Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 (also known as DOA Xtreme 2, DOAX2, or simply Xtreme 2) is the 9th installment in the Dead or Alive series, and the second title of the Dead or Alive Xtreme sub-series, first released in November 2006 for the Xbox 360. Developed by Team Ninja and published by Tecmo, it is the plot-sequel to Dead or Alive 4.
Like its predecessor, Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball, Xtreme 2 is heavily weighted towards item collecting, building friendships through gift exchanges, and the depiction of the Dead or Alive women in various swimsuits, both on and off the beach. The title expands upon the activities available in the original, supplementing beach volleyball with additional beach and pool-related mini-games.
Taking place after the events of Dead or Alive 4, Zack and Niki resurrected "Zack Island" from the depths of the sea, where it was buried following a previous volcanic eruption. Re-dubbing it as "New Zack Island", Zack once again invited the girls from the Dead or Alive Tournament for a holiday, and they all arrived for different reasons.
In Dead or Alive Xtreme 2, players are able to play as any of the nine female fighters currently present in the series. Each girl in the game has certain items and hobbies which she likes or dislikes, and these preferences influence her reaction upon receiving a gift. Characters also have an individual favorite color, again affecting their like or dislike of a certain item (and the wrapping paper used to wrap it). The playable characters are:
- Kasumi, a beautiful nukenin ("missing shinobi") who rejected her future role as the head of the Mugen Tenshin clan to avenge her older brother, Hayate. She came to New Zack Island upon hearing that her brother was there, even though she wondered what he was doing on a tropical island.
- Tina Armstrong, the American Women's Wrestling Champion and a supermodel. She came to New Zack Island to escape her over-protective father, Bass. Tina has been friends with Lisa since her school days.
- Hitomi, a young girl who has dedicated herself to mastering karate. After hearing that the new Dead or Alive tournament would be held at New Zack Island, she vowed to make up for her loss in the previous tournament and left straight away.
- Helena Douglas, a rising star in the opera world. She has come to see Zack about rebuilding her corporation DOATEC after it was destroyed by the Mugen Tenshin clan.
- Leifang, a genius who grew up in an affluent home. She is looking forward to a vacation at New Zack Island. Leifang is friendly to all, but she feels a strong sense of rivalry with Tina.
- Christie, a cold and heartless woman who is perfectly suited for her job as an assassin. Rumors say that she came to New Zack Island to carry out a super secret mission, but the truth remains a mystery.
- Lisa, a young scientist who used to work at DOATEC as the lead researcher, but lost her job after DOATEC was destroyed. These days she keeps busy with her subsidiary business. Lisa also used to play volleyball for her school.
- Kokoro, a young girl who spends her days training to become a geisha under her mother's watchful eye. She came to New Zack Island without her mother's knowledge.
- Ayane, the leader of the Hajinmon sect of the Mugen Tenshin clan and the younger half-sister of Kasumi. She has followed Kasumi all the way to New Zack Island. Ever since their youth, Ayane has had a complex relationship with her sister.
- Niki, the woman who has been Zack's girlfriend since the third tournament. She appears meek but is rumored to possess a strong willed side to her personality.
- Zack, the man behind the resurrection of New Zack Island. After getting the Pharaoh's treasure from a pyramid in the last tournament, Zack used his newly acquired billions to pull Zack Island up from the sea and rebuild it as New Zack Island. He is still head over heels in love with Niki.
For a list of Xbox 360 achievements, see: Achievements (DOAX 2)
Much like the original, Xtreme 2 features a two-week vacation mode, where the player can indulge in a variety of activities. Each day is broken up into four segments - morning, afternoon, evening, and night - where players can perform a single activity during each.
Partnership & Friendship
The game puts a strong emphasis on friendship; the player (playing as one of the women) must befriend the other girls by buying them gifts they enjoy from the various stores on the island. Doing so will increase the bond between the two girls.
If the friendship between the two is at a sufficiently high level (represented by floating icons next to the girls portraits on the text boxes during conversations; the quicker they flow, the stronger the bond), the girl can be convinced to become the player's volleyball partner. After this is done, players must then ensure that the bond is kept strong to avoid the partner subsequently abandoning them. This can be done by giving additional gifts, spending time with the partner, and winning games together (or in same cases, letting the partner win against you).
When a new player starts the game for the very first time, they are given a tour of the island by Lisa, who automatically becomes the default partner. From that point forward, any new vacations which are taken (without making use of the optional tour) will begin with a random girl approaching and requesting to become partners, although the player can refuse them if desired.
Players can bestow swimsuits as gifts to other girls, regardless of whether they are the current partner or not. However, the more revealing a suit is, the harder it is to get a girl to accept the gift. Again, players must ensure that the friendship level between their girl and the target girl is very strong to avoid having the gift returned. It is fair to say that the successful gifting of swimsuits is the main point of the game, as well as the most frustrating, as every achievement involves holding a certain complete collection (or several collections) of suits.
