Dead or Alive Dimensions – hands-on preview

Admit it, guys – your first thought when you heard about Dead or Alive coming to 3DS wasn’t “oh cool, a well-loved 3D fighting game coming to a new portable platform.” It was likely more along the lines of “LOL 3D jiggly boobies.” And given the series’ marketing push as of late, you’d be quite forgiven for that. So you might be surprised to hear that the infamous DoA breast physics were rather subdued during our playtest of DoA Dimensions at Nintendo World 2011 in Japan. Perhaps it’s because it was a public show with impressionable youth around, or perhaps Tecmo-Koei is actually ratcheting down the T&A a bit for the Nintendo crowd, but either way it actually helped the merits of a solid 3D fighter shine through more brightly.

Two modes were available for play: a brief glimpse of story mode (which seemed to focus primarily around perpetual DoA heroine Kasumi) and a typical arcade mode, though we saw several obscured and locked-away game modes in the menu as well. We spent most of our demo time fighting CPU opponents in arcade mode. It was clear that Dead or Alive Dimensions keeps many of the aspects that define the series’ gameplay to its fanbase: simple control layouts leading to complex combo strings, an emphasis on counterattacks, and big, multi-tiered stages laden with pratfalls and traps that you can toss opponents around in for extra damage. The controls and combos of the game transferred surprisingly well to the portable format, and much like Super SFIV 3D Edition’s “touch specials,” the bottom screen features a list of combo strings that can be executed by a tap of the stylus, making the combat more friendly for novice brawlers.

One element that didn’t transition quite so well is the game’s visuals. The DoA series always had a reputation of appearing on the hardware with the strongest visuals, though with the recent DoA Paradise on PSP and now this, it seems like Tecmo-Koei simply wants to extend the brand into as many places as possible. The 3D display doesn’t really add a lot to the fighting, and the framerate is rather choppy in places, lacking the silky-smoothness of its console big brothers. While the fighting action remains solid, fans might be a bit disappointed that the 3D display doesn’t add as much visual oomph as they might imagine.

It’s rather unprecedented for a portable console to have two solid fighters near its launch window, but Dead or Alive Dimensions looks to be a fine modern complement to the classic brawling of SSFIV 3DS. It remains to be seen how well DoAD’s other modes will utilize the additional capabilities of the 3DS (which SSFIV does quite well), but it’s obvious that the 3DS launch will be a portable paradise for any fighting fanatic.

Jan 12, 2010


  • Lionzest7 - January 13, 2011 6:49 a.m.

    If it plays at all like previous DoA's tapping the screen stylus is bad. With 2-3 branches for each combo to very, beginners will be more predictable than ever. Pro players will still "free cancel", "whiff punish", "crush", and counter set combos if not properly mixed up. I'd say the stylus thing is sort of nice for newbies, but not enough for them to matchup. In case you need a crash course: free cancel- ability to stop a string pressing the guard button, this will still yield the lag, but won't carry into the next string. This allows for easy tick throws, counter bait, or going into another string. whiff punish- whenever your opponent fails to put you in block/hitstun, you can punish if their attack whiffs. crush- an attack that evades certain heights (might be timing dependent) So in the end I don't forsake the effort to bring casual players, but they might be quickly frustrated if they don't learn to execute moves manually.
  • BlindMarksman - January 13, 2011 4:38 a.m.

    Woah!Woah! WOAAAHHH!!! Hands-on??? THAT MEANS YOU ALREADY HAVE THE DAMN THING?!?!?! Or at least a beta version? Sorry, haven´t been on the site for a while...
  • 93bleach - January 13, 2011 3:31 a.m.

    I heard that the framerate is better when you turn the 3d off...but that kind of defeats the purpose of it being on the looks interesting but if I have to get a fighting game for my 3ds, im still probably gonna go with street fighter. Unless any DoA fans want to convince me otherwise.
  • quincytheodore - January 13, 2011 3:21 a.m.

    Graphic-wise, it doesn't show much improvement. I don't know if the dev intended to make the chars look doll-like.
  • NappyAfro - January 13, 2011 1:57 a.m.

    I've owned every DoA game to date (yes, including Xtreme and Xtreme2) and thoroughly enjoy them all to a degree. DoA2 is still my favorite. I was disappointed in the lack of additions to DoA4 and what not.
  • ssjMrFord - January 13, 2011 12:43 a.m.

    DOA is a freaking joke of a fighting game.
  • Japanaman - January 13, 2011 12:27 a.m.

    Where's DOA Xtreme 3-D? I want to see a 3-D volleyball smack my face in a first person camera mode... and perhaps some 3-D bun shakin'
  • Eliath - January 13, 2011 12:12 a.m.

    @Cyberninja DoA 2 is still my favorite fighting game of all time. I was never that big a fan of the SF series either. The only other fighting series that I particularly like is guilty gear.
  • Cyberninja - January 13, 2011 12:09 a.m.

    dont kill me but i like the DoA fighting series more then SF series so this will be my first 3ds fighting game.

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