Reviewed by Jimmy | 12.16.06
Tecmo's digital beauties take a break from their Dead or Alive Tournament returning to Zack Island for another light hearted vacation. It's all fun in the sun as these ample killers trade in kicks and punches for sunbathing and frockling on the courts. Here is Extreme Gamer's review of Dead or Alive Xtreme 2.
The Dead or Alive series is like a major mood swing, one moment its takes it self serious like Kasumi and Ayane's relationship, then it jumps to comical relationship between Tina and her overprotective father Bass. This is also mirrored in their games as well. One side we have the seriousness of the Dead or Alive Tournament fighting games, and now for a second time around we have an effortless and relaxing release of Dead or Alive Xtreme 2, the follow up to Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball from 2003.
Before you even slide this disk into your 360, you should already have a slight clue what you're in for, and that's girls, girls, girls, and low stress gaming activities like gambling and volleyball. The storyline is simple, Zack being the pimp that he is deceivingly lours the girls to his island once again, and then showers them with gifts while letting them run around and explore his island resort. This year we have new mini-games, updated graphics built on top of the same relationship collecting, gambling experience from DOAXVB. You're goal in Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 is to simple have fun, collect a few items and make some friends while you visit the island for a two week period. I don't blame the girls for heading to the island, it's like a Starbucks, and if Zack Island was real I could use a two weaker to get out of the cold up here freezing Canada .
The new feature in Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 focuses on more than just volleyball, hence the name change. In this sequel you can now take part in six games along with the casino section which is untouched. Most of the games are more like mini-games that really don't have much substance and only provide a quick distraction from the main course of Volleyball. Theses modes include an extended version Pool Hopping from the original Dead or Alive Xtreme game, a bunch of quick games which include Beach Flags, Butt Battle, Tug-of-War and Water Slide. The main new game would be the Jet Ski racing game, that's titled Marine Racing.
Marine Racing is like Wave Race 64 for the Nintendo and it has racing in rough waters while tricking and navigating around the courses. This mode will keep you just as busy as the Volleyball and is the only real activity besides being on the court. In the X'06 demo from earlier this year the racing actually had more options for the racing with the option to pick your track and lap settings. I'm not sure if it was for demo purposes, but I liked having options better then none which how they pressed the game for the final cut. The actual volleyball has been improved and it makes you use your partner more along with being more responsive and realistic. The mechanics seem to be up'd a little with more spikes and smarter counter attacks. The difficulty usually starts out easy when you have a new partner, but once things move past the first day the volleyball presents a nice fun challenge.
If you follow the Dead or Alive story you will know all the girls that are playable this year, and we have only one new entry with sweet and shy Geisha in training, Kokoro. The other girls are the normal eight from last year, Kasumi, Ayane, Hitomi, Tina, Christie, Helena, Lisa, and Leifang. Each girl has their own set of likes and dislikes along with unique personalities that can clash if you get the wrong girls mixed up. Like before the relationship aspect of DOAX2 is tied into buying "the right" present, and doing good in the sports. If you keep up the lavishing and winning, the rewards are greater for better results on court and when you retire to your cabin. The more you know about the characters the better and the manual has the basics laid out, if you come from the previous Dead or Alive games you'll will have a slight advantage in this area.
Xbox Live section is a little shallow with only one-on-one Volleyball and Jet Ski racing available. It's a shame they couldn't capture the vacation, trading and relationship aspect. It would have been idea to play the vacation as a two player game like its simulated in the normal game. Still even with the Xbox Live portion skimmed down the task of collecting over 300 swimsuits and reaching for the hard achievements is enough to keep you coming back for more. It's daunting, but once you're hooked it's just one piece and bikinis.
Team Ninja is always stayed ahead in the graphics game compared to a majority of other developers and Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 marks leaves another mark in graphics, although it's not as groundbreaking as I would have expected. Like Dead or Alive 4 that arrived last year, Team Ninja hasn't pulled out anything that is overly impressive for the console. Don't get me wrong, DOAX2 looks great, but it's has a few problem areas and it really doesn't grab the realism we've been seeing lately in games. This could be because they didn't build a new engine from ground up and just relied on improving the physics and other aspects of the graphics. Compared to the first version, Xtreme 2 looks too close to notice much difference.
The biggest problem graphically is the long hair that bleeds through the character models. It's clipping madness and an area that seems to come up in every game, hopefully because this should be next gen, the next gen of Dead or Alive can get this nailed, if I was on the team it would be priority one. Secondly, the breast physics are off the scale. Who would have believed a guy would complain about too much jiggle, well it's happening and DOAX2 pushes the physics a little too far.
Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 is a fun game for those who can look beyond the obvious sex appeal. Just like the first Dead or Alive Volleyball game I found that Tecmo did an excellent job capturing the spirit of vacationing this time with more to do on the island. There are some small graphical issues with Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 which you might not even notice depending if you can take your eyes off the girls upper half. I would have liked a little more content put into the game but complaints aside, Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 is worth a look if you're looking something light hearted, fun and relaxing.