The former "main event" from Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball, beach volleyball is once again present in Xtreme 2. Similar to the original, players must have a partner in order to compete in a two-on-two, 7-point match. The gameplay has been modified from the previous game, to make the game slightly more difficult and to add variety. While there are still only two buttons necessary to pass/block and to bump/spike, greater manual control is required as, unlike the original, girls will not automatically maneuver themselves into the best formation. Players earn bonus Zack Dollars, the in-game currency, by performing "perfect" serves, and spikes, and by knocking over opponents.
The offline, two player "Exhibition" mode from the previous game has been removed, forcing those who wish to play against other players to do so via Xbox Live. In the online mode, two players can compete against each other, each having a computer-controlled partner.
In the Marine Race game, the girls race against one another around a track on watercrafts. The game can be played either offline or on Xbox Live. The gameplay has often been compared to that in the Wave Race series.
While racing, players earn "turbo boosts", which give them a substantial, but temporary, increase in speed, by navigating around bouys. Players can earn Zack Dollars by winning the race, jumping ramps, and by performing tricks. The latter has led to an exploit where players can choose to lose the race, and simply navigate the track indefinitely without finishing, pulling off tricks to earn cash. The more races played, the more tracks are unlocked and made avalible for play.
Pool Hopping was changed from the previous game; no longer a solo event, the player must now race against another girl across from one side of a pool to another by hopping across red, green, blue, and yellow floating pads. The winner is the one who makes it to the other side of the pool first.
To successfully hop to the next pad, players must conduct the correct jump; tapping any face button results in a short jump, holding it results in a long jump. Making a incorrect jump results in the girl falling into the pool, and automatically losing the race. Pressing the button that corresponds to the next pad's color - e.g. for a red pad - results in bonus points being earned, which in turn meants more Zack Dollars after the race.
Beach Flags is a mini-game which is simple in nature, but can be quite difficult and frustrating when playing. The idea is that two girl must race along the beach, and try to be the first to grab a flag stuck in the sand at the end of the track.
It requires the player to repeatedly press as fast as possible in order to reach a flag at the end of the beach before their opponent does. To successfully grab the flag, the player must not only be fast, but also correctly judge the distance before pressing to "dive". If the player is too slow, drives too early, or overshoots the flag, they lose automatically. False starts also result in an instant loss.
Also dubbed the "Hip Battle", Butt Battle challenges the player to knock their opponent off a floating pad, into the pool, only using their character's backside, before the same can be done to them. There is not much strategy put into this game, and it is played in a similar fashion to "Rock, Paper, Scissors", in which the player must correctly guess or deduce the opponent's next action and respond appropriately.
The main controls are done by the left analog stick. Pressing forward does a small bump, while pressing backward then forward performs a stronger "power bump". However, due to the timing of the power bump, the player is exposed to attack themselves. The player can try to side step an opponent's bump by pressing "Up" or "Down", though the timing takes a lot of practice. The first person to win three rounds, wins the game
Tug-of-War is very similar to the Butt Battle in the manner in which it is played, by correctly guessing the countering move of the other girl. Just like traditional tug-of-war, two girls hold onto one end of a rope each, and pull in order to make their opponent fall off their floating pad into the pool, and lose. The girl who wins three rounds first in the winner
The two main options is to "Fake Out" the opponent by pressing forward on the left analog stick, or to pull, by pulling back. If the player fakes out while the opponent pulls, they will start to lose balance. The only way to gain back their balence is to repeated press .
Water Slide involves the player's girl successfully sliding down a long water slide at high speeds on a rubber ring. The basic gameplay revolves around keeping the girl from falling off over the sides of the slide as it twists and turns.
Holding the stick to either the left or the right will turn the ring in that direction. Holding the stick forward will speed up the ring and conversely, holding the stick downward will slow it down. If the player leans the wrong way, or puts too much speed into a turn; or not enough speed; the girl will fall off the course and will be disqualified.
Similar to the original, the game features a casino, where players can visit during the evenings. Once there, they can partake in several games, including poker, blackjack, roulette and play on a variety of slot machines, each one themed after one of the women.
By betting the maximum amount and hitting the jackpot when playing Christie's slot machine, the player unlocks sequences of her performing a pole dance in the casino. After nine jackpots in a row, the player is gifted with a "Secret Ticket" the next night, allowing their chosen character to perform this dance in a swimsuit of their choice.
Developed exclusively for the Xbox 360, Xtreme 2 runs on a heavily-modified version of the engine used in Dead or Alive 4, allowing for new inclusions such as self-shadowing and new cloth simulation techniques. The Marine Race mini-game, however, uses a completely new physics engine, although with similar graphics.
