Dead or alive... yeah, y'all know how the game goes. It's like any other fighting game: You pick a character, you press buttons, and you kick ass. That's how it's supposed to be. But then someone had to go change that: Dead or Alive Xtreme had deviated from its fighting game roots in favor of some sexual fan service to its fans. While it may seem like a disappointment to the hardcore fighting fans, many appreciated this nice change of pace (after all, 50 Cent did tell us to 'go 'head and switch the style up, and if they hate it, let them hate it, and watch the money pile up') and bought the game anyway, making bank for Team Ninja.
Now, when I first saw this game, I had to be like what, 13-15 at the time, and I definitely loved the fighting game Dead or Alive 2 (or 3, I can't remember), but I wasn't about to go ask my mom to buy me this game, so I let it past. I did however played it at my female cousin's house (apparently it was ok for her to have it) and I saw that it was a pretty chill game: Not amazing, but it was worth more than any bargain bin game. In fact, if I was 17 when Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 came out, I would've bought it... good thing I wasn’t because that game was NOT worth the weird looks, but I would've bought it at least.
Now, Dead or Alive is at it again with Dead or Alive Paradise, a game on something that was more 'secure' to play on. I mean, seeing as I'm only in high school (senior year bitches), I still live with my family, and seeing as how we're lower middle class, I share a room with my brother, so when I heard of an Xtreme game going for PSP, something that I can have privacy with, I pretty much had to play it. And after being embarrassed buying it at a local Best Buy (you try buying one of these games in front of females and parents when you look 14 when you're really 18...), I finally had my chance. Now, after going so far and waiting so long to play it, was this game 'something I'm missing (paradise?')... Or was it anything but?
Story and Presentation
OH WOW, IT HAS A STORY!? Yeah, that's what I thought at first, but it's definitely anything but; Suppose fully, Zach found some way to raise his Island from the ocean in order to open up his resort... AGAIN. And every girl from the Dead or Alive series (the beautiful Kasumi, the Cowgirl Tina, the badass Christie, etc) is back... AGAIN. Yeah, there really is no story... and would you have it any other way? I mean, let's be honest, you're really only buying this game for 3 reasons only:
-You're a HARDCORE Dead or Alive fan.
-You like disproportioned boobs that jump up and down
-You bought it as a joke... Which involves boobs.
So since the girls are the only thing worthwhile here, we'll just skip all the way to the presentation. Well, if first impressions is anything, then this game starts off somewhat nicely with its CG cut scene (that they stole from DOAX2) of the girls showing off their goodies, but then when you hit the title screen, the first thing you hear is probably the last thing you want to hear: The English voice acting. Now, I don't like to diss on whether or not an anime is better with Japanese voice over or American voices, but when someone who prefers English acting is saying that the voice acting is terrible, then you know something is messed up.
Seriously, when I read through the manual (yeah, I read the manual) and saw the list of voice actors, I at least thought it would be decent with names like Karen Strassman (Kallen from Code Geass) and Kahl Wahlgren (Kagami from Lucky Star), but no, it sucked... big time... and not the kind of sucking you would want from this game (if it seems like I'm being too sexual with this... come on, what did you expect reading a review like this?)
Heh, she's riding Moby Dick... not funny? Ok...
(PS: Took this pic myself)
Anyway, once you switch the voices over to the Japanese, you can start the vacation as your favorite girl. You start the game by taking a quick tour around the island with a random partner to learn the basics of it" How to buy items, how to send gifts, and how to take pictures. However, the first thing you notice while on the tutorial is that the backgrounds aren't exactly backgrounds.... they're more of being a backdrop taken from DOAX2... and they are horrible compressed at that. I mean, the game itself has to resize and refocus the picture when it's loading up the shop: It doesn't look good when you're waiting for the shop, and it's definitely ain't much better once you do. And seeing as how you are looking at these screens a lot... Oh man...
But at least you won't have to deal with the music if you don't want. Smartly added to take advantage of the PSP's ability to play MP3, you can import your favorite tunes to this game and can listen to it instead of the game's soundtrack (which is decent enough, but really, bring your own music). I do admit that there is some complaints, like having the game trying to recognize the MP3 files, but even when they do, they usually play the same songs over and over again even with Shuffle turned on, and you can't pick any MP3 song to play on the spot (although you can choose when, where, and what to listen during the day). Still, this is one of the few recent games I can remember that can do something like this; especially since last gen you could've done it while playing Madden or Burnout Revenge, so beggars can't be choosers.
