We got our hands on Dead or Alive 2 for the PlayStation2 today, and seeing as how we were so smitten with the DC version, the PS2 version underwent serious scrutiny. While the DC version enjoyed a period of exclusivity in the US, Tecmo of Japan has not released a DC version in its home country. That being the case, for Japanese gamers who've grown weary of Virtua Fighter 3 and the newly released Tekken Tag Tournament, DOA2 is the only other 3D contender worth grappling with.
As US gamers who bought DOA2 in the States will attest, it's a no-frills game with very little in the way of obvious extras. In fact, it wouldn't be much of a stretch to say there are no extras. Bizarrely, on starting up the PS2 version of DOA2, you'll find that there are even fewer features than the Dreamcast version. While the DC game offered up to four outfits per character, the PS2 version starts off with no more than two costumes per character. Fortunately, you can unlock more uniforms in the way of the original DOA, by beating the game with each character. We haven't yet figured out if there are many more costumes than the DC's maximum of four per fighter, but it seems as if there may be some hidden surprises in store for patient gamers. We'll let you know.
Other slight changes to the PS2 version are backgrounds that, while not necessarily better, are different from some of those found in the DC version. The last fight, against the boss Tengu, begins with you in a trippy, hazy, psychedelic mode that actually makes it very difficult for you to keep track of what's going on in the match. The longer you persevere, the clearer the stage gets, visually, making it easier to maintain control of your character.
Different animations and cinemas between games have also been tweaked, with one example showing the character Zack playing with a prairie dog, and upon being interrupted by Bass the wrestler, Zack stands up and mimics the prairie-dog's actions. The game is very bizarre at times. The character-select screen also features real-time 3D models popping up in the respective costume that you've selected for them. The DC version didn't show which costume was being selected when you chose the character, and so this is a nice improvement for people who don't remember the order in which the uniforms appear for the characters in the order you select them.
The game plays the same as the DC version, although there is no distinct advantage to using the smaller PS2 pad. The in-game cinemas run at 60fps as opposed to the DC's 30fps, but this is hardly a consideration when you are comparing the two games. Although the PS2 port was done in a very short time frame, there is almost nothing that makes this game look or play any better than the DC version.
The next couple of days will be truly insane as the videogames.com posse rounds up all the wicked news at the TGS, but in any event, we'll have a full review of Dead or Alive 2 for PlayStation2 shortly.