If there is one fighting franchise that is known for its female cast, it’s Dead or Alive. Back in 2003, Team Ninja threw a curve ball into the mix and took their female cast and swapped out fighting in the street to opposing each other on either side of a volleyball net. The game was well received and a few years later a sequel was released featuring even more content and girls to dress up in a variety of skimpy swimwear. You would think that the series would have evolved further, some 13 years later, sadly.. it has not. It’s also odd that this game will not see a North American release, at least at the time of this writing, for a game that is nearly identical to one that came out over a decade ago.
Dead or Alive: Xtreme Beach Volleyball on the original Xbox features a cast of eight, while its sequel would add one extra girl to the mix. The entire fighting franchise features a female cast of almost two dozen characters, give or take depending on if you count Kasumi clones. So how many girls do you have to choose from here? Nine. I have to say I am extremely, or should I say, Xtremely, disappointed in the selection of girls to choose from given the variety in the series. Fan favorites like Tina, Christie, and even newcomer Mila are nowhere to be found. It’s possible that some of the girls could be added to the game via DLC, but it’s unclear about how importers will have access to that content given the restrictions on the PSN store, region wise.
The cast that did make it into the game are as follows:
- Marie Rose – 18
- Honoka – 18
- Kasumi – 19
- Ayane – 18
- Kokoro – 19
- Nyotengu – 1,018 (in human years..)
- Hitomi – 20
- Momiji – 21
- Helena Douglas – 23
Kasumi, being the face of DOA is a sure given inclusion, but how Hitomi, Helena and Honoka beat out Tina, Christie and Mila, is shocking to me. I am equally shocked at the exclusion of Lei Fang, another popular character. Newcomers Nyotengu and Momiji are wonderful to see here as is the addition of Marie Rose, who is not the typical well-endowed DOA design. Kokoro and Ayane are ok to see here, but overall the cast is pretty basic. The girls themselves look incredible and have a great amount of detail to them for a newly released game, but their hair looks like it was cut and pasted from 2006. When they lay down, their hair shutters and bends in unrealistic ways and it just looks off. What is impressive to see here is that the girls themselves can actually tan, and when you change their swimsuit after a while, the tan lines from the prior suit will appear. When the girls fall in the water, or sweat, they appear even more real, showing a real measure of quality texturing for the PS4. While the backgrounds are not revolutionary or anything like that, it’s an easy conclusion that anyone playing this game could care less about the environments. The Vita version features downgraded visuals, but is still a great looking game for the handheld.
As you pick your girl you’ll take them through a 14 day vacation. They can play a variety of games on the beach, poolside, or in the casino. As you win during those activities, you’ll earn Zack Bucks that you can spend in the shops to give them gifts like tanning lotion, drinks, food or get them into a variety of skimpy swimwear. The outfits here range from shirts and shorts, the typical two-piece or a variety of cleavage inducing bikini’s. The most talked about bikini from DOA Xtreme 2: The Venus Bikini, has been completely outdone here, its successor is quite ridiculous. You can gift other girls outfits and hope they like them, praying that they wear it the next time you pair up with them, or they may reject the gift entirely. The game has a relationship meter that builds up the more you interact with the other girls in the game. There is also a manager mode but it doesn’t offer much else here except for the addition of a photo mode. If you reach max relationship with a girl you’ll be treated to a dance scene at the conclusion of the 14th day, and this dance includes a pole. What is unfortunate and somewhat boring about these scenes is they almost all play the same and the uniqueness of each girl is completely gone, making me still wonder why the cast is so few.
The modes that will fill that 14 day vacation are sadly disappointing. The more active activities are Volleyball, Butt Battle, Pool Hopping, Tug of War, Flag Race and the worst of them all, Rock Climbing, which simply consists of just following on-screen button prompts, it’s just flat out boring and offers zero challenge. Butt Battle and Tug of War play almost the same as it just involves pressing left or right to cause your opponent to fall into the water. The PS4 version of the game will feature swimsuit malfunctions when the girl falls into the water, having a strap fall off the shoulder as the girl tries to keep her top on. The game doesn’t try to push this feature any further than a simple embarrassed look and her hand above the strap.
When the day turns to night and your girl is off to the Hotel, you can participate in the Casino games. Black Jack, Roulette and Poker is all you have access to, as the Slot Machines are nowhere to be found this time around. I half expected with the power of the PS4 to see the girls all sitting around the tables, but instead we get static face icons that represent each of the girls you will compete against. I want to say that the game offers the bare minimum here, but that may be giving them too much credit.
Dead or Alive: Xtreme 3 is all style and no substance, and despite the fantastic fan service on display, it is just a mostly boring title. The girls look great, move great and some of the modes can be fun for a while. The lack of any local or online multiplayer is a horrible design choice and one I just can’t wrap my head around. The cast of nine girls is also puzzling as many of the more popular girls from the series past are strangely absent. It’s hard to recommend Xtreme 3 as it doesn’t do really anything better than the already available and far far cheaper Xtreme 2. The element of seeing the girls in their skimpy outfits is fun for a while, but starts to lose its appeal as there just isn’t anything terribly interesting to do with them. The photo mode is alright, but once you’ve seen the same poses a few times it starts to wear thin. Overall, Dead or Alive: Xtreme 3 is just that, it’s fun for a minute, then the vacation is over.
Currently, Dead or Alive: Xtreme 3 is only available via importing. Keep in mind that only the Asian version has English menu’s as the Japanese version does not. I imported my copy through the website: Play Asia.