Instead of relying on a single game mode, Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 contains a number of different sub-games. Starting with an list of 42 different mini-game ideas, a total of 7 games actually made the final cut.
During the development process, creator Tomonobu Itagaki stated that he would not be adding activities like trampoline games and Wet T-shirt contests to the series, indicating that he felt that this would come off as vulgar and "show the women in a negative light". Ironically, the game still includes pole-dancing.
On an interview to Spong.com, Itagaki said the following about the minigames:
"I think that there is a bit of misunderstanding in terms of the smaller mini-games, like the Butt Battle and Tug-Of-War. This is all kind of coming from a... tradition if you will... a series of TV shows in Japan where you had bikini models, athletic competition where you'd have bikini models doing those kinds of things. It's almost kind of a joke, a throwback to that, something to make you laugh. And so, maybe in the U.S. there wasn't that kind of TV show, that kind of culture, so maybe people sit down and looked at those mini-games and studied them seriously as a real game, but that really wasn't our intention when we put them in."
As well as the gameplay tweaks from the original, various cosmetic modifications were made too. For example, the female characters' individual breasts now have their own "physics." This allows each breast to behave differently, although this has been criticized for making the breasts move in an exaggerated fashion (i.e., they often continue moving for an unnaturally long time after the character has stopped moving; and sometimes one or both breasts will freeze in mid-bounce.)
Additionally, the game adds a new "tan line system", in which swimsuits realistically block tanning; for example, if a girl wears a one-piece for a while, then changes into a string bikini, the outline of the one-piece is still seen on the girl's skin until she tans again. Changing swimsuits frequently will prevent tan lines from appearing.
Gamertag glitch and patch
There was a glitch in the game whereby players could abuse the Gamertag sign-in/sign-out system to "undo" undesirable event outcomes. Because the game state information is stored with the Gamertag, signing out prevents data from being stored. In this way, players could exploit the delay between when an event happened and when the system recorded it.
Primarily this was used with roulette, where players would place a large bet, and in the event of a loss, simply sign-out to revert the bet. This could also be used with gift giving, where a gift would be offered to another girl, and in the result of a rejection, one could quickly undo the attempt.
Tecmo released a patch for the title through Xbox Live on December 14, 2006. Other than fixing the Gamertag glitch, the patch makes several changes to the game, including increasing the winnings on several events, fixing a character interaction problem with one of the in-game locations, and adding access to an online store, the "Crystal Boutique".
- See: /Production credits
After its release, Xtreme 2 received a Metacritic score of 53 based on 46 reviews, most of which were mixed in opinion. In its online review of the game, TeamXbox.com stressed that while Xtreme 2 has impressive graphics, multiple activities to choose from, and nice artistry, the game is simply not fun to play. On a scale of 1 to 10, the reviewer gave it a score of 6.7; TeamXbox.com gave its predecessor a much higher score of 9.2.
Other online reviews like IGN and 1UP.com share similar opinions; they thought the game has not improved from the original Xtreme, stating that they are too similar for most people's likings. It was also pointed out that a large amount of the girls’ animations were taken from the original title and just simply tweaked to fit the new game engine.
Reviews also suggest that the added mini-games, including the Butt Battle and Tug-of-War, are based highly on luck, relying on an arbitrary button press to counteract what one thinks one's opponent is going to do next. The changes to the camera of the volleyball portion, that were meant to fix problems from the original, have apparently made it significantly more difficult than before.
Certain reviews criticize the new breast physics; often breasts bounce independently when running or moving and continue to bounce even when the character is still, resulting in awkward sequences. One reviewer at IGN indicated that watching the breasts made them "seasick." A reviewer on Game Informer criticized how the female characters were portrayed, stating that they didn't act like real, mature women at all, and that "there’s something disappointing about the way these hypersexualized characters are portrayed as childish, vacant, silly, and vain."
The review from GameSpot summarizes the sentiment of most reviewers with its conclusion; "while the sheer yardage of well-produced virtual skin will make it an appropriately guilty pleasure for some, anyone actually interested in playing the game will no doubt be disappointed."
- Footage from this game was reused for some web advertisements for the browser game League of Legends.
- Team Ninja's development of this game, and to a lesser extent the Xtreme series as a whole, was given a tongue-and-cheek reference in the April 2007 "April Fool's Day" cover for Game Informer that jokingly claimed that Team Ninja would work on the next Metroid game, which depicted Samus Aran, various Metroids, and Ridley in various bikinis (despite the latter being male). Ironically Team Ninja did in fact end up working on Metroid Other M.
- The game was rated PEGI 12 in Europe, lower than the first game which is arguably less explicit lacking the pole dance among other elements, and also lower than the later Dead or Alive Paradise, which is overall the same in terms of content.