Hands On: DOA X2
Players: 1 to 4 Player Game | Genre: Sports
The first thing that you may notice with Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 is the name – the word “Volleyball” is missing. That is intentional, as the emphasis is very clearly not on that one activity anymore. Being added to the mix are some new minigames, as well as a full-fledged jet ski racing game referred to as Marine Battle.
Marine Battle plays out like most any racing game in the genre. There are various courses - DOAX2 comes with three types, short, medium and long, each with several different offerings. Players can perform stunts to earn points (though Team Ninja are not saying what those points are to be used for) as well as leaning into each turn for better handling. Staying within the buoys will provide access to a turbo boost. Nothing terribly genre breaking here, but the fact that it’s included as a nearly full game unto itself is rather significant.
All 9 girls from the Dead or Alive franchise appear in the game. While the first game centered on Zach having won the previous DOA tournament, buying an island with the winnings, and luring the females with the promise of a new tournament, this sequel’s story is a tightly guarded mystery. Not even everybody at Tecmo’s U.S. headquarters know because Itigaki isn’t saying.
People don’t play these games for the story anyway though.
Many do play for the visuals, and there is no disappointment here. Not only are character models and animations increased from the first game, there will now be visible tan lines. After a character plays for a while in one outfit, changing to a skimpier outfit will reveal the tan lines that formed. These are supposed to fade over time, and then new tan lines are evident as even skimpier outfits are worn.
Another addition to DOAX2 that centers on the outfits is a camera mode, where players have the ability to take one of the girls, put them in a setting and give them something to wear. Then the ogling begins. It isn’t known yet if there will be points awarded for certain combinations or whatever, but you can be sure that Team Ninja are taking this mode very seriously.
The pool jump minigame returns, but this time the buoys are color coded. Not only will players need to time their button presses correctly as well as be pressure sensitive, but pressing the right button will help immensely with regards to how quickly one gets across the pool.
New to DOAX2 are Tug o’ War and Butt Battle. They are exactly what you expect them to be. Two girls either facing each other with a rope between them (each attempting not to fall in the pool) or facing away from each other attempting to knock the other into the pool. Online play will be present for the volleyball and Marine Battle modes, but not for the minigames.
There were enough gamers who picked up Dead or Alive Extreme Beach Volleyball to warrant a sequel, and those fans shouldn’t be disappointed with the results. A retooled volleyball engine should help, as well as the new offerings of additional games to play.