Some Brief Thoughts On Dead or Alive: Dimensions

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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.


  • Fantastic Dead or Alive: Ultimate opening in Chronicles mode is missing the Aerosmith song, which takes away from the feel. Chronicles mode in general makes you go @_@; because it’s so confusing, story-wise.


  • 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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Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.