IGN Review of Dead or Alive Paradise
When the original Dead or Alive: Xtreme Volleyball debuted on Xbox, it was able to rely on the horsepower of the system to sell the seriously disproportionate babes as attractive women that you creepily leered at as they sprawled out on the beach. On PSP, it's a different matter entirely. Thanks to the insufficient hardware and small screen size, the ladies in Dead or Alive Paradise come off looking like shambles of their former selves (though the wonky boob physics are certainly intact). That'd be fine, but the fact that the mini-games feel robotic and lack any online infrastructure to expand the experience beyond what's offered on the UMD condemns this one to purgatory.
The story of Dead or Alive Paradise really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things, but the designers at Tecmo did take a stab at offering some sort of narrative. You choose one of ten Dead or Alive vixens who then travels to New Zack Island for a two-week stay. Once you arrive for your tropical getaway you're offered a handful of core activities: there are three casino games (blackjack, slots and poker), you can snap photos of the ladies as they lounge around, you can play volleyball, there's the mini-game of pool hopping and there's the slightly ancillary and wholly arbitrary gift giving between your character and other island goers.
It might sound like there's plenty to do, but the monotony of switching between island locations, loading screens and short and not-so-sweet activities gets stale quickly. It might help if the island's provided entertainment was delivered in a functional and, more importantly, fun way. The volleyball feels robotic and slightly unresponsive and the voyeur-style photography isn't as heart pounding as it ought to be given the poorly constructed candy you're supposedly gazing upon. The best activity is pool hopping, but it's short and requires too many loading screens to provide sustainable enjoyment. The trio of casino games doesn't amount to much at all and the gift giving feels too much like a failed social experiment with artificial intelligence.
The one concession I will make is that pre-17 year olds might be able to find a guilty pleasure in Dead or Alive Paradise's naughty nature and ridiculous boob physics. I could certainly picture young high schoolers gathering together and ogling at the PSP screen's newfound curves thanks to DOA Paradise, but that in no way makes this a good game. Perhaps if you could have created your own girl and then traded gifts with your friends online, but nothing of the sort is included.
I might be singing a slightly different tune if the in-game character models weren't quite so jaggy and featured more overall detail or if the loading screen wasn't quite so prevalent. The sound doesn't help at all as cheesy techno tracks on repeat populate the menu screens. Dialog is limited to the usual high-pitched celebratory exclamations that turn grating in a hurry.
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