Dead or Alive: Xtreme 2 Review
Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 (DOAX2) is the sequel to Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball for the Xbox. The original game is what Rockstar’s Table Tennis game is for the 360. It had very basic gameplay and didn’t complicate things, it also received some great reviews and it’s a game I went and bought and enjoyed. However in DOAXBV they were some flaws that sadly Tecmo did not recognise and have unfortunately included in this sequel.
For those of you who don’t know about the original, in DOAXBV you pick one of the DOA girls on Zack Island which you get to control for 14 game days. You have to buy gifts like swimsuits and items and give them to another girl of your choice, hoping you can persuade her to partner up with you so you can play 2v2 volleyball. The game was known for its skimpy swimsuits and the big bouncy breasted girls. It was the type of game which gamers would be mocked for playing because of the way the girls looked. Some store staff would even laugh at you and ask you for ID when buying the game (true story). This was all pretty much expected but sadly DOAX2 has chucked any realism out the window. [Note to Tecmo, they don’t bounce like that. -Ed]
You have 14 day’s on New Zack Island. Days are split into 4 parts, Morning, Afternoon, Evening and Night. Each volleyball match or mini game activity takes up one portion of the day and when it’s night time you have to spend it in your hotel. So you can perform a total of 3 volleyball matches or mini games a day. At night you can go to the casino and spend your money gambling or just go straight to bed. If you’re like me though and just want to play mini games and volleyball matches it can get really annoying constantly going to your hotel to go to bed every 20 minutes.
The main addition to DOAX2 is the mini games and there are a lot of them and for the brief moment they last they are quite fun. Each mini game excluding Pool Hopping & Marine Race needs a ticket to play them. Tickets can be purchased from one of the games stores and one ticket allows unlimited plays with the girl you picked. There are 6 mini games and these are Water Slide, Tug-war, Butt Battle, Pool Hopping, Marine Race and Beach Flags. [Butt Battle? Ermm… -Ed] Each one is self explanatory in the name and some are as boring as they sound. Beach Flags is tapping A as fast as you can to run to a flag trying to beat your opponent. Pool Hopping has had a upgrade from its original and has now been made a little bit complicated with the coloured X,Y,B,A buttons needing to be pressed corresponding with the coloured floats. Butt Battle and tug of war are both pretty much the same apart from the way you face you opponent. You are standing on floats in the water and you have to push or pull you opponent off. My favourite one is the Water Slide where you start at the top of a very long blue slide and have to steer your girl down being careful not to fall out of the slide! That seems slightly harsh as I have never known anyone to come off a water slide before. I still haven’t managed to complete the course but its good fun speeding down.
One activity could be classed as a game itself. Marine Race puts your girl and any other opponents on a Jet Ski and you are given a course to race on. You can buy faster, better handling Jet Ski’s from the shops but you can use a basic one from the start. Courses are marked out with orange buoys and going out of the course for 5 seconds will forfeit the game. The aim of the race is to come first and try to rack up as many points as you can. Points can be earned by successfully going through gate buoys. These are red and yellow buoys with arrows on telling you which way to go past them. Trying to go past buoys consecutively can be hard but with the aid of the triggers you can bank which will allow you to turn more sharply losing speed when you do so. If you manage to get past 7 buoys in a row you will be earned with a turbo and when hitting the right button will give you a significant boost I speed. As the days go on the courses will change and you will get some courses which will have ramps. These will allow you to pull of small tricks like back flips and daredevils. Once you finish the course your points will be added up and converted into money.
You will use money very often in the game as your going to have to buy gifts for your partner. So where to go and what to buy? That’s the question I ask myself every time I play this game. There are 3 shops on New Zack Island, each one with there own speciality. The Sports shop sells swimsuits ranging from the basic bikini to the more exotic string bikini. Watercraft and other items like activity tickets and different coloured volleyballs can also be bought from here. The accessory shop sells (you guessed it) different accessories such as hat, glasses, shoes, nail polish and sunscreen. The last shop is Zack of all trades. It sells anything and everything. Cabbages, RC Airplanes, Lemonade… it’s all there.
Most items which you buy can be gift wrapped. The reason for this? When you have a item which is wrapped you can give it to your partner at the end of the day, or if you no longer have a parent you can find a girl on the island and give it to her and try to win her over. The annoying thing is that every girl is fussy. Give her a present she doesn’t like will just waste your money. Speaking of wasting money, there are other ways of earning money. When the day is over and you go back to your hotel you can choose to go to the casino. Play Roulette, Slot Machines, Black Jack or Poker. If you are lucky you can earn yourself a bundle of cash to spend the next day.
I have talked about the mini parts of the game, so now onto what should make up the main part of the game but lacks in. DOAX2 doesn’t bring anything new when it comes to the volleyball side of the game. B button still passes it to your team mate and sets you up if your team mate has possession of the ball. A button combined with different directions of the left thumb-stick will go for different types of serves. A will also allow you to perform spike attacks and block your opponents attacks. The right thumb-stick allows you to control your partner. This is very handy when your opponent launches a powerful spike and you need 2 people to counter it. It’s all very basic and as long as you have a good partner you can’t go wrong.
The graphics have definitely improved. The scenery is colourful and full of detail and at some points can look a little too detailed. Shrubbery and trees look fuzzy as they move with the breeze. Environments could be more realistic with sand being movable and the Jungle having more detail on the court area. Water is very impressive with waves chucking you about on your speeding Jet Ski. The girls will get tan lines where their bikinis have been and this is visible if you change into a different bikini. Sadly this doesn’t mean much when there skin colour has no realism and is just a bland colour. Also their hair looks like… well it can only be described as strips of material stapled to their head.
There is now a setting in the options to set the voice to English. This is a little bit strange though as the bad translation is dubbed with American actors with fake accents. Christie will talk with a posh English accent and go around saying “Elementary” a lot and Helena has a comedy French accent. It’s just completely wrong and all seems like “DOA The Movie”. A lot of the music seems to be from the DOAXBV but that’s not necessarily a bad thing as it does fit the game well.
A new addition is Xbox Live play. I have only been able to find ONE other player and it was only 1 match but it feels the same as playing single player which might be why people are not playing online. As well as volleyball which is 2 players you can play Marine Race which allows for 4 players. Once again though online doesn’t seem to add any fun into the game so I might just be best to keep play this game offline.
While DOAX2 has improved a lot from its predecessor it’s still nowhere near what it could be. While I understand that Tecmo want to keep is basic and the girls to keep their appearance, it’s time to get with the times and rework what they have. Otherwise I see bad sales for the next DOA game. DOAX2 is not a bad game it’s just let down by what it could have been. With achievements impossible to get unless you play this game solid, some achievement addicts will go elsewhere for gamerpoints. It could be worth the rent but with other games out I would suggest renting them first.
Originally Written By: Toby Bodman