When the first DOA Xtreme launched on the Xbox some years ago many were left puzzled as to just what that game was all about. Sure it is chock full of gorgeous ladies plucked from the halls of the DOA fighting games jumping around in nothing more than a series of dental floss inspired bathing suits, but what was the overall purpose of the game? For those that spent the time to learn what the game was about learned quickly that it’s all about collecting and relationships. The game is based on obtaining all the swimsuits in the game and learning to play nice with the other girls on the island.
Now that Team Ninja has decided to grace the Xbox 360 with a sequel you may be wondering what they have done to up the ante. Unfortunately this time around all you get is a new collection of mini games and some sharper visuals. Outside of that you would be hard pressed to convince anyone that you were playing a completely different game on a newer console.
Once again the game drops you onto Zack Island for a two week vacation full of basking in the sun and playing all sorts of mini games to earn what are called Zack dollars. You can then use this currency to purchase new items and swimsuits in one of the many stores found on the island. Just like the previous title there are literally hundreds of different outfits in the game for each girl so collecting them is a very time consuming endeavor that will keep you playing for a very long time.
Earning money in the game is basically the same as the previous incarnation. The quickest and easiest way revolves around the volleyball. Not much has changed since the first game. The setup still consists of two buttons, one for spiking and returning the ball and the other for bumping. The camera angle has also not been fixed which leads to many missed returns because it is difficult to tell where the ball is headed.
Aside from the volleyball you have a few returning games as well as some entirely new one to spice up the variety. The biggest addition is by far the Jet Ski racing. Think of it as a watered (no pun intended) down version of Wave Race complete with a trick system. While not nearly as deep or as fun it does add a nice diversion from the mundane tasks of some of the other games. The biggest downfall though is lack of courses, unfortunately there are really only two to three variations of each track and after a couple races they all start to mesh together.
The rest of the new additions are pretty useless and honestly not much fun after the first couple of play throughs. Both the butt bouncing and tug of war are basically the same game with different animations. You can choose two separate attacks in hopes of knocking your opponent into the water and the first to three wins. The water slide is more of a trial and error affair because of the shoddy camera system. Many times you will fall off the side and fail because you couldn’t judge the angle just right. The biggest drawback of all of these though is that once you fail the ride is over. There is no option to try them again and with a lack of multiplayer on most of them the fun wears thin fairly quickly.
All of this would be paramount if these new games actually garnered anything in the way of cash. Unfortunately you will learn quickly that the best way to earn money in the game is by racing or volleyball which makes these other additions not worth the effort of even trying to get better at them. Top that off with a lack of multi-player and they simply become useless additions that you will likely play once and completely forget. On the other hand you can engage in both racing and volleyball over Xbox Live so learning the ins and outs of these games becomes crucial and once again makes the game very transparent and repetitive.
The casino has also made a return but sadly remains mostly the same affair. You still have the option of playing blackjack, roulette, poker, and slots, but to be honest it still feels exactly the same. Once again you will never see your opponents in any of these games which take away from the main appeal of the title. Instead you are presented with icons and horrible acted out dialogue to represent each player. This aspect of the game could have been fleshed out much nicer by adding a table where the ladies are visible in perhaps some new evening wear, but alas this area of the game is best for simply earning more money, which seems to be the main theme of the title.
Visually the game is a mixed bag for the most part. Team Ninja has an uncanny ability to make their characters incredibly detailed and this game is no exception. Each girl is extremely detailed and with the addition of independent “jiggling” perverts all over the world can jump with glee. The team has even added in the ability for your girls to develop tan lines based on their swimsuits in the game. Leave it to Itagaki and company to think of every little detail and nuance. The only complaint you can see with the models is when their hair is down, you can see some serious clipping issues, but for the most part everything else is gorgeous in every aspect.
What is lacking though is the presentation of the game itself. From the clunky menu system to the low res pics of the shops when you first enter them the game isn’t aesthetically pleasing to the eyes when it comes to the presentation. Most of the locales are recycled from the past game and you are still limited to very small portions of the island. This game has potential to be so much more than it gives you and it would be nice just to have the ability to venture around the island a little more instead of spending most of my vacation staring at menu screens. You do have the ability to take photos of all the girls, which feels more like a Maxim photo shoot, but it actually displays all of these photos in the end credits which is a nice touch.
For anyone who played the first game the music in DOAX 2 will be a blast from the past. In fact many of the tracks have been recycled for the second outing which will have Xbox users scrambling for the custom soundtrack button faster than a nerd pulls his pants up when being caught by his mother playing this game. Seriously the songs found in the game may be relaxing to some, but I could really live without someone wanting to know “How Crazy Are You?” every five minutes. This time around Team Ninja has included both an English and Japanese voice track for the ladies which I suggest you switch to Japanese as soon as you get the game, otherwise you will be subjected to bad accents and repeating comments for the duration of your vacation.
In the end the game will once again be a love or hate affair. If you enjoyed the original then there should be plenty here for you. If you despised the first game there is nothing that is going to change your mind with the sequel. For those of you who simply want to stare at unrealistically proportioned females jumping around a beach with hardly any clothes on and performing sexual innuendos at every turn, then by all means grab a copy of this game and live out your fantasy with the DOA girls. Those looking for depth and a meaty game steer very clear as DOA is all about the visuals and spending quality time with imaginary women. Personally as much as I enjoyed the original this one just felt like too much of the same thing for me to suggest laying down 60 bucks for the sequel.