Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Dead or Alive: Dimensions - Review

Note: This is a review was written before our current template was created. This review may be updated at a future point in time. Until then, this review will be kept in its current form, and be left for revision at a later date.




 




Overview:

Dead or Alive Dimensions follows the standard set up of a 3D fighter. The game mostly takes place in 2D, but you are free to move around the 3D area, you can knock people through objects, slam them against walls, knock them off cliffs, and make use of the 3D area to help you dodge. If you have ever played a Virtua Fighter game, or games like Sonic The Fighters, you would feel right at home with this.
DoA Dimensions has the largest cast out of any other DoA games with 25 characters. In past games there were quite a few boss characters that were simply there for the story, but Dimensions decided to finally let fans play as them.


The combat system is pretty easy and simple to learn, but the game does have quite a lot of combos. Each character has their normal punch and kick attacks, but they also have grabs and counters. By pressing the slider/dpad in different directions, you'll be able to punch, kick, or pull off different types of grabs and counters. This is a very important part to of the game, and you must learn how to change up your moves.
Really by using common since you SHOULD be able to judge just where you want your hits to land (upper, middle, or lower body), and counters and grabs can be one the same way. If an attack is heading for the middle of your body you can hold back and hit counter to counter it, lower body would be holding back/down and hitting counter (officially called hold), and for upper body it would be holding back and up. Sometimes it can be hard to judge just where an attack is going to land, but it's pretty easy to tell if someone keeps hitting the same area over and over again. This is why you should try to trick them by changing up your moves.

The controls in the game are actually really good, and you can either use the slider (which is what I use) or you can use the dpad. Really the game uses the same control set up that it has used since day one, and it shouldn't be hard for fans to get used to the 3DS. However if you have used a fight stick your whole life, you may have some trouble getting used to this new system.

The bottom screen can also be used as controls, but I really feel that it's pointless. On the touch screen you CAN press the buttons there, or you can also touch one of the combos on the list to make your character do it. Now some of you may be thinking that touching combos to pull them off without you learning how to do them is cheating. Well think about it this way. If you were to play online against someone who is ONLY using the touch screen, do you really think they'll have the time to find the moves they actually want to do? Chances are you could take them out before they even get to scroll half way down the list.

So yeah, the touch screen is there if you really need it, but you really wont have time to go looking for moves. Battles go by fast and it's just not worth the time and trouble. Learn how to use the buttons and you'll be set for life.

Chronicle Mode:

Chronicle Mode is the story mode of Dimensions and it tries to cover the story from the past 4 games. Although it does do a good job summing it up, it really just doesn't cover everything and there may be some confusing parts.

Chronicle Mode only lasts for about 3-5 hours, and it will have you play through the major parts of the story mode. In past DoA games you actually got to pick who you played as, but Chronicle Mode makes you play as different characters at different times. Most of the characters are simply in Chronicle Mode as bosses, and you will only be playing as the ninjas of the game (however the 5th chapter does allow you to play as one other character, but I wont spoil it).


Cutscenes in Chronicle Mode can be cool at times, but also a bit strange... Sometimes the movies are full movies taken right from the original games, and other times they are the 3D characters standing still with voice acting (kind of like how RPGs would have still mugshots). Some of the cutscenes are actually really nice, but I just really wish that they would have done full cutscenes for the whole story. Another thing I would like to warn you about is the fact that there are a few violent cutscenes. At one part of the game Ryu (the main character in Ninja Gaiden) actually cuts a few people into pieces. Although the scene is very fast and tries to censor, you can see body parts falling off... (Game still keeps a T rating).

I actually liked Chronicle Mode and throught it did a great job and summing up the story. If you're one of them people who love stories, you'll most likely still want more by the time you're done, and if you hate stories dont worry, you can skip cutscenes and get right to the fights. The story mode alone actually made me want to go play the other games since I would like to understand it more, but I was pretty happy with what they did give us.

Chronicle Mode also served as a sort of training mode; so it really is the best place to start out if you're a new commer to the series.


Arcade:

Arcade mode isn't quite like normal arcade modes. There is NO story in arcade mode, and there are actually 6 sets of fighters to go through. Each set is unlocked by beating the set before it, and it does NOT matter which character you actually pick. Although I like the set, set up in arcade mode, it did kind of make me mad that you could NOT change the settings. Arcade mode stays pretty easy the whole time, and is really only worth it if you want to unlock the special Metroid: Other M stage that you get for beating them all.

Survival Mode:

This is something that quite a few fighters pull off, expecially Super Smash Bros. In Survival Mode you pick a character and then go up against a set of fighters to see how long you can survive. Survival Mode starts out pretty easy with a set of 10, but soon you'll be fighting sets of 20, 30, 50, and finally a set of 100.
In each set the 9th fighter in each of the 10s are a LOT stronger, and they are one of the main challenges in this mode (example would be when you have 1, 11, 21, 31, 41, 51, 61, 71, 81, and 91 fighters to fight). Really Survival Mode is just there for an extra challenge, and you'll only unlock figurines, and sound test voices (or costumes if you haven't gotten them already). Even though I didn't have to beat it, I decided I'd 100% this game before this review so I made sure to finish all the sets.

