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Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 (Xbox 360) - Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 (Xbox 360)
Ahem. Sorry about that. But once you’ve got past the slightly sad novelties of virtual voyeurism, you’re not actually left with much of a game. For a start, the two primary activities of your day – volleyball and jetski-racing – are both utterly unsatisfying. Beach volleyball has never been the most skilled or tactically sophisticated of games, but here it’s an undeniably limited affair, with only a few basic moves and most of your success or failure coming down to basic timing. Once you find an approach that works against one set of opponents, you can pretty much rely on it throughout the game. Of course, there is an argument that you don’t play the volleyball for its own sake, but for the opportunity to watch an attractively arrayed collection of polygons engage in an activity that pushes T&A technology to its very limits. All the same, couldn’t they have made it a bit more enthralling?
Jetski racing, meanwhile, is a huge disappointment. Team Ninja head honcho, Tomonubo Itakagi, has talked of wanting to pay homage to the N64 classic WaveRace, but if so his studio seem to have precious little idea what made their inspiration work. WaveRace seemed to catch the feeling of riding a small, inherently unstable craft on choppy seas, fighting the tide’s ebb and flow to maintain the racing line, while leaning skilfully to guide it round each bend. It had engaging racing against tough opponents, and fantastic, imaginative tracks that – at the time – really pushed the boundaries of what racing games could do. DoA Xtreme 2 gets none of this right – not the movement, not the water, not the competition. It’s like a poor Stars in Their Eyes rendition, and one that only makes you wish harder for someone to do a decent update of the real McCoy.
This leaves you with a few novelty activities – butt battle, tug-of-war, pool hopping, water-slide – which are spectacularly shallow, seemingly existing only to offer you more opportunities to ogle these digital beauties during activities that make their boobs wobble. Now, I’ve nothing against games featuring that sort of thing, provided my wife doesn’t catch me playing them, but my pleas of “I’m only in it for the gameplay” would be a little more convincing if I could muster even the slightest bit of evidence to back them up.
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