’s not fair!” I go, “Dammit, why didn’t I do that?!”

          (All the same, maybe it would have been nice for Team Ninja to provide some kind of option that would limit damage from falls and hazards.)

          As for Tag Mode… umm… my AI-controlled partner (frequently Hitomi) usually does a better job than me, so… I owe thanks to her for a lot of my victories…

        • malek86

          The Metroid stage is admittedly quite bad. Arbitrary enviromental damage = not fun. If they just removed that, it would have actually been a pretty cool stage to play in.

  • “The game is terrible at teaching you to play it. It keeps pausing to give you instructions, but none are very useful aside from telling you which button does what. The manual isn’t much help either; you’ll have to look online for a FAQ.”

    So you didn’t play Chronicles? That seem to teach me just fine!

    • I felt like Chronicles spent way too much time throwing unnecessary text at me (especially all their random explanations for things like what a shinobi exile is and whatnot). You also don’t really get to practice all that much in Chronicles mode because they show you one new thing after another at a very fast pace. That’s just my opinion though.

  • Yesshua

    I think that it’s really interesting that the game is considered light on extra costumes when there are 4 or 5 per character.  I’ve never played a Dead or Alive game, but that seems like quite a few in comparison to other games – especially if these are actually new costumes that animate differently and aren’t just palette swaps of the default getup.

    • DoA 2 Hardcore had at least 7 costumes for each character (the girls had way more) DoA 3 had more than 4 or 5 each character, can’t remember, and DoA Ultimate had a TON of costumes for each and every character.

  • PrinceHeir

    might get it, but i’ll probably wait for the next DOA on consoles.

    still it seems they utilize the 3DS hardware so well :P

  • XypherCode

    the game plays pretty darn well :D

  • neo_firenze

    DoA Dimensions is absolutely my favorite game on the 3DS so far.  Actually, to me Tecmo Koei has what are so far the two best games on the system by far (DoA and Samurai Warriors Chronicle), with Ghost Recon taking third place. 

    DoA has plenty of costumes (several unlockables and a lot of free downloadable ones), and I find the arcade mode really well suited to portable play – blaze through a time attack run and be done with it. 

    I think the 3D is utter garbage though.  I don’t think it looks very good at all, and the massive dip in frame rate is absolutely not worth the poor effects.  But with 3D off, it’s very a fluid and nice looking game. 

  • stealthgiga

    I think I fought Ishaan over random Internet Play. I’m honored! XD

    • You were the one that kicked my ass on Friday? ><

      • stealthgiga

        I guess so… My nick is Helu and I was using Kokoro ^^;

  • Juuu

    My only qualm about the download costumes is I really can’t always GET to a place to download them… ^^; Oh well, I guess that AT&T partnership is trying to get more hotspots around. Plus, I think that the game actually does do a decent job of teaching you the basics at least. A step up from previous titles, in my opinion. xD It’s a start, definately, and it’s a great way to get back to the DOA franchise proper and wash that volleyball taste out! :P

    I miss the Aerosmith song too, though. ;-;

  • I agree with a lot of your points; I’m really enjoying this game so far.

    The only disappointment is the way the handled online play. I think SSFIV3D set the bar really high with their online play. Regardless, at least it has online, and overall the game is super fun.

    I think it’s a bit odd how there are already 3 fighting games out on the 3DS, and they are all pretty good in terms of gameplay and features. It’s the last thing I would expect from a new Nintendo system, but it’s fighters paradise. :)

  • GibbRS

    Interesting read, tho I had some follow-up comments.  First of all, I’ve been a huge fan of the series since the first game, and DOA Dimensions is the first one that puts the entire story together in a relatively coherent flow.  Most of the story pieces were taken from previous games, but they were supplemented with new cut-scenes and story pieces to flesh out the story better.  I think they did a really good job with it, and as far as fighting games go, this has one of the best stories ever (second only to the new Mortal Kombat game).

    The costume count is fine, and it’s great how much support Tecmo Koei is giving this game.  Daily FREE DLC… can’t really complain about that.  DOA3 and DOA4 had pretty slim pickins when it came to costumes, and the support for those games was almost non-existent after they came out.  DOA3 got some extra costumes via an Xbox magazine disc, and DOA4 barely got any DLC add-ons.

    One huge flaw I’m surprised you didn’t mention is is the tag battle system.  Having an AI controlled tag partner is a first in the series, and it was an AWFUL decision on Team Ninja’s part.  My AI partner is almost completely useless, and when I finally do manage to win a tag mission (one of the higher up ones), the result screen says I did around 85-90% of the total damage, and my AI partner did 10-15%.  It’s also frustrating that the opponents in the later tag battle matches do 10 times as much damage as you do.  It’s like the game can’t decide what a good medium for difficulty is, since every other mode in the game has incredibly easy AI, yet the tag battles are brutally difficult.

    Oh and the figurine collection thing is kind of cool, yet it seems like a huge time sink.  Each character having something like 20-30 figurines, and you only get 1 every time you play through a game mode (except survival which gives you a bit more, but takes longer to finish).

    Anyway, my 2 cents.

  • downloadable costumes is awesome to me..

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