STAFF REVIEW of Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball 2 (Xbox 360)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006.

Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball 2 Box art Its horribly cold these days, especially since I live in the wonderful country of Canada where there is nothing but clouds spurting out snow. How I wish it was summer and I was driving to the beach in my car. Maybe thats why those crazy guys over at Tecmo decided to bring the girls from the highly acclaimed Dead or Alive series into a beach volleyball game with some light casino action. With hundreds of swimsuits that you get to dress your very curvaceous women many people will understand why it has a mature rating. How can this get any better? As good as this game sounds I actually think the question we should be asking ourselves is how can this get any worse? Now you may be confused about my last statement but I am going to tell you straight up, this game is all about boobs. Boobs and the variety of ways they can be bouncing and jiggling in some of the most impossible, physics-defying ways; talk about eye candy. Now you are probably asking yourself why I asked how this game could get any worse, well from a visual point of view the game is very, VERY good but its a game not an adult film. Tecmo created this second instalment and just like the first DOA Extreme they forgot all about the gameplay. Its nothing more than a virtual wankfest, and while that's perfectly fine for some, I want a real game to go along with it.

The storyline of the game goes a little bit like this. Zack, from the previous DOA games, which has an outrageous amount of money; takes that money and does what everybody with lots of money would do, thats right folks! He ends up buying an exotic island and naming it Zack Island. Zack then invites the girls of DOA to the island. When the girls arrive to this exotic play land they realize that there is nothing to do for the next 2 weeks but to sit around lie in the sun, go shopping, gamble, and of course, play volleyball among other activities.

When you start the game you get to pick any girl from the DOA series. Each day in DOA is split up into sections, morning, afternoon, evening and night; during these sections you get to pick what you would like your character to do. You can pick to mingle with players, sit by the pool, and play volleyball and other various activities. You can also decide to check out the shops filled with items you can purchase such as suntan lotion, dozens of bikinis or accessories like sunglasses and hats. Once you purchase and item you can decide whether you would like to gift wrap it and send it to one of the other girls. Gifts are the key to the girls hearts if you want to win over there friendship. That is basically the point of the game friendship. All the achievements you will receive on the 360 are to make 2 friends with all the girls, Not very exciting if you ask me.

All right the volleyball portion of the game is actually not all that bad. The controls are smooth and precise. A gamer can simply pick up the game and start playing, although this doesnt necessarily mean the game is simple. Certain things, like powerful spikes are a question of timing, but the game offers enough opportunities to perfect your spikes or your serves. You can position your player anywhere along the playing environment or let your partner take up the front and do most of the work. And, thanks to the smooth frame rate, the action doesnt slow down one bit and this makes for quick matches.

Volleyball is not the only activity that goes on in Zacks Island. You can lounge by the poolside if you like and work on your tan (characters can tan to a darker shade if you use suntan lotion or not tan at all by using sun block). To earn extra money, theres a Hopping game that has you jumping across the pool by way of floating cushions . . . and, believes me; its not as simple as it sounds. Also Tecmo added a few new features, you can now race sea-doos but its nothing spectacular and butt battles were you try to bump another girl into the pool using only your butt. At night, you can go to bed or head out to the casino to play some classic games like poker, blackjack, roulette or even slot machines. Still this game makes me wish the gameplay had more substance and the camera was better. This game also supports Xbox live which can give the game a little more life span.

Graphics wise, the game is magnificent looking. One of the games that debuted with the Xbox 360 was DOA 4, a game that was used as an example of what the console was capable of visually. The result was a lot of dropped jaws and admiration for a game that featured highly detailed graphics with the smoothest textures ever seen on a game. DOA Xtreme 2, amazingly enough, improves the visuals. The character models, for example, are so detailed that you can witness every muscle at work when a character stretches or moves. Spend too long in the sun without sunscreen and your character will visibly get a bit darker every time. The backgrounds are also amazing and practically breathe with life. Yes, this is one beautiful looking game.

The sound could have been a lot better, but whats featured here is really not that bad at all. The sound effects, for instance, are wonderfully detailed so that you can make out the sounds of the waves and tropical birds. Still, its the soundtrack that really could have used a better quality of tunes to the eclectic mix of soft pop songs as well as some reggae. You can always change the songs on the play list by visiting the Radio Station on the island. The voices found in the game are not all Japanese like previous DOA titles, which is a bonus.

This game is beautiful sure but is it worth your hard earned money; ummmm well lets see the volleyball part of the game is decent and racing sea-doos is fine for a whole 10 minutes but after that this game just gets repetitive. There is not enough depth to this game to actually motivate anyone to want to play threw it. Tecmo should have spent all those man hours creating this game into something a little bit more productive like a sequel to Ninja Giden. In a nutshell the gameplay is lacking, at the end I end up walking away feeling quite empty. The single player aspect of the game will dry up quite quickly and thus leaving the multiplayer game for party situations.

Overall: 4.6 / 10
Gameplay: 4.0 / 10
Visuals: 9.4 / 10
Sound: 8.0 / 10


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