Guest Editorial by Tara Sophia (aka @HiddenTara)
What is DOAX3? Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 is the 3rd in a series of side games by Koei-Tecmo which exist in the Dead or Alive universe; which itself is a spin off from the Ninja Gaiden universe. (Yes folks this game is really that meta.) If you enjoy relaxing mini games, intense volleyball matches, playing dress up, taking pictures, and gift grinding then this game is meant for you. If you enjoy seeing the female body in all of it’s glorious, boob jiggling, butt bouncing, tanning, water dripping, polygon form, as well as being able to sticking a camera wherever you like, this game is also for you. (Different strokes different folks, no judgments here.)
In the Xtreme series various girls from DOA are invited to Zack Island for a wonderful vacation. From the opening scene Zack (one of the fighters in the Dead or Alive tournament) explains to you he has rebuilt the island after the events of Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 and that you the player are now in charge. Each vacation you select one of nine women & are given her introduction before your vacation begins. Once your vacation begins DOX3 is very much a, ‘choose your own adventure game.’ With Beach Volleyball, Flag Racing, Rock climbing, Butt battling, Tug-a-war, & Pool hopping. Along with a Casino for Poker, Black Jack, & Roulette. You can also have your picture taken, go shopping, & give presents to your friends. As an owner you are in the hospitality business so you make sure the patrons are happy. This can be achieved through completing various missions, watching activities, & gift giving.
DOX3 is designed for multiple playthroughs be it with whomever you like or repeatedly with your personal favorite. Every girl has her own personal taste & motivation. She comes with a unique set of swimsuits that only she can buy for herself or to gift to her friends. The variety of swimsuits is massive as is the level of detail. Each suit was custom designed to fit her body. She also has gifts she loves receiving & ones she’s hates, and she isn’t shy about letting you know what she doesn’t like! Overall I was very impressed with all the new suits, I especially liked the various cat-girls outfits. With suits ranging from a traditional one piece to more risky suits you would see at the beaches of Brazil, DOAX3 offers enough variety for all different taste.
Through the course of the vacation your affection with your partner will rise so she will be more receptive to accepting your gifts. (This is more an Eastern concept. Westerns will take almost anything as long as you use the word free.) At the end of the vacation if you have done a good job in making her happy you will unlock an ending scene. (This is achieved by obtaining an S+ Rank 100% satisfaction.)
The over-all graphic detail of the game is highly centered on the playable female characters. With an updated engine from Dead or Alive 5, DOAX3 offers even more, with a renewed focus on butt physics. You will get to see all the girls adorable ‘strategic butt coverings’ on an ass that jiggles the way it does in real life. The girls also tan & develop tan lines at an intensity never seen before in games. However, with so much detail focused on the girls I do feel the background environment is lacking in current year. The world may have scale but the pixelation & clipping of certain effects is disappointing. This is further carried over to the girl’s hair, which has the magic ability to go through seemingly everything they encounter. The world is also missing life. I realize the girls are the center of attention but more animals on a tropical island would have been a nice touch.
The music is almost nonexistent. A very small track list that is forgettable. Which is good because you hear the same tracks over & over again. I found myself turning the music off & playing Pandora. Gone are the days of the Original X-Box where you could have custom in-game soundtracks. While the reason for this is centered around copyright law, it doesn’t change the fact Koei-Tecmo cut cost by not paying for a proper score.
Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 also offers two End Game Features: Event Paradise & Pictorial Paradise. Event Paradise allows you to view the in game cut scene’s you have unlocked anytime you want with any swimsuit you’ve acquired. Pictorial Paradise which allows to watch all of the “relax” scenes in the game. I personally love the end game features & it made reaching the higher owner ranks totally worth it.
A new addition to the Xtreme series is of course micro transactions. These awful things are in all of our games these days & this is no exception. However, the good news is they are only for people who want to spend money rather than play the game. You earn all the in game currency you need to acquire every item with the micro transactions, just cutting out the time it takes to earn them completely. (i.e. You pay to avoid grinding.) Having played the first two though I can say the difficulty in acquiring the in-game currency is actually better in this game than the previous two. DOAX’s in-game currency has been capped much lower than the previous versions to discourage cheating, not encourage micro transactions as some reviewers have suggested.
That’s what Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 is, but is it any good? The short answer is yes. DOAX3 is unique gaming experience to the PS4 / Vita. It has provided me with dozens of hours of gameplay. (Over 60hrs at the moment.) I will be taking many more trips back to Zack Island to unlock new swimsuits, gift the ones I like to various girls & unlock all the hidden cut scenes.
I’m going to rate this game a B+ or (8.7 out of 10)
To me this rating means: High replay value, a quality product, & it delivers on what it’s selling.
Given all the controversy surrounding this game, who is DOAX3 not meant for? People who hate or are just uncomfortable with the female body, &/or people who just don’t want to spend top dollar on what could be summed up as merely a collection of mini games. There is one “Fan Service” event put in the game that requires a lot of work to unlock & that is the infamous, “pole dancing scene.” (It’s just dancing, no nudity and again it’s completely optional.) Pole dancing scene aside, I would say the target demographic for this game is actually teenage girls & young women. If you like Savvy Style Trendsetters you will probably really enjoy this game. And if you are fan of DOA & perhaps you liked the first two DOAX games you will most likely love this one as well.
It’s a shame that this game wasn’t released in the Western market. Thankfully Play-Asia.com was able to provide me with a review copy as well as setting a site record for most pre-ordered game. Considering the previous title, Dead or Alive Xtreme 2, sold twice as much in the USA than Japan, Koei-Tecmo undoubtedly missed a very lucrative opportunity.
Along with many disappointed fans of the franchise, another negative side effect of the game not having an English Dubbed Western release resulted in the roles of the 9 playable female characters being unavailable to voice actresses. And I personally would have loved to see Dennis Rodman reprise his role as Zack! The decision to not localize Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 is one that will discussed in gaming circles for years.
I hope you enjoyed this review you can find me @HiddenTara on Twitter. I recently started my own Twitch you can follow it here: https://www.twitch.tv/magicaltabletopgirls
For further analysis I will be comparing Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 to DOAX & DOAX2. If you want to know how it compares to its forbearers as well as in-depth game play mechanics then click here for my extended review: