Title: Dead or Alive Paradise
Developer: Tecmo Koei, Project Venus
Game Type: PSP
Download: 571 MB
NA Availability: Digital Download
EU Availability: Digital Download
PSTV Support: Yes
There have been many cases in the past where franchises have tried to dive and experiment in other genres. If you think about it, try to think of a few examples where a series that is one genre attempts to make something in another. On the Vita, you can think of at least a couple. Silent Hill branched out into a Dungeon Crawler RPG with Silent Hill: Book of Memories. Hyperdimension Neptunia did something similar, experimenting with Idol Simulation with HDN: Producing Perfection. Many of these games aren’t well-received by their fanbase, but there are many developers testing out different genres with their games.
One franchise that I’ve not seen do this so much is the fighting genre. When you’ve got games like Marvel vs Capcom and Street Fighter, you rarely see a game in the series that isn’t a fighting game. Fans of the series may also be a little skeptical at buying one of these games if it isn’t a fighting game. Would you buy a turn-based RPG with the Street Fighter label on it? Some would, though others would have just wished for another fighting game.
Dead or Alive is one series that has tested and branched out with different genres in the past. First on the Xbox consoles, and then on the PlayStation Portable. Taking its selection of fighting babes out of the fighting genre, a PSP game came out that was very far from it and I’m not sure even has a genre to what the game is. A remake of Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 on Xbox 360, here is our official review of the PSP game, Dead or Alive Paradise!
The story of Dead or Alive Paradise takes place on a resort island known as New Zack Island. The island was created and is run by the DJ Zack, a character that has been around since the original Dead or Alive. He creates the island to be the site of a 2-week getaway vacation for all of the girls. The plot begins as he creates the island and the girls arrive to take part in their 2-week vacation.
All in all, there’s not a lot of plot to be had with this game. Throughout the game, you will see dialogue as you go about this vacation, but there won’t be a lot story filler to be had outside of just interactions between the girls as you play through each day of the game. The game is more for the gameplay and the mini-games than a plot.
The game’s genre is hard to define, as there isn’t really a genre for what this game is. The game has you progressing through a 2-week vacation while performing in various mini-games. Some of these can be in the Sports genre, while others can be put into a Gambling or “Casino” genre, and others considered more of a Photography genre. If there is such a genre just as “Mini-Games”, then that is what this game can be considered.
When you start the game, you can choose one of 9 girls to play through the game with, from Kasumi and Helena to Lisa and Tina, and a guest character, Rio, that can be unlocked from the Pachislot franchise. After you choose your character, you begin going through the game, on a day-by-day basis. Once you are let loose onto New Zack Island, there are various areas and facilities that you can visit, such as the Shop, Casino, Radio Station, Pool, Beach, and more.
The main facilities are the Shop, Casino, and Radio Station. The Shop can be used to buy accessories, which are mostly Swimsuits and Accessories. These can be used for your own character, or can be wrapped and gifted to other girls that you can meet and pair with on your vacation. Each girl likes certain types of suits and wrapping colors, so you will need to choose wisely to ensure that they appreciate your gift.
The Casino is an area only accessible during the night, where you can participate in various gambling mini-games to try to increase your funds to buy from the Shop. This area has a few different games you can play, from Slot Machines to Blackjack. Each of the Slot Machines are different and identified by a different girl, though you may use any machine you want to bet a certain number of money and run the slots to see if you can win. The same can be said of the other games, betting certain amounts of money in the hopes of getting more money back. Finally, the Radio Station can be used to change the background music you hear as you play through the game.
The other areas are where you can interact and mingle with the other girls. Each area has its own special mini-game, like playing Beach Volleyball at the beach, or playing Pool-Hopping at the pool. Every area, though, has the option to pair with whoever is there and be able to dress them in various suits and enter photo sessions (that look similar to those from Pokemon Snap) to save pictures of them as well as unlocking various movie clips of them posing during these photo sessions.
Being able to do things with girls requires you to have a certain Affinity level with them. Some of the girls will pair with you from the get-go, while others will refuse until you’ve increased their affinity towards you. You can increase that by giving them gifts that they like. Once the affinity is high enough, they will agree to pair with you to join you in other areas or in the various mini-games during each day. Get their affinity high enough, and they’ll start giving you gifts as well. If you have trouble gifting, you can view a “Guide to the Girls” in the game to help you with gift ideas.
The way the game has turned out has ended in it getting a lot of criticism as during all of these mini-games the girls are in bikinis and there is notable jiggling breast and butt physics built into the game, which is something that has nearly always been in the Dead or Alive games. Many consider the game soft-core pornography and worse. While the game does have a lot of “eye candy” regarding the swimsuits and the camera angles, the more interactive and fun parts of the game we found was the casino, itself. The focus of the game is, however, on looking and taking pictures of the girls as they play all of these games.
All in all, this isn’t a long game. A single play through the vacation with one of the 10 girls can take as little as a few hours, with having more added on if you want to collect all of the clips, shop items, as well as unlocking and playing through the game as Rio. But it’s not a long game, in any regard.
Controlling this game is very easy, as a lot of the mini-games don’t require a lot of interaction. The only game that requires you to actually move your character throughout an area is Volleyball, which is pretty limited in and of itself. One thing to note is that the game will alter its control scheme, depending on what type of system you’re playing on. If you’re playing on a Japanese Vita or PlayStation TV, X and Circle will have their roles reversed. The on-screen prompts for these will also change.
The Menus can be navigated with the D-Pad and selection an option can be done with the X button. To cancel an option, you have the option of using the Circle button. The mini-games will be a combination of the D-Pad, Left Analog Stick, and the other buttons. Volleyball uses the face buttons, while the Photo Sessions will utilize the R button to snap pictures of the girls.
All in all, the control scheme is very easy to learn. If you ever forget, though, there are on-screen prompts and guides to put you back on track. But, all in all, it’s a very easy control scheme to learn.
The visual presentation is one of the biggest things that is hurt by the transition from the PSP to the Vita. When you’re displaying the game, there will be a lot of jagged edges and pixels around the character models of the girls. While the environments aren’t affected as much, there is clear degradation of the character models of the girls. If you’re wanting smooth models like in Dead or Alive 5 Plus, then you should check out some screenshots (or the video in the above sections) before you make your purchase.
Other than the visuals, the game plays pretty well. The load times between areas and games is only about 4-5 seconds and everything runs smooth without any lag to be seen. Everything from the slots rolling to the beach ball flying across the net runs quite well.
Dead or Alive Paradise is: Decent
Dead or Alive Paradise is full of just mini-games and doesn't really have a special genre to it. While these are fun, the game's presentation was considerably hurt on the transition to the Vita and PSTV, the game doesn't have a lot of depth, and many will be turned off from the clear "eye candy" focus of the game.