The Dead or Alive series doesn’t have the best reputation in the fighting game genre, as the more hardcore fighting fans feel it’s just a watered down jiggling skin fest and doesn’t bring anything to the table.

So is this still true with this latest 3DS version or has Tecmo taken steps to solidify the gameplay instead of spending what precious resources they have in fine tuning the breast effects that the DOA franchise is so famous for?

Well to be fair you know the answer already and if you didn’t then let me clarify; I’m not a massive fighter fan and while Street Fighter is possibly the best fighting title on the planet I have always had a soft spot for Dead or Alive. [Ed: It”s got a couple of pairs of soft spots for you]

Mainly because my wife and I spent many weeks playing the original tag team feature of Dead or Alive 3 and I have always found the game easy enough to get a grip on and yet it still contains a solid fighting engine and learning curve to keep you entertained.

So it was with no small amount of glee that I slapped the cartridge into the back of my 3DS and started the game up.

My first stop was the story mode, Chronicle, which walks you through the story of Dead or Alive while teaching you how to pull of some awesome moves, juggles and blocks. This is great way for new players to get into the game but it very quickly became incredibly frustrating for me as the fighting kept on being stopped to explain the moves to me and the story just drags on and on. In true fighting game fashion the story itself is rudimentary at best.

“But why don’t I just stop playing this and go to the meat of the title instead” I hear you say, well I’m glad you asked because the reason I slogged through most of the Chronicle was simply because that is what you have to do to unlock your fighters. If you don’t then you are stuck with one or two fighters which really is quite frustrating.

[Sidenote: What is with the slapping of the ladies in this game? It’s incredibly patronising and annoyed me to no end. Slapping an hysterical lady is not only amazingly condescending but really also really offensive to anyone with a bit of self respect and respect for women… especially when she’s a ninja who can disembowel you with her pinky finger.]

I haven’t yet finished the Chronicle but I now have enough fighters to try out the other modes being Arcade, Survival, Tag Challenge, Free Play, Training, Local Play, Internet Play, Throwdown, Showcase and 3D Photo Album.

Arcade is my new favourite but once again the game holds your hand far too much. You start off with the only option being Challenge 1 where you need to fight through 8 (or 10) people on easy mode before unlocking Challenge 2 which is also still on the easy level.

Easy is far, far too easy and I managed to get through the first 2 challenges without even being touched – but after a while the challenges become harder and the game actually becomes incredibly enjoyable. The mechanics are as expected with your four buttons linking to Kick, Punch, Block and Throw and then if you use them in conjunction with the others and certain directional movements your character pulls of those awesome gravity-defying moves.

In a nice touch the touch screen at the bottom lists all your possible moves for you to try and pull off or if you like you can simply touch them and watch your character fly. You would think that this enables idiotic button mashing but it doesn’t as the moves are very close together and you need to touch them precisely to pull of the move which generally means you take too long to do it and the AI takes you down for it; but it is great that we can see our special moves instead of relying on memory.

In Survival mode you are put up against 10, 20 50 or 100 opponents in a row where you health bar will only partially recover between fights. I’ve managed to get 59 wins in a row now and will be going back to try and break that 100, but only when I have enough time to cry in the corner after losing out at number 99 as I know is going to happen.

I tried some online play but the lag via iBurst was unplayable so I can’t really comment to much on that but from what I saw it tries to match you up with someone in your region and you are ranked alphabetically. I’m currently an F+ and I fought against an F,  but saw someone who was an S. Who knows what that all means, really?

I was also lucky enough to receive a Throwdown request from someone. A Throwdown can be called up by someone you have collected in your StreetPass system but I didn’t recognise the name of the challenger I faced. Thankfully I sent them packing and can now walk around with my head held high since I dominated some random stranger.

As a side note the wife still loves the game and both my kids are wildly addicted, which brings me to the rating; Dead or Alive Dimensions is rated 16 by PEGI and 13V by our local FPB but I can’t really see why. The fighting is obvious but there is no blood or bruising and you won’t be hearing any foul language or anything worse than a simple virtual fight.

In closing the fight mechanic is as solid as any other Dead or Alive title I have ever played and while button mashing will get you through most challenges the game has to offer the real enjoyment comes from learning the moves and chaining your combo’s together.


Presentation: 8.0/10

The fighters in Dead or Alive are beautifully rendered and the backdrops are just as good. The 3D effects are well placed but in general I still feel the 3D is a bit of a gimmick and I generally turn it off most games after a short while.

Gameplay: 8.5/10

The fight mechanic is solid and an experienced player will always dominate a button masher, though it still allows new players to the series to enjoy the experience.

Value: 8.0/10

The survival modes and arcade modes are perfect time wasters for the train or while waiting for someone at home. It doesn’t have the meat of some of the other titles but this is one of the few review titles that I will never let go from my collection.

Overall: 8.5/10

I thoroughly enjoyed reviewing Dead or Alive Dimensions and this along with Mortal Kombat on the big consoles will placate my need to beat things up for the next 12 months easily. If you are a fan of the series then this is an absolute must have and if you are just a casual fighting fan then grab this title. Hardcore fighters won’t want to move past Street Fighter IV though.


What you thought I would finish the review without talking about the excess cleavage and realistic breast movements? If this is the reason you love the Dead or Alive series then you are not going to be disappointed with the breasts and their movements lovingly recreated in perfect 3D and you are even given a special mode where you can choose which lovely lady you prefer and then you are transported to a forest scene where you can then take pictures of her from any angle that you like and then store them for future viewing.

I found this entire section to be a bit bizarre to be honest but I’m not going to judge you, if you want to gawk at virtual breasts and watch them jiggle then you know this game is just made for you.

Last Updated: May 23, 2011

Dead or Alive: Dimensions

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