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Dead or Alive: Dimensions December 7, 2011

Filed under: ~Video Game Reviews~ — solarblade @ 10:41 am

Overview

The Dead or Alive series is a fighting game series created by Tecmo (more specifically Team Ninja who was fronted by Tomonobu Itagaki).  Unlike fighters at the time, DoA and Virtua Fighter was 3D-based fighters and showed a lot of potential, which led into the fighting scene we have today.  The series have 4 main games and 2 games under a different thing (AKA something straight guys go googoo for).  Yeah this game also brought titty physics to the foreground XD…wow…Dead or Alive: Dimensions however is compiled as like a complete best-of the series and is the first of the series without Itagaki at the reins since he left the company prior to this.

Story

Like I said above, the game is kind of a best-of and it goes the main plot points through all four DoAs.  It starts out understandable as Kasami is plagued with a decision of either stopping Raidou and betraying her clan of fellow ninjas (which is really only Hayate & Ayane) or not.  She of course does the former which entails a lot of randomness.  I mean Raidou makes Hayate go into a coma and in return gets amnesia and Ayane continues being herself.  Of course this is all cleaned up during the DoA3 part of the game where DOATEC gets pushed into the story and seems there’s a lot of assassination attempts (and actual assassinations).  Include more randomness with Kasumi clones up the ass and bigger bosses and just wow.  It’s an interesting story not gonna lie about that, but it really focuses on Kasumi, Ayane, Hayate, Ryu Hayabusa (NINJA GAIDEN FTW), and Helena Douglas (DOATEC’S new leader after Fame is murdered).  The other characters just seem to be fodder for the story which is strange considering some of them do play in the story a lot.

Characters/Stages

  • Characters – Dead or Alive’s characters come back in Dimensions as the biggest playable cast yet.  Every main character is playable here which is great (however from the primary cast, only Nicole (the Halo Spartan) is seemingly missing from the game).  What makes this the biggest cast yet is the fact that the five bosses from the four games are playable: Kasumi Alpha (crappy Kasumi clone), Alpha-152 (another Kasumi clone but more cheaper), Raidou, Bankotsubo (or Tengu, he’s called both in the game), and Omega (or Genra as he’s mainly recognized as).  Besides Kasumi-A the rest kind of don’t fit in the game as they cheapen the game with their moves and have ridiculous stuff going on.  I guess to relieve us from Nicole’s absence, they featured a new character in Shiden (who’s basically a much better Hayate LOL). 
  • The rest of the cast are kind of mostly stereotypes and some oddities…Most of them follow their ideas like the 4 ninjas in Kasumi, Ayane, Hayate, and Hayabusa.  Bass is the grappler and power one (of course he looks like Hulk Hogan), but Tina and La Mariposa (Lisa) are also wrestlers as well.  Which by the way…there’s more girls than guys which is a surprise in the fighting game world (unless you play Arcana Heart of course).  There’s a playstyle for everyone so that’s good…
  • Stages – Now the stages are mostly from the past games which is awesome and some look quite beautiful (the one with the Sakura tress) and or memorable (like the stage where you begin on a bridge).  Of course the biggest one is this certain stage that has Metroid written all over it.  I don’t know why DoAD had to have one and it seems rather stupid.  Ridley’s in the background and shooting fireballs (and if you blow in the 3DS’ mic, Samus comes in and does some cinematic movement but nothing else).  Why tease us Team Ninja, should’ve put Samus in the roster.

Gameplay

It’s a fighting game the point of the game is to kick your opponent’s ass!!!  It’s not that hard but everyone can tell a fighting game off from the way it’s handled to its engine.  DoA’s is hard to really explain but it follows a certain rock, paper, scissors element between kick, punches, and throws which is pretty cool.  Though to me though the throwing doesn’t exist because parrying exists which feels a lot easier to do than in other 3D fighters.  Like I said above all the characters play differently from one another enough to warrant different strategies.  I personally use the quicker fighters like Christie, Shiden, and Alpha-152 rather than the slower ones like Bass, Bayman, and Leon.  It’s a simple learning curve and can be quite useful in fast paced battles.  I still find myself parrying so much more in this fighter series than in any others XD

Graphics/Sound

  • Graphics – For being one of three fighting games out right now (as of this review) the other two being Street Fighter and Blazblue, I have to say they got the graphics down pat.  DoA has some pretty graphics and it’s great to see that carried into the 3DS.  Character mopels are solid and move fluidly in the game here so that’s always a plus in a fighting game.  Of course the CGI movies are really pretty and uses the 3D effect to its fullest however it doesn’t really translate well when the game goes.  If the 3D is off, the game plays really smoothly and feels like DoA4 (but simpler).  When the 3D is one the framerate drop is seriously noticeable and it makes you not want to play the game with the effect on.  Still otherwise it’s a really pretty game and is one of the better ones in the 3DS’ early life.
  • Sound – As for sound it’s solid work.  Of course there’s voice acting in the game and while it’s cheesy at points, I thought it was done pretty well.  All the kicks, punches, bone-breaking and wall-hitting are also believable as well.  The music though is what really caught my attention remixing everyone’s theme around from various games gives some great fighting action.  Personally, Ayane’s remixed theme is seriously some damn good electronica right there!

Other Things, Modes, etc.

There’s a couple of things to mention which I’ll talk about here like the modes in the game!

  • Chronicle – The story mode, which is split into 5 chapters the first four being from the numbered games and the fifth is to show Helena’s side of the story after her mother was assassinated (by Christie) XD.  It also works as a tutorial showing you the whole process of it’s fighting engine…nice to know actually.  Still it would’ve been nice if the other characters had something better to do than being randomly selected as your next opponent sometimes.  Even the storytelling was a little jarring going from sometimes being FMVs…or just typical game/anime fashioned talks (you know cardboard conversations).  It was ok but could’ve been handled better
  • Arcade – Not the most exciting thing but it’s battles between pre-selected opponents.  Also there’s 5 levels (easiest to hardest)
  • Survival – Like in any other fighting game, survive through waves of opponents…it goes through intervals of 10 all the way to 100
  • Tag Challenge – Besides Arcade, this is where you’ll be trying to unlock the bosses through.  20 different battles and they start from easiest and giving you “lives” to the hardest which is no extra lives at the hardest setting.  (Lemme tell you, I still haven’t defeated the final mission, Raidou/Shiden).  It’s good at first until the end where you’ll start to see where it starts to be frustrating.  Your tag partner is CPU and once you lose like a third of life it automatically takes over (so you can rest and refill ur life bar).  However pressing one button will send you back in and that can be pretty annoying and if the CPU looses a lot of life it switches you in automatically.  It’s a pain in the ass and sometimes can make or break you battles (the latter is more occuring during the harder fights).  It just was a mess for me…
  • Free Play – It just lets you go against a CPU with your own rules, nothing that says spectacular but great just for casual playing.
  • Training – Every fighting game today has a practice mode and it’s great and all but DoA usually has a mode where the game tells you a command and you do that command…it’s not present in Dimensions and I’m missing that for some reason
  • Local Play/Internet Play – Yup it’s online and it might not impress people much.  Like any other fighting game that’s online capable…it’s in the same boat.  There’s quite a bit of lag and for a fast-paced game like DoA, it’s pretty much a sad story indeed.  At least there’s the whole win/lose and a grade showing how good (or bad) you are. 
  • Throwdown – I’m still trying to learn Streetpass but it seems that if you walk by someone who also has a copy of this game and a 3DS it’ll mention that you have a battle waiting and go against that opponent.  Of course I’ve encounted this also through the wi-fi DLC fights so that works as well.
  • Showcase/3D Photo Album – Kind of the collectables of the game, we get trophies of characters and there’s TONS of them in this game so prepare for a long playtime with that.  Of course because of this, this game is banned in Sweden because some of the characters are portrayed as too young.  To me, it’s just a game get over it.  Yeah, you can take pictures of the trophies and view them in the photo album….kind of useless but whatever lol.
  • Fight Record – Just like it hints, it shows all your fighting records from wins and losses to how many times you parried.  Even your online matches of wins/losses are shown.  Pretty cool if you’re into that lol.
  • Options – Yeah you know the deal, sound, networking, Streetpass options, erasing data (which I recommend not doing). 
  • DLC Content – It really isn’t too much, but it seems everyday I get either a new Throwdown fight or a new costume for my fighter (whoever that may be).  It’s nice and small and fills the gap from usually how many costumes we get from DoA as it is. 

 

 

OVERALL: 7/10

I have to say for being one of the first couple games released for the 3DS, DoA:Dimensions kind of got it right from the first shot.  The story is essentially a quick run through the series’ past but it’s an understandable story and sets it up nicely for DoA5.  The rest of the game is kind of hit or miss…Arcade could’ve been done so much better and felt weak (of course no one had endings so that’s a good reason why Arcade wouldn’t have worked in a traditional way).  Tag Challenge is probably the worst of the modes since it had a lot of hiccups and the CPU helper kind of sucked!  The online modes were alright but like all the other fighting games it had a lot of lag (for me, it could be different otherwise).  The 3D effect is best used in Chronicle mode but only for the CGI moments…in-game it slows down the gameplay a bit too much.  Still, this is a very good fighter on a system that isn’t a year old.  Good job Team Ninja

 

4minute – READY GO

Filed under: 4minute — solarblade @ 1:19 am

Track Listing

  1. READY GO
  2. SWEET SUGA HONEY! (JAPANESE VERSION)
  3. READY GO (KARAOKE VERSION)

1. READY GO

After that derailment of sound from 4minute’s last single, they came back with the punchin’ READY GO.  I will say that the electric guitar mixed in with the group’s normal K-pop tones surprised me and it worked at first (mostly the verses are pretty awesome).  The chorus though is kind of shady for me since it has a lot of repeating going on (like most K-pop songs).  I mean “WHY” was pretty awesome but READY GO seems to be basic and very straightforward…even for them 0.o.

2. SWEET SUGA HONEY! (JAPANESE VERSION)

Why did they have to choose this song to change when they have much better songs that haven’t been changed yet.  I definitely think reviewing this song for the 4th time is just crap as well.  I guess it was nice they changed it into a Japanese translation since it actually fits them a little better.  Strange that’s said because I’m starting to slightly enjoy this version more than the Korean take…that’s just not right!  It still does come off weird since JPN 4minute is more about the hard music and this stuck on the cuter side of their music.

 

 

As the third single (and possibly the final of the era), READY GO is my least favorite of the A-sides released.  Despite the fact that there’s now electric guitars in the song to make it unique, the song falls flat and just sound too plain EVEN FOR THEM!  Surprisingly, SWEET SUGA HONEY! actually left a better mark on me.  Weird as I totally dislike the Korean version…but here it’s not so bad.  Still at least both tracks are something new/different unlike both “WHY” and “HEART TO HEART”.