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Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Sports

 

Publisher

Simon & Schuster

 

Developer

Hypnotix

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

July 2003

 

 

- An honest-to-goodness beach volleyball game
- Good control
- Multiple viewing angles
- Great assortment of characters
- Some RPG elements
- Online play

 

 

- Commentary gets dry too fast
- AI too often pulls off miracles

 

 

Review: DOA - Xtreme Beach Volleyball (XB)

Review: Beach Spikers - Virtua Beach Volleyball (GC)

Feature: Top 10: Best Cleavage Part III

 

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Outlaw Volleyball

Score: 8.7 / 10

 

outlaw volleyball xbox review           outlaw volleyball xbox review   

 

I didn’t receive too many irate emails when I awarded Tecmo’s DOA Xtreme Beach Volleyball a score of 7.0. Although I praised the graphical achievement, I had problems with the actual volleyball, which was easy to pick-up but shallow. Or skin deep, as it were. Outlaw Volleyball (OV) concentrates wholly on beach volleyball.

Like Outlaw Golf before it, OV has the veneer of being an “extreme” game without substance. The characters are outlandish stereotypes – for both male and female characters – and the action is somewhat exaggerated, but it still manages to be the only “pure” beach volleyball game on the Xbox.

You begin with only for characters available – all ranked “D” for Dookie. (There are 16 off-beat characters.) You don’t have to, but repeated trips to the Drills area lets

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you boost your player’s stats – speed, power, defense, offence – and those of your preferred partner, and gives you a fine handle on the controls and different moves available. The skill points allow you to eke up the ranking ladder and pair with higher ranked players. (More on that later.) There are a meager 5 drills available at the outset but even once through can provide the bump you need to win more matches in the Tour mode.

Tour mode is the main

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mode and the method for unlocking additional courts, characters, outfits and, most importantly, drills. There are 10 tour locations with 5 events each, which means 50 matches in total. The rules and setup vary from event to event. Some use standard rules and some use rally rules (you can score without having the serve); either can be complicated with a hot potato timer and time bombs (or a combination of the two).

Time bombs appear whenever and wherever the volleyball drops, exploding after a few seconds, which can mean big problems if you’ve just spiked it, scored then switched sides. The hot potato timer adds another level of strategy to the game. Basically, when the timer hits the top, the ball explodes. Tip: You don’t want to have the ball at this time. These elements aren’t always included in a match, but I found that during Exhibition games I’d have at least one of these options turned on to make things a bit more interesting.

The Tour mode presents some very challenging AI, especially on the later events when you’re battling high-ranked characters. But no opposition can be as tough or unpredictable as human opponents. OV includes multiplayer with two-player (four-player if you connect two Xboxes) and play over Xbox Live. It was a good decision to include the online feature since sports games are so naturally suited to multiple players. Plus, it allows for more trash talk.

 

outlaw volleyball xbox review         outlaw volleyball xbox review


The only real trash talk comes at the conclusion of fights, which happens only infrequently when playing against the AI. The fights – initiated through Beating Tokens – are one step above those found in Outlaw Golf where timing was the deciding factor. OV takes a more direct approach with dedicated buttons for kick, punch, block and a special move. The fighting is only rudimentary at best – no Virtua Fighter 4 here – but it serves two important functions: draining your opponent’s momentum and increasing your momentum, which is tied directly to the amount of boost at your disposal.

OV’s graphics may not be as wham-bam as Xtreme Beach Volleyball but they are good and without slowdown. If you’re wondering about jiggle factor… yes, it’s there (more so with the big boobs code active) but with OV I swear I saw El Sauve’s unit bobbing. OV also has multiple viewing angles so you can play with a setup that’s to your liking.

With everything OV does right there are still some downsides. The most annoying quirk is that the opposition AI makes incredible saves on a regular (and frustrating) basis. You’ll smugly think to yourself, “There’s no way they’ll be able to pull this one out.” But they usually do. Once you can accept this, it can act in your favor since you won’t let your guard down. The other, less annoying aspect is the too-frequent commentary from the announcer. Each line is expertly delivered but they’re all one-liners that cease to be amusing after the fourth or fifth time (with a few exceptions). If it does start to get to you, the announcer can be turned off.

Outlaw Volleyball is what it is – a great beach volleyball game with a lot to offer and its own style. It may look like a one-off, “extreme” game relying on gimmicks but it has substance and a lot of fun to offer.

- Omni
(August 3, 2003)

 

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