Remember Dead or Alive Xtreme 3? You know, that one game that everyone seemed to be talking about months ago, since Koei Tecmo decided that they weren't going to bring the game over to the West? We gave our first impressions around launch, as well as streamed a few playthroughs of the game. Now that the hype and white noise has died down, it's time to look at just how well that the game itself stacks up in the long run.
First things first, the fact that Dead or Alive Xtreme 3: Fortune doesn't actually mention beach volleyball in its title is telling. Although the beach volleyball minigame is definitely one of the more fleshed-out minigames in the whole package, it's decidedly not the main focus of the game. Dead or Alive Xtreme 3's gameplay is more like something akin to a virtual pet simulator. If the game has any goal, it's to eventually get every girl on the island into the skimpiest outfits possible, which requires you to play through two week vacations multiple times, increasing your affection with each character (so they'll wear whatever you give them) as well as racking up money to spend on new items, including bikinis.
During the game's two week vacation mode, players increase affection and earn money during the day by playing a variety of minigames. There're the obvious ones like Beach Volleyball and Pool Hopping, but Xtreme 3 also includes some minigames like Rock Climbing, Butt Battles, and Tug-of-War. Every minigame you can find here is simple, and you can play any of them in a few minutes at most. It probably goes without saying that they're all rather repetitive games as well. Some of them are pretty mindless, and whether or not you're ok with that (considering the "relaxing" atmosphere that the game portrays) is going to be entirely up to the player themselves.
After playing a few minigames during the day (or just watching your chosen girl for that playthrough relax) players are shifted to night, where the real grind begins if your goal ends up being to buy every swimsuit for every girl. The casino is the best place to grind for the game's currency, so I'd wager that it's where most players are going to be spending the majority of their playtime after a certain point in time. The casino games are all standard fair, and besides the fact that players can eventually watch girls pole dance if they can grind enough money for a certain ticket, there really isn't much worth discussing here.
I could go on and on about the variety of bikinis or beach volleyballs you can buy, or how you can give certain characters different gifts to increase their affection; but for all intents and purposes, I've already described the game. Players can also choose to play in owner mode - a requirement to unlock certain swimsuits - but even then, the only real difference between playing as a guest and playing as the owner are minimal. In owner mode you're watching the characters act instead of playing the minigames yourself, but as far as differences go that's all there is. You tend to get some objectives to clear to earn money in this mode, but there's nothing that drastically changes how the game is played.
The game looks decent in some parts, but in others, it's very obvious that the game was being designed for both the PlayStation 4 and Vita at the same time. Unlike in previous Dead or Alive Xtreme games, there is no sand deformation. Some swimsuits have transparency, and depending on what happens during minigames outfits might shift a little, but it's obvious that the majority of the game's budget went into designing the swimsuits. Everything else feels painfully phoned in. That's not to say that the game itself is bad, but after playing through one playthrough of the game (about 2 to 3 hours) you've seen most of what the game has to offer.
If you already know that you're fine with the repetitive gameplay that the title has to offer, you've probably already bought the game, or downloaded the more recent free-to-play release. Even if you do like the gameplay, it would be wrong for me to say that the game is a great value. That being said, the types of people that would enjoy this game wouldn't need this review in the first place. I won't say that the game is bad or unplayable, as it's not. However, Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 is definitely not a game for everyone. If you are at all interested in it, I'd recommend downloading the free release on the Asian or Japanese PlayStation storefront.
Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 isn't for everyone, but that doesn't make it a bad game. For folks looking for a titillating game of house, Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 will deliver, though it might not be worth it in the long run.