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Dead or Alive Dimensions preview: touch here to win


What would you rather have: a faster framerate or 3D graphics? It's an interesting question that Dead or Alive Dimensions raises. After a few minutes playing with the 3D slider on and off, I found myself preferring the faster framerate. In a room crowded with 3D graphics, seeing a crisp, fast, smooth image was a refreshing change of pace. Running at 60 frames per second, Dimensions certainly looked like a fighter's fighter.

Although Tecmo is promising series veterans will find the fighting engine fully intact in Dimensions, it's interesting to see the drastic consolations made for casual gamers, specifically the interactive Move List. The bottom screen features a comprehensive list of character-specific combos, and simply touching the combo will perform it. Can you play an entire match this way? The answer, as I found out repeatedly, is yes.

In many ways, it felt like cheating, being able to instantly access some of the character's most demanding moves with a simple touch. There is some semblance of a handicap, as scrolling through the list to find a specific move is cumbersome. Thankfully, you can just tap a different move in the interim.

Gallery: Dead or Alive Dimensions (1/19/11) | 12 Photos

I was able to clear match after match, sometimes flawlessly, just by touching the bottom screen. But, I'd love to know how well this technique holds up with the AI turned up. (I'm assuming the AI was turned down to "vegetative" for demo purposes.) How well will it work against a human opponent? And do you wear a special "shame badge" if you lose to someone that uses the touch screen option?

How guilty will you feel for using this?

The Move List will likely stir a debate among fans, but it's nice to see that the rest of the game caters to long-time enthusiasts. The visuals are sharp and the level-changing "Danger Zones" are fun to experience in 3D. "Chronicle Mode" seems like an especially fun addition for veterans, reviving the franchise storyline, "filling in parts of the story that no DOA game has covered previously." Y'know, if that's really important to you. Finally, there's the promise of new playable fighters, exclusive to the 3DS game, that should shake things up.

Like so many of the other games shown for 3DS, Dimensions is a familiar but well-executed continuation of an established franchise. And if the new casual-friendly controls don't court newcomers, there's always Samus.

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