May 5, 2010

Dead or Alive Paradise

Filed under: Playstation — Tags: , , , , — Yukino @ 8:34 PM

Status: It will be years before I finish collecting everything, and I’m fine with that

Purchase Dead Or Alive Paradise from Amazon

Reviewed for GamingAngels – March 29, 2010

Repost of review:

Everything you’ve heard about the Dead or Alive Volleyball games is true, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been fun. Sure the girls have flawlessly perfect bodies, and yes, DOA breasts seem to have a special gravity field (or maybe lack thereof), but the relaxing vacation experience is really just as much fun for the girl gamers as it is for the guys. We just don’t take the game in a perverted manner, instead appreciating it for what it is, flaws and all.

At its heart, DOA Paradise is a portable version of Dead or Alive Xtreme Volleyball 2 with some tweaking. Select your favourite DOA girl and enjoy a two week vacation on New Zack Island chilling by the pool, kicking up sand at the beach, meeting up at the volleyball courts, getting a bit wet during a friendly pool hop competition, and gambling at the casino. There are no jet skis this trip, but that’s fine by me since I wasn’t a big fan of them in the first place.

Dead or Alive Paradise features all nine familiar faces from DOAXVB2, and introduces a new playable character: Rio, the black jack dealer from the casino. A Guide to the Girls has been made readily available throughout the game for your referral needs. Pay special attention to it, as it contains hints as to who is easier to recruit as a friend for your special lady, as well as clues to favourite colours, food and beverages.

The most important aspect of the game is still your interaction with the other girls on the island. You don’t want to be alienated during your fortnight of frolicking, so just make sure you spend your money wisely and earn it when you need it. Spending money on your intended girlfriend should be your #1 priority. Make sure you know what your girlfriend’s favourite colour or food is so you don’t get her the wrong thing and ruin a budding relationship and wrap it up nice and pretty. Is your partner into flashy, skimpy bikinis, or does she prefer a slightly more modest look? The selection is the Sports Shop changes on a regular basis.

There are three ways to earn Zack Dollars: Pool Hopping, Beach Volleyball, and Casino games. Volleyball is by far my favourite way, as I am flawless with the perfect serves (worth an extra 3000ZD each time) and the killer spikes (5000ZD). That way, even if I lose the match, I still walk away with enough money in my pocket to buy some accessories, treats or new balls. The Casino is fun, and if you are good at Poker and Blackjack, you might want to visit nightly. Slot Machines are provided as well but those are too much of a risk for my liking.

Once you have a decent bit of savings, you’ll want to hit up the Sports Shop to purchase bikinis and volleyballs. All of the classic looks are back and waiting for you to collect. I’ve barely made a dent in Lei Fang and Lisa’s closets at this point, and I know that probably a hundred hours will be needed in order to acquire a good portion. But that’s part of the fun of Dead or Alive Paradise. There is so much replay value and so many items to unlock in order to obtain the 100% character completions. Zack of All Trades has all of the random goodies like food and collectibles. And if you’re looking for some sunglasses or a flower for your hair, a quick trip to the Accessory Shop will help rejuvenate your look.

Dead or Alive Paradise features Venus Clips, glamour videos of the DOA girls dancing in the side, sitting poolside and sipping on drinks, sunbathing and several others. Each girl has over 150 videos for you to unlock. During Venus Clips, hitting the Right Bumper gives you access to your camera. Your camera allows you to take snapshots of your character or her partner and save directly onto your memory stick. On average, the pictures run between 100-150kb, so if you want to take several photos, make sure you have enough room. After you complete your first 2 week stay on the Island, Private Paradise becomes available. Here you can string together your favourite Venus Clips and create a Paradise Flick for your personal pleasure. Snapshots taken and saved on your memory stick or hard drive are saved in a SCREENSHOT folder and can easily be copied over to your computer for uploading. Now all my favourite shots of Lei Fang and Kokoro can be combined to create a super awesome desktop background!!

One of the best features from the previous volleyball games is the Radio Station and having the ability to import your own music. DOA Paradise also offers this function, and any music you have in your MUSIC folder (excluding subfolders) is automatically added to the playlist. Since there are only seven tracks included with the game, I highly recommend adding some music to your memory; the playlist starts to annoy quickly if you don’t.

