Dead or Alive: Xtreme Beach Volleyball
DOAX has been highly anticipated ever since its unveiling last year. Now it's finally here, it looks fantastic, but is it just plain backside? Our review has the answer.
Tecmo / Microsoft
By John Gold
The concept behind Dead or Alive: Xtreme Beach Volleyball is deceptively simple. Take the gorgeous girls from the DOA series out of the fighting arena, onto a beach, and whack them into some skimpy bikinis. Throw in collectible items, a progressive story and all kinds of bonus materials. Oh - and as you may have noticed, it looks rather nice too...
But if you think this game is going to play as well as good as it looks, or as good as any of the titles from the fighting series, think again. DOA Xtreme Beach Volleyball is all about looks, not substance. That's not to say nothing is on offer here though, so let's take a closer look.
The story is that Zack, the winner of the third Dead or Alive Tournament, uses his winnings to try his luck at a casino, wins even more money and ends up buying an island to turn into a resort. This actually happened to me recently as well. Anyway, he then brings in the girls from Dead or Alive, who believe the fourth DOA Tournament is taking place on the island. (I wonder if Tecmo are trying to tell us something about the possibility of DOA4). The girls then find themselves with nothing better to do than sunbathe, play volleyball and gamble, which is not a bad point for you, the 'player', to join in the fun.
"Zack uses his winnings to buy an island to turn into a resort.
First of all, you meet Lisa, the new DOA girl, who will give you a tour of the island, which is simple enough to navigate, using a nice looking map/menu system. Certain parts of the island are inaccessible at certain times of the day or fortnight and, at night, you can only visit the hotel. Indeed, the mind boggles.
The tour will take you to the stores, with three very different shops to choose from. These shops are important, as this is where you will be spending the Zack dollars you earn (from playing volleyball). There's a huge choice of things to buy and items can be kept by your character, or gift wrapped and sent to a prospective partner, or to your current partner, to keep them keen. Each girl likes different colours and has different interests, so picking the correct items will help you win the favour of the girl you want on your team.
You choose a girl, based on her volleyball strengths and weaknesses, and if you win your games, you get to keep her, but if you perform badly, she'll leave you and you'll have to work hard to get a new one, with the aid of gifts bought from the shops.
At night, you can go to bed in the hotel, or visit the casino to lose your hard earned cash on four different games - Roulette, Poker, Blackjack and Slot Machines. These casino mini-games are entertaining for a short while, but lose their attraction quickly.
Clearly, this game looks amazing - the girls are beautiful, their breasts are bouncy, you can almost feel the sun on your face, and the sand between your toes. Away from the beach itself, the other parts of the island look great, too. The casino, for example, looks fantastic but there is no interaction with the environment, other than to just play the games. Which is a shame, as it would be cool to be able to walk around and explore the setting, and maybe try to hit on a girl...
"You can just take your girl to relax, splash around, or other stuff that involves blatantly suggestive movements..."
You don't have to run to intercept balls, because they will come to you or your partner anyway, no matter where you are. You don't have to run to the net and jump and spike your team mate's pass, because the game does that for you. Therefore, the only way to drop a point, is to miss a button press and, after you have played a few matches, the game starts to feel repetitive.
The soundtrack is kind of fun and adds to the holiday atmosphere, featuring the likes of B*Witched, The Spice Girls, Bob Marley and Christina Aguilera, but if you can't stand the cheesy pop music, you can choose to visit the Radio Station and apply your own personal soundtrack.
While gameplay can be fun, the volleyball and collecting activity is undemanding and repetitive. But perhaps all this is missing the main point of why this game exists. Because while the gameplay in itself is not far from terrible, it seems clear to us that this is pretty much a 'girlfriend game' for a western audience. When you're not playing volleyball, you can just take your girl to relax on the beach, have her splash around in the pool, or various activities that rather blatantly involves suggestive movements. And all the while you can position the camera however you like, for as long as you like. In Japan this is a tried and tested game concept. In this case, it just has a recognised brand, fantastic visuals, a few sub-games, and a spot of volleyball thrown in as well.
When you look at it like that, this game is perfect for three groups of people: fans of hot digital DOA chicks, anyone under the age of fourteen, - and, er... me. But seriously, despite its shortcomings, Xtreme Beach Volleyball does succeed at creating a relaxing, 'chill-out' environment inside a videogame, the likes of which we've never really seen before. This is surely praiseworthy. However, if you want a proper game for your dough, you'd be well advised to look elsewhere.
(See Latest Videos & Video FAQ Here)
|PLEASE DO NOT DIRECT LINK TO ANY MEDIA FILE ON KIKIZO|
|Amazing updated version of the trailer, featuring new scenes including that one with the strawberry...||1min||7.70MB||MPG|
|Extremely high quality video of the game's original trailer, showing all the girls on the beach.||3.07min||34.8MB||AVI|