Dead or Alive is a strange topic. It is a fighting game series with some pretty solid mechanics and some pretty graphics, but for whatever reason, the thing that the developers want to shove in our faces are the girls. Dead or Alive is most famous for it's jiggle physics, physics that cause the girl's breasts to bounce around constantly. While a lot of people find this disgusting and find Dead or Alive a joke, I personally like the series a little bit. They went over-the-top with the sex focus when they released Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball. Funny thing is, this game wasn't a bad game, it just pushed the breasts in your face too often and made you feel a little creepy. Now, Team Ninja has done it again and released Dead or Alive Xtreme 2, another volleyball game that includes more mini-games. Can the Dead or Alive girls keep it up and win another round? Or will they lose their luster and make Team Ninja look even worse they already do?
The story is that there is no story. The girls of Dead or Alive have been tricked by Zach once more into going to his private island for a vacation. When they get there, they pair up with one of the other girls and play volleyball. That's it to the story so it, of course, won't be scored.
The gameplay is pretty varied to say the least. You can play volleyball, go jet skiing, play Beach Flags, go on a waterslide, etc. For amount of things to do, this game delivers and honestly, I find the game very fun. The volleyball is pretty simple, it only requires two of the buttons; the A and B buttons, but it's still enjoyable and I find myself getting into the games. The only other games you start with are the Jet Skiing and Pool Hopping. Pool Hopping has you jumping on floaties in a pool to get to the other end. You hold a face button to jump and tap a button to hop. If you press the face button that matches the color of the floaty your are jumping to, you'll get a bonus that'll add to your money total at the end of the match. The game ends when you or your opponent makes it to the end or if you fall into the pool.
The Jet Skiing is my personal favorite. It plays a lot like Wave Race 64 and there are around five different courses and they all vary in size and lap number. Even though this is a super simple mini-game, it taps into my nostalgia for Wave Race and it's just really fun. The other mini-games aren't as enjoyable as the ones you start with, but they are more challenging than the ones you start with. Other than the mini-games, you go shopping for swimsuits, accessories and other items. All items can be gifted to the other girls to build relationship and some are made just for gifts. Collecting everything can be addicting, but you better be prepared to put in a lot of game time to earn enough money.
One interesting dynamic is the relationship system. The girls all have relationship values with each other and can send you gifts the more you earn their friendship. The most important one to build your relationship with is your partner. As your partner's friendship raises, you'll cooperate better in the Volleyball games and you'll earn bonus points as you do nice plays. You build relationship with her by winning matches as well. Lose matches and she'll lose some friendship and may eventually leave you.
The game follows a day system, each vacation has fourteen days and when it's over, you can play it again with all of your stuff and a different partner. Each day has three sections; Morning, Day and Evening. After evening, you go back to your hotel and you can send and receive gifts. You can also head off to the casino to play Roulette, Blackjack and Slots. This can earn you some money, but it can also cause you to lose all of your money if you aren't careful. Overall, I find this game incredibly enjoyable and it's simplicity makes me enjoy it even more, especially when you get good at it.
The music is all licensed and, while some may not like it, I found it to be incredibly fitting for a tropical setting. The game can be played in both Japanese and English and, while the English can be pretty awkward, both tracks are good with the Japanese being the way Dead or Alive is meant to be played.
The visuals are pretty stunning in multiple ways. The character models look fantastic and the environments are lush and colorful. The sand moves around the girls' feet and it looks great. The game can be creepy, especially with the breast physics, but I only find the photography portion of the game to be creepy myself. The swimsuits all look great, even though they are just pure eye-candy and the girls can also get tanned and get tanlines. It's a weird, but neat, attention to detail. There are quite a few swimsuits in the game and every girl has their own set and each girl CAN get everyone else's swimsuit. Most of the game takes place in menus, which is lame, but it works. The time of day also affects the look of the volleyball matches and the water looks great as well. It's everything you'd expect from a tropical vacation.
- Fun mini-games and volleyball matches
- Lots of swimsuits and other items to collect
- Visuals are fantastic
- Music is fitting
- Lots to do
- Jet Skiing is the best thing
- Gameplay is simple
- Breast physics can get awkward
- Can get creepy
- Menus are used to replace actual visuals
Overall, Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 is a fun collection of mini-games and I find it a very addicting game. The visuals are great, music is fitting, there is a lot to do and it's fun to play and get good at. Sure it can be creepy, but it's still a fun time with your favorite Dead or Alive girls. If they ever make a sequel, they just need to replace the menus with some actual gameplay and it'll be so much better. Nevertheless, enjoy your time on Zach Island!