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Old 07-07-2011, 01:53 PM   #1
Macstorm
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Cool Please Rate This Review: Dead or Alive: Dimensions

Wanted: Dead Not Alive
By Michael A. Cunningham

HIGH The responsive combat controls.

LOW The haphazard and awful excuse for a story mode.

WTF The sheer number of women getting backhanded.

Highly sexualized designs have been a staple of the Dead or Alive series since its creation. All of the games' female characters in this series are endowed with large, bouncing breasts and provocative clothing. This feature has been a draw to many, even spawning a mini-game spin-off where the women of the series participate in volleyball and other beach games wearing bikinis. Underneath this thin layer of clothing is an easily accessible fighting game, but there is just not enough content to support it.

Dead or Alive: Dimensions is a game that spans the entire series, cramming the story from all prior games into the Chronicle mode. Unlike other fighters which allow players to select a character and see the story from their perspective, the narrative mode of Dimensions instead only shows select chunks from prior Dead or Alive games. In doing so, players are never given a choice as to who they control, making this a limited experience.

The Chronicle mode also suffers from a lack of focus. Though it is broken up into chapters, it feels more like a haphazard collection of cutscenes than a coherent narrative. Often a short scene will play before transiting to an unrelated series of battles and then jump straight to another completely unrelated cutscene. It's off-putting and lazy, making for a shallow experience where players are given little to no options.

Dimensions does offer the normal gamut of additional fighting game modes, but these lack depth. The Arcade mode consists of three easy paths, two normal and one hard, but not even the toughest one offers any challenge. Each will only take a couple minutes to complete, as they are only against a handful of characters, leaving little else to do afterward.

Survival mode ends up being the most enjoyable part of the game, because it is the only one that lasts longer than a couple minutes. Here, players select a character and then battle a constant stream of combatants with a boss character tossed in every ten fights or so. Though, other than requiring constant attention, it's also not even remotely challenging until the final series against 100 fighters.

On the other end of the spectrum is the Tag Challenge, where the main goal seems to be to cause frustration. After the first few battles, the difficulty ramps up so much that someone who only casually enjoys fighting games will likely lose interest. For a tag mode where players are supposed to use multiple characters, when the main character is knocked out, the assisting character will jump in to buy time for the main combatant to recover, but the player can do nothing with them. It's a pointlessly irritating mode that feels completely out of place.

Plowing through all these modes to unlock all of the rest of the game's twenty-six playable characters would be more enjoyable if there was more to do with them afterward. The only bonus content beyond a few extra characters is a collection of figurines and additional costumes. A little more depths in the existing modes or even having an adjustable difficulty would have gone a long way.

It's a shame that all of these modes feel so half-hearted, because at the core of the game is a solid fighting system that is easy to pick up and play, even for gamers who might not be very experienced with fighting games. Dimensions controls amazingly well and is easily one of the smoothest playing fighters ever to grace a portable system. If the game only offered a little more depth, it could have been fantastic.

Internet play works surprisingly well, giving players more options that just the limited local area experience. It is currently quite easy to search and find a match globally, and fights remains fairly stable throughout. One shortsighted issue is that once a match is over, players are kicked right back out to the mode select screen, making it a bit inconvenient to play multiple online matches. It's just another area that is lacking in refinement.

Dead or Alive: Dimensions is a visually impressive game. Even the 3D effect is used in a way that adds a bit of flair instead of just feeling like a tacked on feature. In matches, 3D adds depth to environments and actually gives the explosions and crashes that occur around the stage more impact. In the end, the main focus of Dead or Alive's visuals is still breast physics and panty shots, and sadly, the game seems to go out of its way to work those in.

From its misogynistic overtones to its lack of depth, Dimensions is a shallow experience. The core gameplay is really enjoyable and that makes it even more insulting that so little is done with it. After a few hours of playing through the crippled story mode, the only thing players have left to do is to spend one or two more playing the brief arcade modes to gather unlockables. One can only hope that Tecmo takes the foundation here and puts it to good use on another fighting game with some substance. As it stands, Dimensions looks great, plays great, and fits fantastically on the 3DS, but as is befitting the tone of the series, its beauty is only skin deep.

4.5 out of 10

Disclosures: This game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the Nintendo 3DS. Approximately 6 hours of play was devoted to single-player modes (story mode completed 1 time) and 1 hour of play to multiplayer modes.

Parents: According to the ESRB, this game contains blood, mild language, partial nudity, suggestive themes, use of alcohol, and violence. There is murder, assassinations, violence, and violence against women. There is also a lot of over-sexualization of women with lots of cleavage and bouncing chests.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing: There is an option for subtitles for story dialogue, but no other essential audio cues.