Took her forever to give her that damn swimsuit
(This one also)
But just because the beggars can't be choosers doesn't mean that the girls won't be: Aside from the mini games (that I'll get into), there's also a gift giving relationship game thing here: For a girl to be your partner, she needs to like you, and for that to happen, you need to buy her stuff. Sounds simple right? Wrong... SO WRONG. Apparently, no girl will accept a cruddy gift no matter how much you paid for it unless it's gift wrapped with their favorite color, and even then, if they don't like the item, they'll send that bitch right back to you. What the hell? What's even worst is that you aren't even told what the girls like besides their favorite food, drinks, and color, all from the handy (and yes, that's sarcasm) in-game guide that takes forever to load. I'll be honest, I can forget important vital information in just under 3 seconds, so when I have to sit for like 12 seconds for the guide to load to remember something so insubstantial, I'd already forgotten why I'm there, and if I do remember, I pray that I'd remember it 12 second from now so I wouldn’t have to come back.
I guess it's not fair to fault the game because I ain't good at remembering stuff, but that's because this game doesn't help out players like me. I mean, sure, I'd write down information on the girls, but there is none. You aren't told what each girl likes unless you played the fighting games. For example, if you finished Dead or Alive 4, you'd know that Hitomi likes to cook, so a gift you can give her is cooking items like lettuce and ovens. However, what about girls like Christie and Lisa? You aren't told what they like, and the games don't even help you. Yeah, I know that Christie is an assassin and that Lisa is a wrestler, but I'm not exactly gonna find poison needles and lucha masks in the store now am I? I mean, we are at a resort after all...
But if we're at a resort, then how would we get money? Well, well you don't earn money per se, you earn Zack Dollars or whatever by playing the various minigames Beach Volleyball or Pool hopping.... that's it. Surprising right? Well, in all that's fair, you can unlock two more games (Beach flags and butt battles... from what I hear), but these are hardly worth unlocking. I mean, really, even the Pool Hopping sucks enough as it is, so why would you want two more sucky mini games? Really, the only game you'll be playing is Beach Volleyball, which is actually done quite nicely: No longer being moved by the computer, you now have control of your own character.
(I took this as well)
This is pretty cool because now volleyball has a tiny bit more depth into it: Stand in the wrong spot and you'll pay for missing the ball, but stand in the right spot and you can stay in the game. Gameplay is broken down into two buttons: One for passing and lobbing the ball, and one more for spikes and hits. You're basically trying to anticipate the opponent's moves and position and try to take advantage of it by pressing the right button at the right time. It's pretty fun once you realize how to play: If you're standing at the top right of your court (from the camera's eyes, not the players) and there's no players there, it makes sense to spike, but if you set up the ball and the opponent tries to spike it back down, you can lob the ball instead, making a fool of the other girl. It's pretty fun playing this game, and even more fun to see that there's little glimpses of commentary (like characters that complain when you suck and celebrate when you do); The other games simply have a win/ lose commentary.
The other games like I said are Pool Hopping (which is pressing buttons that match the mats, which is harder than it looks since you have to hold the button for distance... if you just press it, your character's gonna fall in the water), Beach Flags (which is a timing/ button mashing mini game), and Butt Battles (which should be a rock paper scissors kind of thing), but since they all suck and give you the least amount of money, they should just be ignored. After all, you only have 3 things to do in a day: The days are separated into 3 times (Morning, Day, and Afternoon) and you can only do one thing per section (shopping and moving around don't count) like play a game, giving a gift, asking someone to partner up (and possibly being rejected), or just relaxing.
Now, why do you wanna relax for? To take photos! I mean, that's actually why I got this game: I always wanted to be a creepy stalker when I grow up, so why not try it out here? You can to follow a girl around with a camera as she relaxes in the pool or walks around the beach... it's creepy, yet fun and addicting. After all, there are 15 clips for each girl, but since you can imitate your partner, you can share clips among the girls, which means you can collect all the clips, which makes the thing even more addicting. In fact, I even took some of the pics you're looking at in my review, so lucky you! Now, I'm not a pervert, so I didn't try to zoom in on any girl's boobs or butt (and FYI, you can't), but my biggest problem in the game is that these clips don't even last 30 seconds. If you don't have the shot by 25 seconds, the game cuts off the clip and you just wasted a section of the day.
