So I’m renting Dead or Alive Dimensions right now, the 3DS iteration of the Dead or Alive series. The series has always been made fun of for its out of place fan service (especially with the volleyball games) but personally I find the actual gameplay to be quite good. It’s not as complex as what you get in Tekken, but honestly I like it more for that reason. It feels easy to play and enjoy, but not in such a way that makes the game boring. It’s a good balance of a lot of the things I like about fighting games and actually manages to avoid a lot of the things I don’t like about them.
That said, the story is just awful. See, the story mode of this game actually lets you play through a sort of summary of all the games thus far… and it just makes absolutely no sense. It’s clear that it was made up as sort of an afterthought. Plot elements have that feeling of occurring in a sort of “because” fashion.
Okay, here’s the best example I can think of. You see, the quasi-main character Kasumi is a ninja. When her brother is injured in a Ninja duel she decides to leave her ninja clan… for some reason. I seem to remember from one of the other games that she left to find her brother, but in this game he’s just in a coma. I think she left to get a fucking Doctor, which you would think she could get permission for.
So anyway, it is forbidden for ninja to leave the village for any reason ever… for some reason. So now because Kasumi left her village she is being hunted by other ninja, including her half-sister. The problem is, though, this a conflict that exists without a villain or a hero. The programmers had too many ninja characters and didn’t want to make the ninja into the “bad guys”, yet they still wanted some excuse for Kasumi to be hunted. Actually what it seems more like is that they wanted an excuse to have a violent rivalry between her and her sister, but didn’t want either of them to be “bad” for it to happen. So rather than leaving the village for, say, objecting morally to some part of the Ninja lifestyle (like, oh, I dunno… the whole “shadow assassin” thing) they just had Kasumi leave for terribly explained, poorly justified reasons, because then she gets to fight her sister. And they didn’t want her sister to be a villain, so she’s only doing this out of obligation to the needlessly strict laws that Ninja are somehow forced to obey.
And that’s just one of the dozen or so plot threads in the game. Even the plot threads that actually make sense still aren’t particularly interesting.