Once you get past its graphics--and you will--you'll find that Dead or Alive 3 doesn't offer much of anything that hasn't been done in other 3D fighting games.
Though Nintendo will have none of it, seemingly every game system since the 16-bit days has premiered with a flashy 3D fighting game in its lineup, which serves not only to appease fans of the genre but also to show off the power of the new hardware. The PlayStation 2 had Tekken Tag Tournament. The Dreamcast had Soul Calibur. The original PlayStation had Battle Arena Toshinden, while the Saturn had Virtua Fighter. Proving it can play that game, Microsoft secured exclusive rights for the latest game in Tecmo's Dead or Alive series to premier on the Xbox simultaneously with the system's launch. Along with the impressive shooter Halo, Dead or Alive 3 is the most highly anticipated of the Xbox's starting lineup. That's largely because, for a long time, it's been the game that has showcased the power of the Xbox hardware and has done a fine job of it. Make no mistake: Dead or Alive 3 looks absolutely stunning. It's the best-looking home fighting game ever released, and it looks better than anything in the arcades too, with the possible exception of Virtua Fighter 4.
Then again, there's an adage in gaming that graphics aren't everything, and Dead or Alive 3 is a good example of this. Once you get past its graphics--and you will--you'll find that Dead or Alive 3 doesn't offer much of anything that hasn't been done in other 3D fighting games, particularly its own predecessors. In fact, Dead or Alive 3 plays almost exactly the same as last year's Dead or Alive 2 and inherits most of the previous game's characters, moves, combos, and timing. That's not necessarily a bad thing--the 3D fighting genre has remained relatively unchanged over the years because it's so well refined, and Dead or Alive 2 was an outstanding game. Dead or Alive 3 features mostly the same cast of interesting, memorable characters, all of whom have dozens of moves--punches, kicks, dodges, throws, holds, reversals, and more. However, Dead or Alive 3 lacks some of the polish and the frills that made for timeless games like Namco's definitive Dreamcast port of Soul Calibur. Indeed, because of predictable computer artificial intelligence, limited gameplay options, questionable character balance, and more, you'll likely find that Dead or Alive 3 doesn't have much to offer in the long run, even though it is fun to play for a while and is definitely easy on the eyes.
The Virtua Fighter and Tekken games have long since established themselves as the rival kings of the 3D fighting genre, and the Dead or Alive series, from its inception, was clearly intended to surpass them both. That's because it's always been technically on par with those other games, as well as basically enjoyable to play, but clearly inspired by each of these series in turn: Dead or Alive borrowed Tekken's over-the-top fighting moves, along with some of Virtua Fighter's more detailed character graphics. Dead or Alive's single gameplay innovation was that it gave every character the ability to perform reversal attacks--impressive, damaging moves you could execute to catch the opponent's punches and kicks and then counter them. Previous games had long since included reversal moves for certain characters, but Dead or Alive's idea that any fighter worth his salt should be able to perform reversals was an interesting one. For better or worse, this turned the gameplay of Dead or Alive into a fancy version of rock-paper-scissors. Punches and kicks could be countered with reversals, which could in turn be countered with throws, which could in turn be countered with punches and kicks--and around and around you went.
It also bears mention that the most noticeable feature of the original Dead or Alive game was that its female characters were, let's say, unusually well endowed. Still, the game's PG-13 content wasn't anything more objectionable than what you'd find on the anime shelf at Blockbuster. In fact, the colorful anime-style characters of the Dead or Alive series--not just the females--are what give the series a lot of its appeal.
- Player Reviews: 126
- Game Universe:
- Dead or Alive 2 (DC, ARC, PS2),
- Dead or Alive (PS, SAT, ARC),
- Dead or Alive 5 (PS3, X360, VITA),
- Dead or Alive Online (PC),
- Dead or Alive Code: Cronus (X360),
- Dead or Alive: Dimensions (3DS),
- Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 (X360),
- Dead or Alive 4 (X360),
- Dead or Alive Ultimate (XBOX),
- Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball (XBOX)
- Offline Modes:
- Number of Players: