The game begins with Zak, one of DOA's most famous characters, rebuilding his island for friends to visit and party on. The billionaire constructs the island underwater and then uses a nuclear explosion to bring the results to the surface for all of the DOA girls to visit. Notice we said girls. None of the DOA men are featured in the game which perhaps would have given the game a bit more credibility and would have made it look a lot less sexist. Feminists are going to love this game.
Like the previous title the aim is to get as many friends on the island as possible by giving out presents and spending time with them. If they like you enough (read: aren't snobs) then they will partner with you and you can take on the other girls in some beach
volleyball action. Some of the girls have better chemistry than others which can lead to some frustration. The vacation lasts for 14 days after which you have to go back to the island and somewhat start again.
Throughout the island you will find a number of activities to participate in and to be honest some of these are actually quite good. If the developers spent as much time on these as they did the girls, then we would have had a pretty unique title. One of the new additions is the seadoo races which are really enjoyable plus there are a few mini games such as a waterslide, bum battle and tug o war to choose from. As you may have guessed most of these take place in the pool area.
However of course the main action once again comes from the beach volleyball which has actually gone backwards rather than being improved upon. The volleyball is hard - stupidly hard and it's not the AI, it's the positioning of the characters. It's almost impossible to tell where the AI will hit the ball and even the most logical point is not always where they will attack. This could be seen as sour grapes as we aren't very good at this component, but it's because of the poor design values that we are bad at this component.
You can of course play dress up with the girls as well and there is a number of areas you can take photos of your girls in various swimwear. Without the ability to upload to Live or your PC it's a bit pointless, but it's there anyway. You buy various items from the shops and can send them as gifts or wear them. There is also a casino component to the game as per the original title where you can play poker, roulette and the poker machines. This allows you to get money which can be used elsewhere on the island. You do need to buy some of the rides to be able to use them.
One area where the game does shine is the graphics, but that isn't really any surprise. In High Definition it looks stunning and a true island paradise with beautiful girls and fun in the sun everywhere. All of the DOA characters have been updated since their last Xbox 360 outing and look much better modeling than fighting each other. However the shop areas and main screens for the game leave a lot to be desired. These feel like they are running in a quicktime DVD style presentation and it really is clear to see that the game had a tight development schedule. This is again proven by the fact the music has not changed since the original title.
Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 is one of those games that isn't worth the full price of admission, even with Microsoft offering it significantly cheaper in Australia ($64,95 at the time of writing, like Viva Pinata). It's the kind of game you should pick up in the bargain bin a few months down the track and even then just for a laugh rather than a serious game experience.
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