The volleyball genre was forever changed when Tecmo released its DOA Extreme Beach Volleyball that put more emphasis on the ladies rather then the game itself. With the success of DOA it was not surprising that there would be a volleyball game released for the Ps2. Acclaim jumped on the opportunity first with their latest release of Summer Heat Beach Volleyball.
With DOA Extreme Beach Volleyball you basically played a laid back style of volleyball in which you would just patty cake the ball back and fourth of the net with little to no strategy involved. Now instead of that laid back approach Summer Heat Beach Volleyball decided it would go at a fast and furious approach which most people will find works much better.
Summer Heat Beach Volleyball hosts a few different modes ranging from a training modes and the Summer Heat Us Tour. Acclaim couldn’t resist though by giving Summer Heat Beach Volleyball not only “Mini Party Games” as well as a “Beach House” mode. I am not exactly sure why they decided to put these in, but like in DOA they didn’t work then and the mini games fail to work in this one either.
Before you start the game it would be highly recommended that you take the training courses because they really allow you to learn the controls of game much quicker then trying to do it on your own. The training mode is pretty short but it does get the point across. And hey if you do complete the mode you win sunglasses for characters (oh how great is that!).
The Summer Heat US Tour mode is the main mode of the game where you can either play with you and the computer or another friend. You will first notice that the different difficulty settings have distinct differences. The mode isn’t overly exciting you go around the country in different settings playing volleyball. The mode isn’t very exciting because it doesn’t feel like your playing for anything. There isn’t anything in the mode that will keep you wanting to play it for very long, and if you do stay in for the long haul there aren’t enough interesting extras to even give you the thought of playing through it again.
Probably the biggest problem with the Us Tour mode is the fact that the computer AI is just plain dumb. Instead of going for good shots they always seem to set the ball up for the other team instead of putting the ball away. Also when you set your partner up they very rarely put the ball away, instead they hit it straight towards the other players so they set up and get a free spike on you. This not only gets you frustrated but keeps the points a lot longer then they really need to be.
The one positive thing to say about Summer Heat Beach Volleyball is that it does make for a great four player game. This is the one game that actually makes great use of the multi-tap. Since there are four players on the court at all time the computer AI is eliminated from the picture and the game runs a lot better with a group of friends playing the game. If you don’t have a multi-tap then playing with a friend is really going to be a lot more fun then the way the game plays by yourself.
You can see right from the get go that Acclaim tried to make a star studded music library for Summer Heat Beach Volleyball but they fail to do so. Instead of having a good amount of music there is just the same stuff replaying over and over again. I like Sum 41 but I don’t need to hear there song over and over again. It is nice though that there was Dolby Pro Logic 2 support but that just wasn’t enough to keep the sound of this game from being a downer.
Right from the start you will notice that Summer Heat Beach Volleyball doesn’t look anything close to the excellent looking graphics of the DOA Extreme Beach Volleyball game but then again it really doesn’t need to. You can really see that Acclaim decided not to put all their focus on the graphics but instead on both gameplay and graphics.
The one thing that I did find quite interesting about the game was the environments. You would probably think that you would just be playing Volleyball on the beach, right? Well instead Acclaim has taken the beautiful white sand all over the world and in some very odd locations. All of the environments look pretty good but some just seem a little too odd.
The character models are obviously focused much more on the women of the game rather then the gentlemen. Unlike the ladies who have a wide variety in their apparel, the guys are given plain boring shorts and tank tops. Overall the graphics are nowhere near that of DOA, but they do get the job done.
Summer Heat Beach Volleyball is a game that has some aspects that can be quite fun but then there are other portions that we could just have done without. Playing this game through by yourself just isn’t something most people are going to have fun doing. But on the other hand if you have three friends looking for something to do then you can have a good time with the game. The extra mini-games aren’t very eventful therefore aren’t much fun. Overall there is some fun to be had in the game but not enough to give it a good rating.
Summer Heat Beach Volleyball is a game that tries to take the volleyball genre to the next level but fails to do so. There are some good aspects that are new to the series but mostly everything in the game we have already done before. Hopefully the next volleyball game will have some new stuff because there isn’t anything exciting happening with this one.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.