Are you ready for some Xtreme Action? Then your wait is over because the girls of Dead or Alive are back and better than ever in the first "Fantasy Sports Simulation", Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball for the Xbox video game console. It's sure to have your heart-racing with beautifully rendered graphics and action-packed game play.
The extreme action is transported from the fighting ring of Dead or Alive 3 to the beach. But this time around the girls are throwing on their bikinis to go head-to-head in the most outrageous beach volleyball game you have ever seen! The game lets you compete in two different modes, the Main Mode or the Versus Mode which accommodates up to two players at one time. It's time to get physical with the ladies as they set, spike, and kill their way to the championship title on the tropical beach resort, Zack Island.
This is no ordinary beach volleyball game, the more points you receive on the court will enable you to customize your characters with over 100 swimsuits and accessories to choose from. At night, Zack Island becomes a haven for nightlife activities including an island casino, a movie theatre, and a radio station with all your favorite sand and surf tunes.
I had some high hopes for this title when I read about it a few months ago, there were not many volleyball games around, and although this was clearly being aimed at single males it looked as though it could end up being quite fun. Well lets just say that the Volleyball side of the game is not what you would call, in-depth. So if you are looking for a proper volleyball title then perhaps you should be taking a look at the upcoming Outlaw Volleyball game. You really only have two buttons to use during the whole game, and the angle from which you play in it in be difficult to judge where the ball lands. So what we have here is a volleyball game with very little volleyball.
The game beings with you picking one of the eight girls to play as, they are Kasumi, Hitomi, Ayane, Tina, Leifang, Helena, Christie and new girl Lisa. Each of these women as specific likes and dislikes such as colors, hobbies and specific items that they enjoy such as foods and such like. This is where the main part of the game actually lies.
To get to play Volleyball in Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball you will need to make friends with the other women so that you can partner with them. This is done by purchasing various items from the shops that adorn Zack Island. There are items such as sunglasses, food, make up, suntan lotion, flowers and loads more to purchase, each item comes in certain colors (remember that I mentioned earlier that each woman likes certain colors and various other bits and pieces). When you buy an item you get to decide whether to keep it for yourself or have it wrapped up to give as a gift to one of the other women in the game...if they like it they are more likely to become friends with you and partner with you in volleyball games, if they don't like it they will just dump it in the bin.
The next part of the game is played by the poolside, from here you can either take a rest and get yet another cheap and tacky look at the woman you picked to play as or you can play an extremely simple hopping game to get yet another cheap and tacky look at the woman you chose to play as. The hopping game is as simple as they come, you use the A, B or whatever button you want to jump from one floating platform on the pool to another, if a platform is far away you must press the button firmly down, if it is only a step away, you press the button lightly. Yes that is the kind of game we have here.
So what else do we have around the island, well later at night when you venture back to the hotel (which you end up doing a lot) you will get the change to head into the casino, from here you get what is probably the better part of the game, you can play Roulette, Slot Machines (or luck machines in this as a like to call them as you can't hold or use nudge), blackjack and poker. None of these games are difficult to play as most are just pure luck so again nothing fantastic is on offer here. All of these little sub games look to have been added once the programmers realized that the game doesn't have much in the way or gameplay, but even these are pretty poor.
Finally you have the sport store where you can go in and buy new skimpy swimsuits either for yourself or for some of the other girls in the game, some look awful, others can actually look pretty good, will you bother getting that far in the game to buy them though is another matter.
Graphics & Sound
So now we come to Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball's saving grace, the graphics. If you have ever played Dead Or Alive you will know just how good this game was likely to look, everything here is easily on par with that old Xbox title and infact some parts can look even a little better than it did back then. The main problems here come with the repeated animations that you get to see over and over again, they really do start to grate on your after a very short amount of time.
I can't praise Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball graphically, but even the parts designed clearly for guys (as the whole game is) such as zooming in and viewing the women from various angles even feels like it was put in as an afterthought once they realized that this game really wasn't going to be any good so they must milk what they have as much as possible.
The sound is a bit harder to review, the music is suitable to the game and feels very summery, but when the game comes out in the Winter something doesn't quite fit right. Thankfully you can change the music to your own tracks that you have ripped off of a CD. The speech in the game from Dennis Rodman as Zack is quite pitiful too, and all of the girls are voiced in Japanese again just like in the Dead Or Alive games, this didn't really matter in Dead or Alive as that had some kind of gameplay, but here it doesn't fit right with the Volleyball theme.
You can probably tell from my review that I don't really rate this game at all, it is yet another in a line of poor releases for the Xbox released so far this year. While I initially had thoughts that this might turn out to be quite a good volleyball game, once you start to realize that there is hardly any volleyball in it I already started to lose interest, the sub games that are in it are awful and while it is graphically superb, even the animations will start to get on yours nerves within an hour of playing it (if you play it for that long). Well clearly Tecmo believe that there will be a lot of males out there who will be fooled into buying this game, unfortunately according to the sales in the US and Japan they were right, but I pray they never get to release such rubbish again...Roll on Outlaw Volleyball.