Dead or Alive 2: Hardcore
STORY A great leader was killed at the end of the 20th century. His name was Fame Douglas, and he was renowned as the sponsor of the legendary Dead or Alive World Combat Championship. Since his death, and in the absence of his charisma and leadership, the world has become chaotic. Yet something appears to be transpiring. Amid this chaos, it is announced that the "Dead or Alive Championship 2" will be held.

However, Douglas's passing has taken with it the purpose and significance of the tournament. Even worse, the promoter of "Dead or Alive Championship 2", who is fond of conflicts and jealous of the string, is responsible for Douglas's death. The new promoter is more than a corrupt mastermind, but a man of pure evil. His involvement in the tournament has brought a sense of terror to the world, resulting in the infamous Tengu disaster that occurred at the end of the 20th century. The climax of the disaster is about to begin with a roaring battle.


DOA2: Hardcore ups the ante on PS2.

Outspoken series creator, Tomonobu Itagaki, stated that he was dissatisfied with Dead or Alive 2 as it was and decided to release an updated version of the game on PlayStation 2 and Dreamcast, working towards his vision of the "ultimate fighting game". The PlayStation 2 version of Dead or Alive 2: Hardcore is based on the Japanese version of Dead or Alive 2 for Dreamcast. This DOA2 enhancement features one new character (Bayman), several new stages, updated / removed animations, more alternate costumes, and a new Gallery Mode. The North American PS2 version also adds new English voiceovers for the characters in addition to the original Japanese voices.


Counters still reign supreme.


DOA2: Hardcore
offers an impressive selection of modes, including: Story, Versus, Time Attack, Survival, Tag Battle, Team Battle, Sparring, Watch, UPS (User Profile System), Battle Recorder, and CG Gallery. The story mode was slightly updated from the original's, adding in several new cut scenes, but still doesn't do much for character development. DOA2: Hardcore's story really just amounts to "a few random / silly cutscenes" for each fighter. Many cutscenes don't even make any sense at all. I guess Itagaki and crew weren't going for a "serious-themed" fighting game (which one might expect out of the quote-unquote "ultimate fighting game"). The DOA characters have potential, but most of their in-game storylines seem nothing more than afterthoughts or inside jokes.

Gameplay-wise, DOA2 Hardcore is practically the same exact game as DOA2. It's still a fairly solid gameplay engine, but in my opinion, DOA's gameplay style is still overly dependent on counters & repetitive strings. As I stated in my previous DOA2 review, some of the more technical and fundamental aspects that drive most 3D (and 2D) fighting games, seem to be put on the back burner. I definitely give Team Ninja credit for offering a different angle on the 3D fighting game engine, but something just feels "off" and "unrefined" about DOA's gameplay system as a whole. The control of your fighter isn't quite "there" as much as it is in other 3D (and 2D) fighters, and sidestepping & overall movement feels slow and sluggish at times. Still, battles play out pretty smoothly and epically at times, primarily due to the multiple tiers of each stage and the flashy counter & double team moves.


More Tag Team insanity... and bad outfits! 


The 1-player experience is also very much the same as DOA2. Survival Mode has returned and is even more fun this time around, featuring random (and silly) bonus items to collect as you defeat opponents. Tag mode also returns with slightly faster gameplay, cool new tag team throws/attacks, and a couple new stages. The standard Time Attack and Practice (Sparring) Modes are also present. While this shiny 3D fighter may appeal more to casual players, especially with its pretty graphics (and trademark bouncy boobs), hardcore 3D fighting gamers looking for the most rewarding 3D hand-to-hand competitive action will probably stick with TEKKEN Tag Tournament, TEKKEN 4, and/or SoulCalibur






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Page Updated: April 28th, 2024
Developer(s): Team Ninja
Publisher(s): Tecmo
Designer(s): Tomonobu Itagaki
Platform(s): Arcade, PlayStation 2, PSN
Release Date(s): Oct. 25th, 2000          PS2
Dec. 14th, 2000
August 2012                 PSN
Mar. 26th, 2015          PSN
Characters Ein, Leon, Lei Fang, Ayane, Kasumi, Tina Armstrong, Bass Armstrong, Zack, Hayabusa, Helena, Gen Fu, Jann Lee, Tengu, Bayman

doa2-s16.jpg (46016 bytes)doa2-s11.jpg (50094 bytes)doa2-s13.jpg (38234 bytes)

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Related Games: Dead or Alive 2, Dead or Alive, Dead or Alive 3, Dead or Alive 4, Dead or Alive 5, Dead or Alive 5: Ultimate, Dead or Alive: Dimensions, Dead or Alive 6, TEKKEN Tag Tournament, TEKKEN 4, Soul Calibur

Gameplay Engine  8.0 / 10
Story / Theme  6.0 / 10
Overall Graphics  9.5 / 10
Animation  9.5 / 10
Music / Sound Effects  7.5 / 10
Innovation  7.0 / 10
Art Direction  6.5 / 10
Customization  6.5 / 10
Options / Extras  7.5 / 10
Intro / Presentation  7.5 / 10
Replayability / Fun  7.0 / 10
"Ouch" Factor  9.0 / 10
Characters  7.0 / 10

 8.3 / 10

 Review based on PS2 version    


Final Words: DOA2: Hardcore was a decent 3D fighting game for its time. The somewhat "noob-friendly" mechanics and cinematic-like action will definitely appeal to the casual crowd. In high level play, DOA2 Ultimate can indeed be dubbed a "counter fest," which turns out being a repetitive and (some would say) boring gameplay experience in the long run. 

DOA's character roster is still on the small side, especially when compared to many other fighting games. And for such a small roster, the characters really lack substance and personality. While there are some exceptions here or there... and many cool attacks to check out... the fighters of DOA2 Ultimate still need more time to develop.

~TFG Webmaster | @Fighters_Gen
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