Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball (Xbox) review
"Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball. Perhaps THE most hyped-up game in 2002. Does the game render the hype justice? My answer is: maybe... "
Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball. Perhaps THE most hyped-up game in 2002. Does the game render the hype justice? My answer is: maybe...
The ''story'' picks up where Dead or Alive 3 left. Zack wins big at the casino, decides to buy a paradise island, then invites contestants for the Dead or Alive 4 tournament. Only catch is, he only invites the girls... :) Realizing they've been tricked, the girls decides to spend two weeks however they see it fit: shoping, going to the beach, swimming in the ocean or the pool and of course playing volleyball and going to the casino...
The gameplay (8/10)
The first time around, half the fun in DOAX in discovering just what the game is about. It's not just a volleyball game, it's also a Barbie-style dress-up game and a relationship manager and a general visual pleasure to the eye.
First, the volleyball game. The volleyball is control easily enough: the left analog to control your character, the right analog to give quick limited orders to your partner (such as move to the net, move to the back of the court or do whatever you want) and two buttons, one to pass and receive the volleyball, the other to spike and/or send it the other side of the net.
Don't let this simplicity fool you, DOAX uses a feature of the XBOX controller never used to my knowledge before: the colored buttons on the controller are pressure sensitive. Meaning if you tap hardly on the blue ''X'' button with good timing, you'll make a big smash and if you only tap lightly, you'll make a short feint. It can detect accurately the ''fierceness'' of your button mashing.
The AI is a mix of good management and pure luck. Your partner isn't dumb and will not be something to be angry about (the first few hours of gaming, she'll be a lot better than you). The whole aspect of volleyball is a bit tough to grasp at first (knowing when to make a big pass, a feint, a block or a huge spike or trying to anticipate the opponent's move can be a bit tough at first and it took me more than a few hours before being able to win a few matches).
The difficulty can increase or decrease depending on the relationships between your opponents or with your partner. Luck being a small factor in the play (the AI sometimes letting pass easy shots or making almost impossible moves and catching the ball), this means you WON'T be winning every match you see, unless you become very, very good.
All in all the volleyball is a good, simple game (but perhaps too simple for some people).
The barbie dress-up game is something that's just plain hilarious. You earn money in volleyball and mini-games and spend it on accessories and bikinis. There's a LOT of accessories and they come and go more randomly, so just ''collecting them all'' (where have i heard that before?) can be part of the fun too.
Accessories can be used as gift for other characters. If you give them the right gifts that they like, they will wear/use/eat/whatever them and it will increase your chance of them accepting being your partner in future volleyball games. Of course if you suck at volleyball or lose too many times, they will leave you... The whole partner system is simple, nothing too big to manage, but is a bit of fun anyway.
The casino aspect is also simple. It's the usual Poker, Blackjack, Roulette and Slot Machines. If you don't know how to play those games, you'll have a bit of trouble playing them as the rules explained in the game are a bit obscure. But if you know them ike i do, you'll have a fun, but simple, casino game in your hands (the only one on the XBOX for that matter). The only thing is that the payoff trully stands in the player's hands, and not the casino, in most of those games. I.E.: it's easy to win.
Finally, there's the mini-hoping game. Try to cross the pool over the floating matresses by using the pressure sensitive controls also used in the volleyball game. Nothing too serious or complex, but a bit of fun from time to time. (and it can give you a bit of money when you're too low for gifts, have just lost your partner and no one wants to join you).
All in all, a nice collection of everything, but everything is a bit simple (which i think is the reason why some people don't like that game). The whole idea behind DOAX is totally new. You've never played a game like this before. Part of the game is just that: figuring out what the game IS. So let's thank Tecmo for trying new ideas.
DOAX uses the DOA3 engine and it shows. The graphics are as good as those found in the previous game. Since all the bikinis and costumes go almost flawlessly on the characters and gives you big look customization, i think the graphics are even a bit better than DOA3.
The sounds are mostly all in japanese. This may turn down some of the english-speakers out there, but i don't mind the subtitles personally (since i prefer subtitles to dubbing). The sound effect are well made, although you won't see a big use of DD5.1 surround sound.
The music is a mix of reggae and pop. A mix of popular group and singers, with some music that can still be heard on radio from time to time. And if you don't like the soundtrack, pop-in a beach boy CD in your XBOX, copy it to your harddrive and use it in the game since it uses custom soundtracks.
The game is a bunch of mini-games with a big proportion of volleyball. All of them are a bit simplistic, but then ''simplistic'' means easy to catch and grab on. The game will interest the following people: Big DOA fans, volleyball fans, people who like new concept in videogames (like me), casino games fans, people who don't like too difficult to catch or control games, people who likes animated babes going around in bikinis and perhaps even girls who never could get over playing with dolls :).
It WILL turn down heavy gamers who like complexity in their games. So beware! If you've played too much video games and you don't like the barbie dress-up idea, rent the game before buying (unless you absolutely needs anything DOA related). If you fall into that category (like most reviewers that have seen too many games in their life), then you'll find this game only worth a 7 out of 10... with the graphics rising the score a lot, that's not saying much about what they think of the rest of the game...
Community review by deedob (January 24, 2003)
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