Last edited by Macstorm; 07-09-2011 at 04:46 PM.
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Old 07-08-2011, 12:19 AM   #2
Richard Naik
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Re: Please Rate This Review: Dead or Alive: Dimensions

This is some great writing. A couple questions though-are all of the DOA games fighters? If so I'd sneak a note about that somewhere in the first paragraph.

Also, cay you add the specific ESRB content descriptors to the parents section? I.E., this game contains blood and gore, strong language, etc.

And you are FinalMacstorm from Twitter right?
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Old 07-08-2011, 07:59 AM   #3
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Re: Please Rate This Review: Dead or Alive: Dimensions

I've made those changes. Thank you for your comments. Yup, I am FinalMacstorm on Twitter. I'm not really new to review writing, just new to writing about games that aren't RPGs.

I would really appreciate any comments, as I've never been much of a writer, but am making an effort to improve by branching out and trying different styles. Also, while I'm used to using the full scale for scoring, I'm used to a 5 point scale, so I want to make sure my score matchs my text.

Thanks for the feedback so far Richard.
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Old 07-08-2011, 03:27 PM   #4
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Re: Please Rate This Review: Dead or Alive: Dimensions

Looks good to me. Greenlight.
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Old 07-08-2011, 04:19 PM   #5
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Re: Please Rate This Review: Dead or Alive: Dimensions

Thanks again Richard. I'll keep checking back for more feedback.
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Old 07-09-2011, 03:45 PM   #6
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Re: Please Rate This Review: Dead or Alive: Dimensions

You need to edit in a few places. Sentence 2 : "All the game's characters in this fighting game series..." feels redundant (and anyway would need to be "games'").

Para 4: "gamut" seems at odds with "sparse". What exactly do you mean by this? That they don't occupy your time, or there aren't enough different modes.

Para 6: Delete "spike in"; the difficulty ramping up to impossible levels is the spike. Also, this game mode sounds amazingly stupid. You really can't control the alternate?

Para 10: The 3D effect adds visual "flair", not "flare". If you want flare, get J.J. Abrams.

Otherwise, seems pretty good. It could probably stand to be a bit shorter. You could afford to give less detail about the Arcade and Tag modes, for instance.
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Old 07-09-2011, 04:51 PM   #7
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Re: Please Rate This Review: Dead or Alive: Dimensions

I edited sentence 2, but does it still address Richard's issue of not mentioning this is a fighting game series well enough?

In paragraph 4, I changed the talk of sparse to "has little depth." There are plenty of modes, but the content within them is sparse.

Yes, it is true that you can't control the alternate. Not sure why, but maybe that's for co-op and not fixed for single player mode.

Fixed the flare/flair screw up, though I did picture the latest Star Trek when you mentioned it. *doh!*

I also went in and cut some parts of the talk on arcade and tag mode and combined others. Maybe it flows better now.

Thanks for the feedback, Sparky. Really appreciated. I'll keep checking back for more fixes.
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Old 07-15-2011, 08:42 PM   #8
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Re: Please Rate This Review: Dead or Alive: Dimensions

Hey Macstorm, sorry I'm late getting back to this; the system didn't notify me of your update. The edits were good, so green light from me.
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Old 07-15-2011, 09:33 PM   #9
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Re: Please Rate This Review: Dead or Alive: Dimensions

No worries at all. Think the score matches the text well enough? I struggle with the change in score scales.
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Old 07-17-2011, 11:52 AM   #10
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Re: Please Rate This Review: Dead or Alive: Dimensions

I find this to be a very well written review. Score seems pretty accurate to the text you provided. Good work.
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Old 07-17-2011, 08:46 PM   #11
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Re: Please Rate This Review: Dead or Alive: Dimensions

Thanks a ton, frog. Really appreciate the feedback from everyone here.
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Old 07-25-2011, 05:11 PM   #12
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Re: Please Rate This Review: Dead or Alive: Dimensions

Just curious, I have a couple greenlights here, so am I mostly just needing to wait on votes? Not that I'm in a rush, I just want to make sure I've done all I need to do. Thanks for all the feedback.
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Old 07-26-2011, 09:26 PM   #13
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Re: Please Rate This Review: Dead or Alive: Dimensions

Well I just voted to help your score. Sorry I missed your post until today, one more post and you won't need to wait for your posts to be approved. Hope to see more reviews.
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Old 08-09-2011, 02:48 PM   #14
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Re: Please Rate This Review: Dead or Alive: Dimensions

Quote:
Originally Posted by frogofdeath View Post
Well I just voted to help your score. Sorry I missed your post until today, one more post and you won't need to wait for your posts to be approved. Hope to see more reviews.
Thanks for the vote. Was really just making sure I didn't need to do anything else, so I guess not. I've got two staff greenlights and a couple votes, so I really didn't want to hound as much as just make sure I didn't need to do more.

I can even provide some good quality, non-watermarked screens if need be.

Last edited by Macstorm; 08-09-2011 at 02:58 PM.
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