Dead or Alive Paradise Review

By Paul Semel - Posted Mar 30, 2010

Featuring bikini babes playing volleyball and other games, Dead Or Alive Paradise should have been a sexy version of Wii Sports. However, with the games being both pedestrian and scarce, the objective becomes simply to take pictures of the aforementioned babes, making you feel like a boob if you play it.

The Pros
  • Has okay versions of Poker and Blackjack.
  • Volleyball is okay, too.
  • Won't distract you from more important obligations.
The Cons
  • Social and photo aspects are really creepy.
  • Not enough to do.
  • Uh, why is there no "Foxy Boxing"?

In these trying times, you could really use a vacation. Somewhere like a tropical island resort where you can lounge around the pool, do some shopping, and maybe play a little volleyball. Yet, no matter how long it’s been since you were anywhere warm and sunny, you won’t enjoy your trip to Dead Or Alive Paradise.

Dead or Alive Paradise

“Watch it Wiggle…”

When you first get to New Zack Island — which gamers last visited in 2006’s Dead Or Alive Xtreme 2 — you choose which of the lovely ladies from other D.O.A. games you’d like to be: Ayane, Hitomi, the one who always smiles at me but then, when I try to talk to her, kicks me in the face, etc. You’ll then meet another D.O.A. veteran who decides to be your BFF. She seems nice…that is, until she takes you to a local store and presumptively asks you to buy her a present, even enticing you with the promise of a “surprise.”

Now, had we woken up a few hours later, in a bathtub full of ice and a hole where our kidneys used to be, we might’ve remained interested. Instead, this plays like a weird vacation role-playing game from the makers of Girls Gone Wild. The objective is to get the other women to like you so they’ll let you photograph them in their bikinis.

And how is this done? Well, according to your BFF, “The best way to make friends is with gifts!” Seriously. Forget talking to them, forget getting to know them, forget anything with depth — like, say, a conversation system even remotely close to the one in Mass Effect — just buy them a bikini or some crappy souvenir and you’ll be best friends forever! It’s times like these I’m glad I’m not the father of a little girl. Granted, you have to make sure you give the right gift to the right woman, but since their likes and dislikes are largely spelled out for you in the “Guide To The Girls’ photo album, this is about as challenging as putting a square peg into a square hole.

Of course, to buy said gifts, you’ll need money and the best way to earn money is at the casino, where you can play perfectly competent versions of Poker and Blackjack. Neither of these are bad unto themselves; in fact, they work as well as the ones you downloaded for free onto your cell phone years ago. Which is the problem. Since you still have them on your cell, or could easily get them again, there’s not much motivation to play them here. There are also some slot machines, but since slots aren’t fun to play in real life, why would you want to play them in a video game?

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“See it Jiggle…”

Of course, there’s more to do on the island than playing cards and coercing women into posing for pictures they’ll regret later. The problem is, there’s not much more, and most of it isn’t worth your time.

There’s “Pool Hopping,” in which you jump from one small floating platform to another by tapping a button to hop and holding it down to leap. And since the platforms are marked with the same symbols as the PSP’s controls, you get bonus points if you match the buttons. This makes it twice as fun, which is to say it’ll be fun for five minutes as opposed to two and a half, especially since they left out any mechanism to challenge your balance-keeping ability.

Then there’s volleyball, which is the highlight of Paradise (though “highlight” is obviously a relative term). While it is fun, and there’s more to it than just hitting one button to hit the ball back — you can actually block, pass, spike, or make your teammate do the blockin’, passin’, and spikin’ — it’s still shallow when compared to other volleyball video games. Y’know, like the ones in Dead Or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball and Dead Or Alive Xtreme 2. Though since you can only play volleyball with one of the women you’ve befriended, the whole affair is sullied by having to do the creepy gifting thing.

If all this seems too strenuous, you can also just lounge around the pool or on the beach. You can even take embarrassing pictures of yourself, though you can’t strike a pose manually.  You have to wait until your woman does one on her own…which will be the longest three seconds of your life.

Dead or Alive Paradise

Somewhere, the Writer of the Jell-O Jingle is Crying

Oh, and it only gets worse, and not just because the ladies’ cartoonishly fake-looking boobs bounce around like they’re balloons that have been taped to dowels. When you finish your two week vacation — a struggle on par with beating Modern Warfare on Veteran, if staying engaged can be called “a struggle” — you assemble your pictures into a photo album and set it to music. Except the music in Paradise is the kind of cheesy, ’80s instrumentals you’d hear in the elevator of a cheap motel or during the sex scene of a Skinemax movie which, while appropriate, doesn’t make it any more listenable. Of course, you could just use whatever music is stored on your PSP.

Along the same lines, while some of the bikinis are sexy but tasteful, there are others — which consist of a choker, three tiny triangles, and some strings — that would make Joe Francis blush. I mean, really, why don’t they just throw in a wet t-shirt contest, a trampoline, and a mini-game where you have to flash your boobs in time with the music? Though considering how little there is to do here — this has far fewer sporting events than Xtreme 2 did — adding something, anything, would help.

Speaking of which, they left out one rather obvious activity: Foxy Boxing. Mud wrestling would’ve been too much, and pillow fights always end the same way — or so I’ve been told by Penthouse — but having the ladies duke it out with over-sized boxing gloves could’ve been entertaining.

Dead or Alive Paradise

And so is David Lee Roth

Unless you’re a real creep, playing Dead Or Alive Paradise will make you feel like, well, a real creep, not simply because you’re taking randy pictures of PSP-level pixilated babes, but because you spent money on this shallow excuse for a game. Like socks. Or a copy of Wii Sports Resort. The greatest problem facing Paradise is that, in the end, once you cut through the photography and tedious friendship process, the gameplay and entertainment value are as skimpy as the most risqué bikinis on display. Had the games been better and more bountiful, and the socializing/photography nonsense been left out, maybe this might’ve been okay. But as is, this is one vacation that’ll make you want to get away from it all.