Dealspwn Rating: 2/10
Developer: Team Ninja
Publisher: Tecmo Koei
Castigated from the start, and helped no end by that ESRB press release which alluded to the game’s sense of ‘creepy voyeurism’, Dead or Alive: Paradise received so much bad press long before its release that it seemed doomed to fail. It was, therefore, with the open mind and generous spirit instilled into me by a wonderful Easter weekend that I wiped my mind clear of all preconceptions and decided to see what life would be like as an extraordinarily endowed woman blessed with a fortnight-long holiday on a lush and verdant tropical island with a bunch of my bi-curious gal pals.
I have never written that sentence before in my life.
So I set off to New Zack Island as the famous Kasumi, wrapped warm in a coat of microscopic lingerie and mammary physics that would make Newton cry, ready to make some new friends, explore a lush environment of tropical wonder, and relax for a bit. I was pretty sure I was in for a fun time that had to be better than Butlins, right?
After witness an opening montage of perfectly rendered bouncing curves, women taking their clothes off and copious amounts of suggestive pudding sharing that unfolded in a CGI sequence that must have taken up some serious space, I was struck by a very important thing: this game is pretty hideous.
The graphics are not exactly brilliant. The beaches in the game all look identical, just with a random palm tree generator, the women themselves look like they could be melted down and made into Tupperware or computer chips, and the soundtrack quickly becomes irritatingly repetitive.
I ignored all of these things though, certain that such a lovely resort would have an abundance of things for Kasumi to do while taking a break from smacking the hell out of people. Indeed, there were a whole bunch of mini games for me to enjoy, like Blackjack in the evenings and Pool Hopping during the day. Of course, by ‘enjoy’ I mean ‘suffer’, and by ‘whole bunch’ I mean ‘handful’. New Zack Island suddenly makes me thankful for Blackpool.
But isn’t that what games are all about really? Stepping into the shoes of someone else, someone who’s not you? Well ,yes, but Dead or Alive: Paradise offers no escapism whatsoever by making everything as dull and lifeless as possible...with the exception of these characters’ chests. This is probably the worst supported holiday package I think I’ve ever seen, and I once flew XL. There aren’t any rewards, no goals or objectives, and an entirely arbitrary selection of items at the shop ranging from the obvious (swimsuits) to the useless and bizarre (encyclopaedia).
The volleyball mini-game – the closest thing this title has to something approaching coherent fun – is slow, sluggish, unresponsive, and the camera wants nothing to do with the ball, instead fixed on the swishing behinds of the cack-handed dolls involved. I use the word ‘dolls’ here because that’s pretty much what Tecmo’s message seems to be here, and it’s more than a little backwards.
On top of that, it’s difficult to argue with the tag of creepy voyeurism when it’s shoved so forcefully into your face with the paparazzi simulator. Essentially you’re handed an old-school camera and sent to take pictures of the women on the island for no other purpose than personal gratification. There’s no reward scheme or skill tree, it’s just like a weird safari, which says an awful lot about how far we’ve come in terms of gender equality.
Whilst I don’t want to generalise too much, there’s a much vaunted, and largely incorrect, stereotype of the exceptionally beautiful often coming hand in hand with the exceptionally vapid – something that often holds true for both genders. Unfortunately, Paradise plays right into that stereotype. If you took The Sims, gutted all of the good bits out of it, and spliced it with every single negative stereotype you’ve ever heard about Valley girls, this would be the result. I have therefore narrowed down the chief crimes of DOA: P in poorly representing women...
Five Sexist Lessons we learn from DOA: P :
- Beautiful girls are pretty much characterless: I defy you to find any distinguishing feature of any of these girls’ personalities that differentiates them from one another, and no I’m not talking about hair colour or boob size.
- Beautiful girls are shallow, materialist creatures: Okay, so Madonna already had this one covered, but DOA: P teaches us that the only real way to befriend a super hot siren is to buy her stuff.
- Beautiful girls have no imagination: On a tropical island the only thing that they can really think of to do is play volleyball, lounge around and pose for pictures, which brings us along nicely to...
- Beautiful girls will do anything to be on camera: There is no point to this part of the game apart from saving up images for some Alone Time. There aren’t any rewards, the pictures aren’t even graded, it’s just paparazzi training for a Who Can Produce The Most Ludicrously Crude Photo awards ceremony.
- Beautiful girls have enormous breasts that have minds of their own!
The latter point just serves to underline how truly ridiculous this all is. In fact, I wager that I would have found this game significantly more disturbing and creepy had I not been laughing so much to begin with at the frankly worrying level of mammary motion that was going on even when the characters were standing still.
This rapidly fades, though, to be replaced by a slightly sick feeling that would be more noticeable if I wasn’t so crushingly bored. This is a game that is thoroughly without merit as far as I can tell. Maybe there’s scope in here for it to be a virtual Swimsuit Barbie game for seven year old girls, but something tells me that’s not the case at all, and that such an assertion would actually be insulting to seven year old girls, none of whom probably own a PSP.
So who the hell is this game for? Is it for teenage boys who've just discovered what the lock on the bathroom door is really for? If so, it's incredibly disappointing and overpriced. Is it for pre-pubescent girls who want to play dress up with a virtual avatar? Maybe, but then why the back-breaking attributes? My own guess is that a few developers got a little too attached to their creations and wanted to create the equivalent of a virtual zoo. If you think that's insulting, wait until you play the game.
- The boob physics is hilarious
- The thought of people buying this is hilarious
- The thought of people getting caught playing this is hilarious
- No gameplay
- No progression
- No point
The Short Version: If you find yourself bored, sexually frustrated, and in need of some titillation and excitement then go and type 'porn' into Google. This isn't even a good game for giggling adolescents: the graphics are poor, the gameplay is non-existent and there's about as much point to this entire enterprise as a porous condom,If you get given a copy of this game tie it to a firework, set the firework off and film the explosive event. You'll have more fun and you'll be doing the industry a service.