Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 Review
Your enjoyment of Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 will be directly proportional to your interest in lusting over ridiculously idealized polygonal female models.
- Gorgeous visuals
- Consistent sun-and-fun atmosphere
- So many bikinis.
- "Soft physics" look awkward more often than not
- Actual games are too simple
- Choosing partners is more frustrating than fun
- Saccharine soundtrack will drive you totally insane.
Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 isn't much of a game. Like its predecessor on the Xbox, Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball, gameplay is almost an afterthought to the sight of jigglesome female models lounging and frolicking about on an idyllic tropical island resort. In fact, fans of the first game may be a little surprised by how little has changed, to the point that DOAX2 almost feels more like an enhanced remake than an honest-to-goodness sequel. There's some genuine craft to parts of the game's presentation, and those looking to do a little virtual ogling will probably come away at least somewhat satisfied. Still, the quasi-dating-sim aspect of the game doesn't come close to fulfilling its creepy potential, and the beach-themed minigames that populate DOAX2 are few and simple to a fault.
At least the game doesn't take itself too seriously, as exemplified by the game's opening cinematic, which sees eccentric Dead or Alive fighter Zack discovering the sunken remains of Zack Island, the tropical getaway from Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball. With a little extraterrestrial intervention, he's able to resurrect it, renaming it as New Zack Island in the process. All this, of course, so that he can invite all of the lovely ladies from the Dead or Alive fighting tournaments to take a nice, relaxing two-week vacation. It's openly suggested by some characters that Zack's intentions are prurient, though beyond the prerendered cinematics that bookend the vacation, you never actually see Zack. You'll receive a number of gifts from him over the course of your vacation, though, and you'll do plenty of gift exchanging with the other girls on the island as well.
Before making your way to New Zack Island, you'll need to choose which DOA girl you'll be vacationing as. You can choose from almost all of the lovely ladies who were featured in last year's Dead or Alive 4, with the young geisha-in-training Kokoro being the single new addition to DOAX2 since Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball. The character models are arguably the centerpiece of the game, and they really do look quite lifelike, with lots of individual detail and some realistic, if occasionally mannered, animation. They perhaps look even better than they did in DOA4, and the so-called "soft physics" that give the girls' breasts their pronounced bounce has been refined so that each moves independently. While perhaps an impressive technical feat, in practice it's overkill. With features like this and the ability to conduct tawdry, Maxim-grade photo shoots, it's apparent that the game aims to titillate, but the soft physics are so over the top and ridiculous that it regularly kills the mood. Also, like in DOA4, there's a ribbon-like quality to all of the long, flowing hair. It just looks fake, and the way it clips through the characters is distracting. The oft-breathy voice acting matches the game's playful yet sexually charged atmosphere, and a Japanese-language option gives the game an even more exotic vibe. The largely licensed soundtrack is relentless in its cheery blend of mall-pop and overproduced reggae songs, though mercifully, you can customize the game's playlist.
You can see a lot of detailed information about each girl on the character select screen, including nationality, hobby, favorite food, and favorite color. It seems totally frivolous at first, but it's information that's worth jotting down, as these details play a big role in successfully interacting with the other girls on the island. On your first time through you'll spend your first day being guided across the island by Lisa, who will also act as your volleyball partner at the start. There are several locations where you can challenge other girls to a game of volleyball or just hang out and relax, as well as a marina where you can take part in a Jet Ski race, a pool where you can relax and play, and three different shops. The accessory shop features plenty of hats, glasses, shoes, and other trinkets that you can dress up your girl in. From the sports shop you can pick from a huge number of swimsuits that are usually character specific, buy new Jet Skis to give you an edge in the marina races, pick up some different-colored volleyballs, or buy tickets that will unlock additional beach games. Zack of All Trades is the most random shop of the three, with no apparent rhyme or reason as to what they stock--on a given day you might be able to pick up some sheet music, a leather bag, and some fried chicken. You can't really do anything with most of the items at Zack of All Trades, but any item you buy or receive in the game can be gift wrapped and given to another girl. The stock in each store is almost constantly rotating, and since gift giving plays such a prominent role, you'll likely spend an inordinate amount of time perusing the various wares on offer.
Interacting with the girls on the island nearly takes prominence over actually racing Jet Skis or playing volleyball or any of the other beach games included, though your means of interaction are contradictorily limited. Though you'll always have the opportunity to start your vacation with another girl attached as your partner, it's a union that's far from permanent. Showering them in gifts that appeal to their tastes as hinted at in the character select screen is one way to keep them happy, as is consistently winning the games that you choose to compete in. Keep your partner content for long enough, and she'll start reciprocating and sending you gifts, including swimsuits that are otherwise unobtainable. If your partner gets fed up with you, she'll do the passive-aggressive thing and just leave without saying anything. The idea here is that you can't participate in any volleyball games without a partner.
- Player Reviews: 85
- 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)
- Number of Players:
- Number of Online Players:
4 Players Online