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.”
(Reviewed for GamingAngels – March 29, 2010)