Before I go on I would like to bring up one bad point in this mode, which is also something that could effect other modes (including online). Ryu actually has a pretty cheap/broken attack that can be spammed to win these fights. By holding back and hitting the L button you'll be able to charge up a fire ball and throw it. Computer players (and a lot of people online) have a VERY hard time getting around this so they'll most likely get hit. Besides the fact that the attack does a LOT of damage, it also will send the other person flying and they'll most likely hit a wall. What could be even worse than hitting the wall to take extra damage? Well the arena you fight in during Survival Mode is electric so they'll take even MORE damage than normal! Yep just spam that attack and all you're problems are solved!

Sure you can play Survival Mode how it was made to be, but there is still this unballanced part to it and it bugs me...

Tag Challenge Mode:

Tag Challenge Mode is just what it says. You get to team up with 1 other player (who is always a computer) and you get to fight 20 strong fighters. Sometimes you'll be fighting a single character who is a LOT stronger and has a LOT more hp, but other times you'll be fighting against other tag teams.

The way this works is, you pretty much attack and do as much damage as possible until you start getting low on HP. Once your HP gets so low you will be switched out, the computer will come in to fight, and you'll start to heal in the background. Once you think it's time to go back out you can hit a button and jump back into the fight (which puts your partner up to heal). Really this is how you'll have to win just about EVERY match. You'll have to switch in and out to make sure your characters can heal/stay alive, and hopefully take down the strong fighter.


Early on challenges are actually easy and they give you free lives to come back with if you do die (however there's like a 5 second wait time before you can respawn, and if your partner dies before you can respawn it's game over), but later on challenges give you none what so ever. So yeah, this mode is pretty challenging, but I did find that the Ryu spam works here as well... Even so, I decided to play through the mode using my main, Kasumi.

As I said above, you do unlock costumes in this game for beating different modes as different characters, and really this is the best mode to do that in. By playing the first challenge with each character, you'll be able to take out the fighter very fast AND by doing so you'll be unlocking costumes. It only took me about 10 mins to get every costume by using this trick.

If you beat challenge mode you will unlock a secret character that doesn't show up on your list. Once you finish the mode go hold L+X over random and hit A. Instead of being a random character, you will be the game's secret character, a character who has never appeared in DoA before.

Free Play:

Free Play is your normal VS mode. Pick a character, set the rules, pick a stage, then fight. I really cant explain much about this mode because it's just fighting in a mode that appears in EVERY fighting game ever made.


Training Mode:

Once again, Training Mode is one of them things that just seems to appear in every game out there. You get to pick a character and fight against a training dummy so you can practice your moves and combos. You can set just how the training dummy will attack/move, but I found that the settings were a bit limited.

Training Dummies are set by changing 3 groups of actions. COM Action, COM Reaction, and counters. Pretty much you can set the computer to do set actions (such as puch or kick over and over), you can set how they'll guard, and you can set how they counter. It is pretty limiting, but you can also set a COM level if you want to have a normal fight.

Really the training mode isn't that bad, but I guess I'm just used to other fighters where you can set things like your health, how the COM recovers from a hit, etc.

In training mode you CAN unlock figurines and your damage is kept in your Fight Record, but it's mostly just for practice.

Local Play:

This is really something I shouldn't have to explain as well. If you have friends who also own the game you can use Local Play to fight with them. There is NO download play, so your friends will actually have to own a 3DS and the game if you want to play together.

Internet Play:

Internet Play is the online version of local play. Like most Nintendo games you can either pick from Region or World play, and you'll be put up against random players. There's also a friend battle mode but I haven't got around to messing with it yet (however you can expect it to work just like any other online Nintendo game).

Online there is a ranking system, but currently it is pretty glitchy. The game counts how many battles you have won out of your total battle, it counts how many points you have total (you gain them from winning and lose them for losing), and based on the points it gives you a grade.

Currently I've won 91/157 battles, and I have around 2000 points with a grade E- raking (you start at F, go up to F+, then E-, and so on). So why is my grade still so low? Well this is where the BIG problem with online comes in.

Say you have 3000 + points (like I did) and you're going up against someone. Your plans are to win, get more points and hopefully rank up soon right? Well what would you say if you won then LOST 500 points instead of gaining points? Well it happens. Normally you gain 100 points for winning, and lose 100 points for losing, but a LOT of the time things like this will happen.

Ok so now I'm down to 2500 points right? Cant get too much worse! Well actually, it can. What would you think if you went into your next battle and lost internet connection (even though you have a 100% connection) as soon as the round started? The person you're fighting will gain 0 points but you'll lose 500 + points simply becasue you were the one who disconnected.

The ranking system is glitched, there's random lag at times, and you'll sometimes disconnect just because the game felt like doing it. There are quite a lot of problems...

