DOA Xtreme Beach Volleyball XBox review

You know what the hardest part of being a game reviewer is? Deciding whether or not you enjoy the game your playing. Not all the time of course, games like Halo make our lives that much easier. It's when a game like Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball come our way. It's not really a game, and it's not even what it claims to be on the box. So, am I actually enjoying myself....or am I being taken in by lots of glitz and glamour?

Volleyball? Yeah, it's here, but it's more of a mini-game. You can gamble, buy gifts, buy swimsuits, and receive a bunch of items you will never (ever) need as far as gameplay is concerned. Actually, when you being to think about it, you don't even have to play volleyball to actually, well, "beat" the game. Then again, there really is no ending, nor is there any point to the proceedings either.

I'm going to get this out of the way now, early in the review, so you pre-pubescent kids can get on with your lives. These chicks look incredible, easily some of the best looking character models ever conceived in a video game. Even the backdrops manage to maintain the high level of quality found in the women, but none of it really matters when you think about. There's no game surrounding them. Yeah, you can ogle at them when their "resting" with a fully controllable camera, but if this is how you get your jollies, please, seek help immediately. Moving a camera while a polygonal chick sits on a swing is NOT all. It's a tech demo.

As for the volleyball segment, there's nothing special here either. It's two-on-two, simplistic, nearly boring, volleyball. No meters, power bars, stamina percentages, or any of the other sport regulars make an appearance, a refreshing change. This leaves us with a simplistic game of volleyball that only requires 2 buttons, something anyone can pick up and play. Obvious problems, that should've been fixed early in this games development, pop up everywhere. First and foremost, the camera is ludicrously placed. It's a low angle shot that doesn't allow for the defensive squad to see where the hell they are, making it worthless to try and defend. Pressing a button will cause your girl to make miraculous shots no matter where they happen to be on the court. It's even funnier to see them making dives while their moving some debris from the playing surface.

There's no real skill to the proceedings either. The computer will either stand there and watch the ball hit the ground or not let it hit regardless of how hard you spike it. It seems completely random, but I guess it's supposed to depend on their "mood" or something. You can purchase different types of volleyballs, but there's no effect on the play other than the look. I doesn't even matter which area you decide to play on. The entire experience seems to be an afterthought than the meat of the game.

At the end of the day, you can head over to the casino which brings up some generic gambling games that are nothing more than ways to waste time. The DOA girls are featured on the cards and even on some of the slot machines, but that's the only connection between these and DOA. Money earned here can be used in the numerous shops on the island. You can buy, as mentioned above, swimsuits, hairpieces, shoes, suntan lotion, and more with the money earned. Also, each night, Zack delivers a present to your girl. Some of these are mildly cool (featuring promotional videos and the like for other DOA games) but others are just plain stupid. Why do you need a guitar? An Uzi? Oh, you can WEAR the Uzi while playing volleyball. Makes sense....

In order to actually play the volleyball segment of the game, you need to find yourself a partner. This is done by buying them gifts and basically bribing them into teaming up with you. Make sure you pay attention to what colors they like or they'll take your gifts and toss 'em out into the trash. Yes, you'll be referring to the instruction book time and time again to make sure your purchasing the right color hair bonnet. Even then they may not choose to team up with you depending on their personal preferences. The entire thing reminds me of one of those Japanese dating games that never come out over here in the states. Is it too much to ask to include a REAL game here??

The music is of the teeny-bopper variety featuring the likes of Christina Aguilera, Bob Marley, and Reel Big Fish. It's really suits the game perfectly, that cannot be denied. If this isn't your thing, the custom soundtrack feature of the X-Box can be used to blare whatever tunes you like. The girls high pitched voices will get one your nerves after a while, but it's something you'll have to deal with. Zack is voiced by Dennis Rodman in case you care, but he by no means adds anything to this already stale game.

The only way to describe this game is "virtual kiddy porn." The game hardly earns it's M rating with no nudity (except for a VERY brief scene in the games intro, but even then it's hardly noticeable). Barely any of the bathing suits reveal something more than you'll see on network TV. It doesn't even gain extra points here either. This is NOT a volleyball game. This is NOT gambling game. This isn't even a decent "dating sim." In fact, it's not much of anything.

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