Better have lots of clips set up, as each barely lasts 20 seconds
But it beats wasting money. After the 3 sections of the day, the 4th section, the Night, is probably the one you'll be spending the most time in: You can head into the casino to play blackjack, poker, or just hit the slots, while you can gain the most money during this time of day, you can seriously lose it all too. I'm not kidding, the game must be rigged. For example, one time, I was playing Blackjack, and the girl Rio got a 16 while I had a 20, so she had to hit (It's that rule thing, I dunno, I play virtual blackjack) and she got a 5. WHAT!? That's BS and you know it (this would've sounded much cooler if I made a video review... dammit). Overall though, this is all optional, and you can still make plenty of money playing volleyball, so I guess it all evens out.
Well, just before we end this, I wanna talk about a few things. First of all, the PSP is not a powerhouse: It has the power of the PS2, but it definitely doesn't have the power of the 360. That being said, if you come in expecting the girls to look like they do on the box, you are going to be seriously disappointed. I mean, the faces are all pixilated, the details are scarce, and they move pretty oddly too. And if we're talking about anything moving oddly, I'm going to have to mention the boob physics: I know that each boob is supposed to be separate, but two things: One, don't tell me that when a girl jumps, her left boob goes up while the right boob goes down, and two, boobs aren't supposed to move 5 seconds after the girl stops. Seriously, I remember trying to take some pictures, and her boobs actually ruined the shot. Damn it all.
I also wanted to clear up things about this gift giving thing: While I did have some interesting points (like needing a girl's bio), through trial and error, you can eventually get a girl to accept practically the right gift, and eventually your favorite kind of swimsuits and accessories (like hats and bracelets), and your reward is her friendship, which isn't useless in this game. For one thing, I lost a friend about halfway through the 2 weeks, and I couldn't play volleyball until I had one. Another reason for having a friend is that you can share clips among the girls, like I said, but you can also unlock things like that: I heard that if you unlock 99 percent of EVERY girl's venue clips (what they are called), then you can unlocked the ultimate slot machine, which can be used to unlocked a pole dancing minigame (although you can find that on Google or something). So technically, it's not a waste of time to do it, but it's definitely justified to hear the negativity of the aspect.
(I took this one too)
Finally, despite all that I said, I think I honestly enjoyed this game. I mean, I did laugh a lot about how seriously stupid the game was, but then again, it's a pretty decent game (which means that you're going to hate my score) but honestly, if you're into games like these, it's definitely worth picking up. I am disappointed that there's no multiplayer at all, but there's plenty of things here to keep you busy: buying all the accessories, swimsuits, and unlocking all the clips and pole dancing will definitely take people at least 30 hours, if not more. So all in all, it's a pretty decent game.
Graphics ---- 7.5
-Trying to put 3D models in the PSP is always hard, but when you're trying to put ATTRACTIVE ladies on it, you better damn well do the job right, and sadly, this ain't even close to what the PSP can do. The physics can be wonky, but at least you can laugh at something
Sound ------- 6.0
-The soundtrack is pretty decent, but the English voice acting is terrible. Sure, you can opt for the Japanese voices, but then again, you rarely hear characters say anything other than a few phrases, so it's not like it'll kill you. Plus, the ability to import tracks is greatly appreciated, and is this game's saving grace from getting an F in sound.
Controls ----- 7.0
-The controls ain't good for this game: Volleyball lags a little so it's hard to accurately be on the spot when you need to be, and pool hopping will take you at least a couple of tries to get it right.
Fun Factor --- 7.5
-There's actually a pretty fun beach volleyball game here, and while it's a niche thing, taking photos and unlocking swimsuits and stuff is pretty fun. I do wish that there were some more mini games, even if they were scaled down, and there's absolutely no excuse for it here.
Final Verdict - 7.5
-To recommend this game to you is like asking you to eat a peanut butter and banana sandwich: some people like it, some find it ok, and some people are too repulsed by it to even try. Now, this game ain't the best you ever played, nor is it the worst, so if you got 30 bucks and nothing to spend it on, you might as well give it a try. If anything, if can last you a while.