Even though there are these problems, when the game does work it's fun. I've played 157 battles, won quite a lot of them, but also lost quite a few as well. The game's pretty ballanced (although I have been beaten by spammers), and it's a nice game to kill time with. My only real complaint, besides the ranking system, is the fact that the Wi-Fi switch on the 3DS is also the "QUIT BECAUSE I DONT WANT TO LOSE TO THIS GUY" switch.

A lot of people out there will simply hit that switch right before you get to the "Winner" screen which will cause you to gain no points. If this were never a part of the game, I would have most likely had over 4000 points by now...

Throwdown:

Throwdown is the StreetPass part to the game. If you walk by someone who has StreetPass on you will send your data and they will send you theirs to fight. The game can store up to 8 Throwdowns at a time, but you can also only fight each Throwdown once, so there really is NO reason to save them.

Throwdowns do show up on your online record, and some Throwdowns even come from online as DLC of sorts. I haven't got to mess around with it too much since apparently no one in my area has the game (I even walked through stores and drove through towns looking for people), but I did fight against a DLC Throwdown. From what I can tell, they're a lot stronger computers (which I'm guessing their level is based on the other persons record, but it could be random).

Showcase:

In the Showcase Mode you can view the figurines you have collected in the game. Figurines are given to you at random after you finish different game modes, or even sometimes play online, and there are 999 of them to collect. In the Showcase you can move the cam angle around, to view the figurines that you have collected (you can also change the background).

Really I'm not a fan of this mode since the figurines are just the characters in different poses, but it is something extra you can mess around with. I just wish it were more like Super Smash Bros, where they give you information to go along with the figurines. It would have been a nice touch.


3D Photo Album:

Pictures you take in the Showcase Mode end up here. Really it's no different than what you see in Super Smash Bros Brawl, and it's just for you to look at pictures in 3D. Really there's no other point to it than that lol

Fight Record:

Here is where you can see all your stats in the game. You'll find your Overall Stats (which covers your online ranking, how many matches you've played, your win %, rounds won, winning streaks, and so on). You can also view your Mode Records (how fast it took you to be arcade rounds, how many figurines you've collected, damage you've given in Training mode, and how much you've completed of the tag challenges).
There are also stats that show how many times you've used different types of attacks, how many time's you've taunted, your longest combos, and other little extra stats like that. It also shows you your fastest wins with a character (my fastest win is 00' 00" 00 as Kasumi because someone DCed right before the match started).

Really this is just a place to check out how you've been doing if you really care that much about it. Some of it is pointless, but it's also kind of cool to see.

Options:

The Option Mode in the game is actually pretty limited. You can listen to Audio Voices (unlocked if a character beats a mode in Survival Mode), change the Launguage, control settings, you can change your Nickname, change the Street and SpotPass settings, and you can delete your save data to start over.
Yeah there really isn't too much I can say about the options mode.

DLC:

Currently DoA is getting REAL DLC every single day for the next month. Everyday you turn on your 3DS you'll find that one of your characters will have a 100% brand new costume to pick from! Right now there are only plans for one set of DLC, but every DLC costume is marked as "DLC Costume 1," it's a pretty big hint that there will be more to come in the future.

If you don't have the game yet but dont want to miss out on the DLC, well dont worry. After the first round is over a second round will be starting for the same DLC, however that will be the final round. If you miss the DLC a second time, it's missed forever.

The 3D Effect:

The 3D Effect is the last thing I want to talk about, but it might have been the first thing you wanted to know. Well, sorry about that!

Anyway the 3D Effect is mostly sunken in, but sometimes things DO pop out at you (such as fits coming out at you during the Winners pose). The 3D does look nice, and it does help increase the quality of the graphics (things seem a bit plain looking without the 3D), but there is a down side to it. When the 3D is off the game runs at 60 FPS, but it runs at 30 FPS when it's on. So really it's up to you to decide if you want to use it. When I'm playing offline I tend to have the 3D on, but online I keep it off to keep the game running a lot smoother.

On the home screen (when selecting modes) you can also see different arenas on the top screen. Sure you can just look at them in 3D, but the game also makes use of the 3DS' gyro so you can actually move the screen around to look around the area. It's pretty limited, but it is pretty cool (it's just that since you're moving it around, the 3D effect just wont work).

Ending:

So what do I think about DoA Dimensions? Well I really liked it, but if you should get it is really up to you. If you like the past DoA games, or even the Virtua Fighter games, I'd say get it. If you like fighting games in general this could also be a good buy for you since it IS a fighting game, and it could also be a nice change. Really you cannot compare this game to Street Fighter, or BlazBlue CS2 since all 3 games are a style of their own, but in my eyes that's a good thing.

I'd tell everyone to go out and get this game, but there are people out there who just don't like fighting games. If you're one of them people you COULD TRY this game out, or maybe go try out one of the older ones, but really this game just isn't for you. If you're someone who would like to get into a fighting game but you're worried about learning all them combos, dont worry about it! DoA is a pretty easy game to pick up, and you'll be able to fight with the pros in no time. Just use common since, and you'll be ok.
I give the game a 4/5 since it does have quite a few problems, but I feel that the good out did the bad for the most part. Either way I marked this down as one of my favorite fighters.

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