So after reading through all of this you are probably wanting to know what I think of the game? Does it offend me as a female gamer? Is it really as creepy as they say it is?

If you follow me on Twitter or have been on GamingAngels long enough, odds are you will have seen me speak about my love of the DOA franchise. Dead or Alive is my guilty pleasure and I will never apologize for my love of the people behind the fighting and volleyball incarnations. So yes, I enjoyed the game. Having a portable version that I can take on take on trips or play while my husband is using the TV is great. Each vacation can run between 2-4 hours depending on how you run through it and what you are trying to achieve each time. And since I play for the completion, I’m sure this will be another 80 hours and up addition to my sorely lacking PSP library.

Now let’s get down to the “creepy voyeurism” accusations. Due to flack from certain gaming sites, Tecmo Koei decided to run with an advertising campaign insinuating what certain types of gamers might intend to do with a portable game such as this. Let’s face it, this isn’t new news, and every Dead or Alive game has been criticized for the unnatural boob physics and the hotness of the girls. There have been rumoured cheats that allow for the girls to be naked in the Volleyball titles, a line of real bikinis for your girlfriend inspired by the closet of DOAXB, and giant body pillows you can cuddle up to at night. So yes, why not capitalize on all the pre-conceived notions to sell your game? I still don’t find this creepy. Instead I feel sorry for those gamers who will be playing this because they are socially awkward and have issues talking to real women.

However, there is another market that plays the game for what it is: virtual Barbie dolls. Its all about playing dress up and getting your virtual DOA dolls to like each other. Most girls (including myself, even though I have been a tomboy forever) have had Barbies or fashion dolls as children. We wouldn’t be caught dead doing that now, so Dead or Alive fills the space in gaming for big girls who want to collect and swap outfits in the digital realm.

To my sisters in the DOA sorority, Paradise is well worth the $30 for our on-the-go entertainment. We are no longer tied down to having to play in the privacy of our homes. We are free to show our DOA love by plane, train, bus, dogsled, camel, horse, or whichever means of transportation suits you best. Let’s collect every possible bathing suit, attempt to get Ayane and Kasumi to partner up (yeah, we know it’s impossible, but as females we won’t ever stop trying!) and post our favourite screenshots for all the world to see.

To the male readers of this review, please use DOA Paradise responsibly!

“Review product was provided by Tecmo Koei and does not affect the outcome of this review.”

Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2

Filed under: Playstation — Tags: , , , , — Yukino @ 8:25 PM

Status: Further than I did in the 360 version, but not completed
Trophies: 12 of 51
DLC Purchased: None

Purchase Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 from Amazon

Reviewed for GamingAngels – Oct 2, 2009

Excerpt from review:

Having played (and been stumped) by the original version of Ninja Gaiden 2 on the 360, I decided to give the Sigma version of the game a try. Traditionally, the Sigma and Black versions of Ninja Gaiden have been near impossible to play difficulty-wise. Yet, knowing this full well, I find myself enjoying the latest Team Ninja had to offer me.

Some people will laugh at me. “Ninja Gaiden isn’t that hard,”  they’ll say. Well, let me tell you, as some one who is not the best and hack & slash-esque titles, even playing this on easy is more difficult than most other games in this genre. Add in the fact there are a couple new bosses and you have one female gamer mashing buttons like crazy trying to take out the Black Spider Ninja Clan who have been pestering Ryu Hayabusa for so long.

Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 is going to require some install room on your PS3, so make sure there is a little more than 3.25 Gigabytes of space open for it. The install itself took my 60gig system about 10 minutes to load to its memory. (Yes, you will still need the game disc in order to play!) While the game puts vitals on your harddrive, you are treated to a voiced over version of the comic that is included in the Special Edition booklet.

