First Impressions: Next gen jiggle physics ? boo-yah!
I've been mulling over how to introduce this preview but eventually came to the conclusion that you really only need to know three things: babes, bikinis and boobs. ?Nuff said.
Yes, the sequel to the blatantly cheeky Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball is getting ready to hit the Xbox 360 and cause a huge spike in cold showers across the globe. Developer Team Ninja and Lead Designer Tomonobu Itagaki took a risk when they put their lovely DOA ladies in a sports/party/relationship game where the primary appeal was watching them jump around in skimpy bikinis to show off their gravity-defying breast physics. Critics called it shallow and sexist, but in reality, the game was surprisingly deep and fun. DOA Xtreme 2 is looking to not only give us more of that sweet, sweet eye candy we all know and love, but also significantly enhanced gameplay to further prove the series has true substance and is not just about sexy style.
Needless to say, the next gen sequel looks stunningly beautiful with incredible shadow, water and wave effects, silky hair and cloth physics, smooth motion-capture animation and of course, bouncy boobs. The game's renowned breast physics are now more lively and exaggerated; in fact, they bounce around like huge water balloons (must be the saline implants). It looks totally unrealistic and a bit comical, yet is overpoweringly mesmerizing. Mmm ? boobs?
Ahem, anyway, you can thank the powerful DOA4 engine for the graphical goodness. Perhaps the most interesting new technology (other than the hypnotically buoyant boobies) is the tan line system. Yes, the swimsuits will leave oh so tantalizing tan lines, but constantly changing the girls' swimsuits will leave them line-free ? a good thing to keep in mind for those characters who prefer the natural look (hint: Ayane and Helena).
There will be a total of nine ladies, each of whom will have 300 unlockable swimsuits ? which adds up to a whopping total of 2700. Since most of the Achievements are tied to unlocking swimsuits, Achievement hogs will have a ton of work cut out for them.
While the bathing beauties get all of the attention, the underlying gameplay has been given many improvements. There will be two game modes, Arcade and Vacation. Arcade mode will let you play any of the seven mini-games described below, all of which appear deceptively simple but are promising to be quite deep and challenging. As fans of the original know, the gameplay won't necessarily be a walk in the park. Team Ninja wants gamers to be challenged, which shouldn't be surprising coming from the makers of Ninja Gaiden, one of the most challenging games ever.
The core 2v2 beach volleyball game will be a bit more realistic with enhanced serves, blocks, bumps, setting and spiking that will require good court management and sharp timing. The AI has been given a defensive boost so expect a lot more blocking. Perhaps the biggest improvement is with the camera, which won't swing around nearly as much as before. Volleyball is one of two mini-games that you will be able to play over Xbox Live (there is no split-screen) but only against one other player, with both of you accompanied by an AI teammate. Apparently, Team Ninja tried four-player volleyball but found it was too complicated and so had to settle on this format.
On the surface, this is just a simple foot race to a flag where rapidly mashing the Run button makes you go faster. However, it won't be as easy as it sounds; first, you will need a near-perfect start because hitting the Run button before the start will automatically disqualify you, while a slow start will make it very difficult to beat the AI. To make things even more challenging, you will have to hit a Dive button at just the right moment to grab the flag.
Think of this as a belly-bumping contest in reverse ? and with hot half-naked ladies instead of drunken fat guys. The premise is simple: stand butt-to-butt with your opponent and try to bump her off a floating platform with your bodacious booty in this not-so-subtle best-of-three contest. You will have two attack and two defense moves: your fast Weak attack will be your main move, requiring several successful bumps to knock off your opponent. Your Strong attack can bump your opponent off in one try but will leave you dangerously open for a counterattack if you miss. Your defense moves include dodging from side to side and a feint that helps open up a counterattack. Yes, it sounds silly but after seeing it in action you'll probably start petitioning to make this an official Olympic event.
This is Itagaki's homage to one of his favorite games, Nintendo's Wave Race 64. This won't be a simple arcade racer, however; the incredibly beautiful waves will realistically affect your jet ski's handling, so getting hit from the side will nudge you off course, hitting a wave head-on will slow you down, and riding a crest will help you speed up. Needless to say, this means you will have to constantly make steering adjustments and shift your weight around to smoothly navigate the course.
Each race course will have slalom flags floating in certain areas but you don't have to thread them if you don't want to. However, successfully threading the flags will give you an additional Nitro boost, which is a five-second burst of triple speed. Each player will start with two Nitro boosts but you can add as many as you can during the race.
It won't just be about who finishes first, however. You will earn Zack dollars depending on your finish placement but can also earn big bucks by pulling off stunts and tricks, the most impressive of which can be performed by jumping off ramps. This means that you can finish a race dead last, but still earn the most money if you complete plenty of cool stunts. Best of all, up to four players can compete head-to-head over Xbox Live.
The platform jumping game from the original returns but with a challenging new twist. As before, you must race across floating platforms by jumping from one to the other, but this time each platform is color coded to match the appropriate face button on your controller. To jump, you must hit the correctly colored button; not only that, you will also have to account for distance since the platforms will not be spaced evenly; a short jump only requires a quick tap while holding down the button will perform a long jump.
Tug of War:
This one is pretty self-explanatory; both players stand on floating platforms and try to pull their opponent off. It won't just a simple button-masher to see who can pull first, however, since you will also have a feint move and can recover your balance.
Little information has been released about this one but it seems fairly straightforward; you slide down a wild and twisty water slide, most likely while trying to hang on for dear life and perform quick maneuvers to increase your speed.
Vacation Mode is just like in the original, where you try to build a relationship with each girl by discovering her likes and dislikes, and then buy her appropriate gifts to earn her favor. As your relationship grows, you will unlock better swimsuits with dramatically less coverage ? which is, of course, the goal of any relationship. Shelling out a ton of money to buy gifts is unfortunately also a part of any relationship, so you will need to earn your scratch by playing the mini-games or gambling in Zack's casino, which has grown to include blackjack, poker, roulette, slots and several other games of chance. Speaking of which, the casino will be a lot more lively thanks to the new ability to play against the ladies and other characters.
The key to making the ladies like you is to learn about their personalities. In the original, this was often frustrating with the moody ladies getting mysteriously huffy and ticked off when you gave them something you thought they would like. Hey, you can't fault the realism! However, this is an escapist game and so the ladies' moodiness will be toned down and their personalities will be a bit easier to read. This is not to say things will be a breeze, however; you will still have to pay attention to subtle clues and work hard to build up relationships.
The Viewer is a special mode that will allow you to create custom videos for your own personal ogling pleasure. Simply choose your girl, her swimsuit and up to seven action scenes ? ranging from seductive lounging to swimming, running, jumping and other activities that cause copious amounts of jiggling ? that you can string together. Then play it for your friends and watch their eyes bug out.
As well, for the first time the lovely ladies will be able to speak English. However, purists will be happy to know that you will be able to switch the voiceovers back to the native Japanese if you like.