Outlaw Volleyball is the 2nd great volleyball game to hit the Xbox this year. And while I feel that Dead or Alive Xtreme Volleyball is a slight bit better, I still loved this one. There's plenty to get excited about in OV. There are lots of unlockable characters and courts, the gameplay is very good, there are plenty of volleyball modes (such as hot potato, bombs, casino rules, timed games, etc...), 4 player mode, Xbox Live, custom soundtracks, and the game has a great sense of humor. If I had to nitpick, there are a few minor flaws. First off, the load times seem to be too slow, especially when changing the character's swimsuits. Secondly, changing characters around in the tour mode is confusing and too hard (some players can't be combined, if they are in a better "class" ranking, and you can only "dump" one of the characters at a time, not both). Thirdly, the swimsuit selection stinks (both in size of collection and originality of the suits), especially when compared to DOAXVB. And lastly, some of the characters from Outlaw Golf are nowhere to be found (what happened to Suki?!?). As for comparison's to DOAXVB, I was surprised to see just how different the games are from each other. Both are solid games. DOAXVB is far superior in graphics, characters, swimsuit variety. I would call it dead even in gameplay, but both are very different games in this category (Each had unique aspects I wished were in the other game...I liked the relationship factor in DOA and liked the turbo ability in OV). OV beats DOAXVB in the play modes with 4 player, Xbox Live, and all sorts of different game types. So, even though I give a slight edge to DOA, the bottom line is that OV is a teriffic game and any flaws are so minor they are not noticeable in the end. I give DOAXVB a solid 5 out of 5.
This is not a game that you can pick up and play and become really good in just a couple games. It does take a bit to get good with the controls, but once you do you'll find it to be an incredibly fun game to play. There are several different gameplay modes which keeps things fresh during the tour mode. I've played 4 player exhibition mode a few times and this was a blast. I found OV to be incredibly addictive as it can take hours to unlock characters and more tours. And if you get tired of the tour mode, you can jump on Xbox Live and challenge somebody else. There are some very minor gameplay flaws. First off, you can fight your opponent to gain momentum which is a neat idea, except that the fighting engine is extremely basic and very lame. Secondly, as with DOAXVB it would have been nice to see your relationship with your partner having a direct impact on the game. For example, if you keep screwing up, your partner can become less confident in you and play a little worse. But, those are very minor gripes to an otherwise perfect gameplay experience.
The visuals are solid. Not breathtaking, but solid. The animations after points can be funny, but some become a little too repetitive. Do we really need an animation after EVERY point? The characters look good, but not DOAXVB good. There are lot of volleyball courts from snow covered lands to playing in the sewer. All the courts look good, and most have a lot going on in the background.
OV utilizes custom soundtracks, and has a decent track list of it's own if you don't have your own tunes to play. The voice acting is good. The announcer (from the Daily show) is funny, but most of his comments become too repetitive by the third game you play. The rest of the sound effects do the trick nicely.
Suggestions: Fix the incredibly long load times when changing a player's swimsuit. Bring back Suki. I would love to see more Outlaw Sports genres, such as b-ball, football, tennis, etc...