I jumped right into arcade mode and tried the new control system in Dead or Alive: Dimensions, the touch screen combo interface. Instead of using buttons you can tap a combo and Ryu (the first character I played as) will follow the moves. It sounds like a balance breaking dial-a-combo system, but Dead or Alive: Dimensions is so fast playing with the touch screen only won’t get you very far. See, you still have to scroll up and down to find specific combos. The fight doesn’t pause while you’re searching for that sweeping kick move, so you’re just standing there waiting for Kasumi to toss you off a cliff. Yes, Dead or Alive: Dimensions has screen transitions too.
The core of Dead or Alive: Dimensions is countering and the touch screen combo system doesn’t provide players counter and combo options. Don’t worry, Tecmo Koei created Chronicle Mode, which teaches players what to press when. Chronicle Mode also has a story to follow and 3D cutscenes to see. One interesting thing to note about event scenes is they’re told with figurines, the same ones you can collect and battle using StreetPass mode. While Ayane breaks into a room, the camera turns so the static figures pop out of the screen.
Dead or Alive: Dimensions keeps track of player patterns and creates ghost data of sorts. When you pass another player on the street Dead or Alive data is wirelessly exchanged. This player profile constantly updates, so if you practice and pass the same friend they will receive updated data showcasing your new skills. The build I played was near complete. Photo mode was fully functional and localized. Yes, you can take photos of the Dead or Alive characters by moving the 3DS like a camera. This mode utilizes the motion sensors on the hardware. Players can save and share pictures, 3D pictures.
This is a good time to mention Dead or Alive: Dimensions has the most in-your-face 3D effects out of Nintendo’s 3DS launch lineup. Before a fight begins the words “Fight” fly at players. Life bars float above the action and there is a clear amount of depth between the fighters and the background. Each match ends with more screen popping effects. Ryu’s hand jets out of the screen with a congratulatory knife hand. Hitomi’s arm pops out of the screen if you with a match with her. In both cases, I unlocked costumes as a bonus. One of them was a suit for Ryu. Hitomi has an extra dress and Ayane has her Ninja Gaiden garb.
After running through arcade mode, I tried tag mode where you can call out a second character. My Zack/Ayane team worked well especially because Ayane rushes enemies with a forward roll and a flurry of spinning kicks.
As a nod to Team Ninja’s work on Metroid: Other M, you can fight in the Geothermal Power Plant in Dead or Alive: Dimension. Ridley hovers in the background spewing combo breaking fireballs if you get in his way.
Dead or Alive: Dimensions was recently bumped off its March 24 release in Japan. The game is still slated for a May release in North America.