We open to see the Black Spider Ninja Clan attack Special Agent Sonia and Muramasa in his shop. Ryu shows his face, and its time to whoop some evil ninja butt. The control layout is very similar to the 360 version. X is your jump function, Square and Triangle are your light and heavy attacks, Circle throws shuriken and is your interaction button (opening chests and using the save and shop totems), with L1 as your block button. As you progress, you will also pick up ranged weapons which you will be using the L2 and R2 buttons to utilize. Wielding your katana and making sure to block, you will quickly find yourself discovering new abilities and techniques, acquiring some easy Trophies for your collection when successfully learning them.

As you chase after the Black Spider Ninja Clan and the elusive Elizebet, not only will you learn new moves, but you will also locate various weapons for Ryu’s arsenal. My personal favourite is the Lunar Staff, but there are many other types of blades you will find. Each weapon can be upgraded at Muramasa shops that have the blue light shining beside them.

You will also find yourself traveling the globe in pursuit of the mysterious Elizebet, who is in possession of the Demon Stone stolen from your village. You will be battling against the Greater Fiends as they transform various locations such as New York City into Fiend Realms, as well as Genshin, leader of the Black Spider Ninja Clan, and others who have sided against you.

Some very powerful female characters are included in Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2. Other than the evil Elizebet, we are treated to a newcomer in the Dragon Shrine-Maiden Momiji, the dangerous yet beautiful Ayane, and Rachel the Demon Hunter. These three women are available to play during Team Missions mode, once they have been unlocked.

Team Missions mode allows you to play over the PSN with another player or team up with an AI partner and reach certain goals. Available partners, weapons and skills are all determined on how far along you are in Story Mode. There are a few simple rules for this mode:

1) Items cannot be accessed during this mode
2) Weapons and Ninpo cannot be switched once the mission has begun
3) If you cannot save your team mate in time, or you both die at the same time, the mission is over and you will have to retry

In comparison to the Xbox 360 version of the game, Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 is very close to the original in terms of music and graphics to what I recall. I will say, the design team has tightened up the overall look of the game, and the redrawing of the characters to make them look more adult is a big bonus. I much prefer the new look for Ayane as compared to her usual babyfaced DOA (Dead or Alive franchise) style.

I have only had two issues with the game. First off, the game requires you to be signed into your profile in order to play. While I understand that it wants access to your profile so that it can keep the leaderboards updated, it is not to the player’s advantage if there is an internet issue in your neighbourhood which is keeping you from playing your game. As for my second issue, I cannot be for certain it is the fault of the game itself or if it has to do with the latest PS3 firmware update. I have experienced “black outs” on the screen during boss fights and randomly at other points in the game. I will be playing and the game will pause momentarily, hitting a black screen for a few seconds. It does come back, but always throws me off when it does so.

The last is not so much an issue as it is a slight annoyance. When acquiring items such as technique or notebook scrolls off fallen bodies, I’m noticing it takes about 10 seconds after I hit the Proceed button to return to gameplay. Exiting from Muramasa’s Shop also has this problem. I don’t recall so much of a lag with the 360 version of the game.

Overall Opinion:

If I was to choose between the 360 and PS3 versions of this title, I would have to call it a draw. While this is a bit easier than the first version, it also has the drawbacks of requiring an install and the minor lag issue I noted. That said, this is still an incredibly fun game. The blood has been toned down a bit to a more realistic level than NG2 but that really does not detract from the game. I do give this version a slight plus over the 360 edition purely because I have been able to play it for a much longer period of time. I’m sure that has to do with the fact I am finding it easier to play on Acolyte mode. Team Ninja’s Sigma edition is not nearly as impossible as Ninja Gaiden Black (thank goodness!) which makes it less of a chore to go back in and take another go at a boss that stumps me. If you have less patience than I do (and trust me, sometimes I have very little), then this game is not for you.

May 3, 2010

Dead or Alive Xtreme 2

Filed under: Xbox — Tags: , , , , — Yukino @ 6:19 PM

Status: This is the game that never ends
Achievements: 0 of 46
Gamerscore: 0/1000
DLC Purchased: None

Purchase Dead Or Alive Xtreme 2 from Amazon

I bought this based on the fact that it is a fun, casual and silly game. The achievements are insanely hard to collect so I don’t really mind that I haven’t unlocked any yet.

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