When I first learned about the Dead Or Alive series, it was while perusing the pages of Electronic Gaming Monthly Magazine; the editors were openly salivating at the overtly 'jiggly' nature of the female fighters in the game. This was a few years back when the first game hit the arcades and was then ported to the Sony PlayStation. Unfortunately, I thought myself too mature and mindful of societies' degradation of women to even look at such a game, let alone play it, so Dead Or Alive 2 is my first real experience with the game. It's amazing how years later and after countless self-proclamations of my maturity, I am kicking myself for not indulging in a Dead Or Alive game sooner. If I had ignored the bouncing breasts back then - although I will admit up front it would have been hard - I could have been having as great a time with an excellent fighting game as I have had the last week while playing Dead Or Alive 2.
On Chi's summation that Dead Or Alive 2 is deficient in challenge for the solitary player and lacks even remotely deep storylines, I must to agree. Dead Or Alive 2 is definitely a game to be played with a friend or two to get the most enjoyment out of it. Another negative that only became apparent after a few hours of playing was the fact that its modes of play begged for more replay value. Granted, Tecmo offers a pretty decent share of modes with the Team Battle Mode (up to four characters are chosen to battle to elimination) and Survival Mode (you take on as many challengers as you can with only one bar of energy), which are in addition to those Chi mentioned. Unfortunately, few of these modes will hold the attention of someone playing at home by him- or herself.
I strongly agree with Chi on the strengths of the game. The characters move about with amazing fluidity and even when I was pulling off the myriad of counters and reversals, everything appeared to be pulled off without a hitch. In fact, the grapple and reversal system is remarkably easy to get into and despite the lightning speed of the action, all the movements merge seamlessly into each other. The backgrounds are also beautiful, although not nearly as detailed as those in Soul Calibur, and the fact that each level is multi-tiered could probably explain the lack of detail. On top of that, the character models are some of the best I've come across while playing. The shapely women are modeled with curves in all the right places and the guys are similarly treated with curved musculature and subtle facial expressions. While playing you will be constantly amazed by the level of polish and effort that obviously went into the game.
In all, I'd have to say that Dead Or Alive 2 has given its core fans what they wanted and, at the same time, provides more than enough to pull some new followers (like myself) into the Dead Or Alive universe. Yes, there are still the jiggling breasts and scantily clad women, but Tecmo was never shy about that being a selling point to grab pubescent boys to their game (since the early days of the original arcade game). And while I can't completely defend the women in the game, unlike other games on the market that feature heroines plucked from old Russ Meyer movies, Tecmo has taken the time to improve on the gameplay, animation, sound and everything else that made the series a cult classic. And I believe the result is deserving of a less critical eye this time around.