Outlaw Volleyball

Outlaw Volleyball

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DEVELOPER: Hypnotix   |   PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster   |   RELEASE: 07/09/2003

Summer is finally in full swing and there is no better past time than heading to the beach to gawk at the lovley ladies in their minimal attire. The sun is hot and the games of summer are even hotter and this is truly evident in Hypnotix’s latest game in the “Outlaw” series. Outlaw Volleyball takes the crude humor and intuitive game play that made Outlaw Golf an underground classic and revamps it for yet another sport. Find out why the girls of DOA should be gleaming with envy as we delve into one of the best surprises of the year with Outlaw Volleyball.

The Beauty Of “Summer”
When I see a game that was developed for the XBox I expect nothing short of spectacular in the visuals department. OV is indeed no exception, gorgeous character models, smooth frame rate, and all the usual XBox touches apply to Hypnotix’s latest entry and are more than appreciated. The girls are buxom and the guys are chiseled (well some of them) but the point is this game looks friggin’ amazing. The array of courts are also nicely detailed such as Stinky Falls chock full of XBox water with great reflection mapping and superb textures to boot. There is not much to bitch about when a game looks this damn good.

Casino, Rally, Hot Potato!
OV is not just another pretty face either, it is chock full of deep game play and rock solid controls. Easy to pick up and get a quick game on and deep enough for hardcores like myself to truly get a challenge out of. The meat of the game is the Tour Mode. Here you will travel to different courses playing six different matches each with certain rules and restrictions. These challenges never get repetetive but once you amass a few victories the AI will start to learn your techniques and counter them wisely. The game never became frustratingly difficult, the game ramps up the challenge just enough each round to keep you striving for perfection. Some of my later matches could last over an hour and became very intense in the long haul.

For those only interested in playing with others OV does not leave you out. Alongside a great multi-player mode that can be played with your closest friends this game also supports XBox Live. The one downside is that you can only play against one other person online, you can however take a friend online with you to whoop ass co-op style but remember so can your opponent. Online is very smooth with little to no lag and the competition is grand. Trash talking is so much fun and I cannot wait until a certain “other” console supports it fully. Still not enough? Well the team at Hypnotix has promised tons of downloadable content to keep the game fresh and from what I hear the first installment could be ready as soon as next week! Overall OV delivers something for everyone, even if you don’t particularly care for the sport.

Spike Or Die!
Earlier I mentioned the game was easy to pick up and play so perhaps I should explain how this game works eh? Well you have your four basic attack each mapped onto the face buttons. A is for bumping and spiking, B is for lobbing, X is for an aggressive return, and Y is for blocking a spike from the other team. The right trigger is used for your turbo meter (I will get to this more in a few) and the left trigger is for switching characters on defense. The white button will instigate a fight before a serve and the black button will bring up a help menu. You of course move your player around with the left analog or the d-pad and you control the direction of your bumps, sets, and spikes with the right stick.

Now if you followed all of that let me get back to the turbo meter. This is used to move around the court at breakneck speeds as well as serving up super spikes. Your turbo meter refills faster depending on your momentum. Momentum can be gained one of two ways, you can either make a great play which will refill it gradually or you can start a fight with the other team to steal some of theirs. Just make sure they have any worth stealing before instigating a fight, oh and make sure you don’t lose heh. Fighting is pretty basic and much deeper than Outlaw Golf. You have two attacks, a block, and a special move at your disposal, use them wisely to steal your opponent’s momentum thus refilling your turbo meter much faster. OV also allows you to upgrade your player via drills. Consisting of each basic manuever in the game with four levels of difficulty. You can earn more drills in the Tour Mode so be sure to keep your character upgraded as much as possible.

I’ve Never Been SO Excited About A Serve…
So it looks good and plays great how does it sound? Honestly would you care if it sounded like complete ass? Me either but thankfully OV does the sound department almost as well as it’s other aspects. Veterans of OG will certainly recall the hilarious antics of the players in the game and while he became monotonous after a while the announcer had a few witty comments of his own as well. OV follows almost the exact same formula which can be looked at as good or bad depending on your taste. The new character chatter is fucking hilarious, the reactions sometimes have me pausing the game to catch my breath I am laughing so hard. The music is a good mix but I prefer my personal mix of custom soundtracks for this summer action. NOFX, Foo Fighters, and some Finch certainly round out the sound department nicely heh, too bad I could only drag around 100 tracks into the playlist. The announcer once again is great but you hear him repeat lines very early on. It reminds me of Madden football games, he always has something good to say he just says it way too often! Minus the repetition of the announcer this game has audio style

Game, Set, Match!
Well as I close this LONG ass review I am reminded of why I started this gaming site. Games like these that keep me playing till morning hours trying to beat just one more level. Never frustrating to the point of quitting but always striving for perfection. It seems the guys and gals at Hypnotix are the same way, one great game followed by another and nothing but signs of improvement. Nearing perfection OV takes it’s spot at the top of my summer purchase list and is an early contender for alternative sports game of the year. More fun than a barrel full of Britney Spears’ (ok maybe not but damn close) this game is more than worth your 50 bucks. Very highly recommended.

Ken McKown
Ken is the Editor-in-Chief of this hole in the wall and he loves to troll for the fun of it. He also enjoys long walks through Arkham Asylum and the cool air of Shadow Moses Island. His turn-ons include Mortal Kombat, Metal Gear Solid and StarCraft.

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