Dead of Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball
Game Info
Platform(s)
Xbox
Publisher
Tecmo
Developer
Team Ninja
Genre
Sports
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Gambling, Mature Sexual Themes, Nudity
 
Grade
The Good

• Sugary-sweet graphics
• Solid volleyball game engine

The Bad

• Not much variety

 
Grade
B-

So we all know about the extravagant hype this title has generated, and it has created many differing opinions about the game's reputation. Some say it's just pointless 'fan service', with a game shamelessly tacked on. Others say it's all about the idea of dressing up the DOA ladies with more accessories and bathing suits than you could shake a stick at, then playing a game of volleyball at the beach. Is their really a decent game behind all this fluff? Well, yes, but just don't have your hopes too high.

First, let's get the facts that we all know out of the way first - this is the prettiest game I've ever seen. Ever. And it can only come from the wizards themselves at Team Ninja. Team Ninja has really out done themselves with this title, they improved whatever they could to make the Dead or Alive 3 graphics engine perfect, and gee, does it show. You see all kinds of little details in the game when you just watch someone play - you notice the photo realistic sunset, the greatest water effects outside of Morrowind, and the striking beauty of, ahem, the Dead or Alive gals.

Aside from the eye candy overload, there is a decent game thrown in, too. This title gives off a laid-back vacation vibe that's fresh, intoxicating, and addicting. This game is set up with a set amount of days (you get two weeks to spend on the island), each day you get to do three activities. Each activity eats up a third of that day, so if you go to a remote part of the island and watch a brief (and by brief, I mean extremely, disappointingly short) cinema, it eats up a good 1/3 of you day. After the day is over, you retire back to your hotel room. When in the hotel, you can play a variety of casino games including poker, black jack, and roulette or you can just go to sleep.

The sound track has a ton of licensed tracks from Christina Aguilera, Bob Marley, The Baha Men and others. Some won't like the bubble gum pop and upbeat reggae, but I thought it fit the vacation-y, stress free mood of the game. If you don't like the groups I previously mentioned, you can always play your own personal ripped sound track from your Xbox hard-drive. This is one feature that many games forget to incorporate, but I'm glad they took the time to add this.

Now your probably wondering how the volleyball segment of the game holds up (considering the subtitle is "Xtreme Beach Volleyball"). Well, this title doesn't have much competition (aside from the upcoming Outlaw Volleyball, and the already released Beach Spikers for the Gamecube) and it has a pick-up-and-play quality. You have two buttons, A is used for Blocking, serving or spiking, and the B is for tossing and receiving. To win a match you have to be the first team to reach 7 points. At first, winning a game takes a miracle. The pressure sensitive buttons are a head ache to use at the beginning, but as you progress, the better and better you get, you realize how easy it is to win a match. After you learn to time your spikes just right, it's easy to demolish your opponents.

The weird camera angles can distort your field of vision in a game of volleyball, but thankfully the game positions you right under the ball most of the time. So, what's the point in going to an island and playing volleyball? Well, if you play a really good match, you can earn a lot of cash to spend at some of the local stores. You can buy sunglasses, hats, and new bathing suits among other things. After completing the game, you can continue playing just to collect all the bathing suits and accessories. This can turn into a dangerous addiction, that's if you enjoy playing 'Dress-up'.

While some would write this off as a half-baked cash cow, I was surprised at the game's solid volleyball mechanics. And the casino games also mimic their real life counterparts very well. Those who don't like watching a game more than playing it, go ahead and skip this. Everyone should at least rent it - it's worth playing just for the spectacular graphics alone.

- - Grand Lethal

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