Graphically, Dead Or Alive 2: Hardcore is surely a better game than its Dreamcast's counterpart. First of all, the DC version runs at 30 frames per second, while this Ps2 version runs exactly at 60 frames per second. Besides, the colors are deeper and the level of detail, both of the arenas and the characters, has been improved.
The 14 characters are realized with a certain care, even if they don't surprise as those seen in Tekken Tag Tournament. The fighters of Dead Or Alive 2: Hardcore, very appreciated by the masculine public to whom the game is addressed, are surely impressive for their bodily measures and for the animation of the enormous pushed-up breasts, but they're far away from the realism of Tekken's heroes. The bodies of DoA2's fighters are each other identical, so much that playing the game I've thought that Team Ninja, to cut development times, has always used the same three-dimensional model changing for each of the fighters only the head and the bra. If the girls in the game have their "reason" to exist, the masculine characters are simply ridiculous. They are animated in a comic way and they appear terribly awkward. The shades on the bodies of the fighters, then, are not life-real like the ones in Tekken.
The interactive three-dimensional arenas constitute the true strong point of Dead Or Alive 2; not all the arenas are defined like those of Tekken Tag Tournament, even if in more than a case you will see wonderful scenarios. For instance, in the lowest level of the Dragon Hills arena, which you will reach only after several falls from a plan to another, there is a Chinese dragon illuminated by enormous torches that constitutes a marvellous spectacle for the player's eyes.
The effects caused by the interaction between characters and elements of the arenas are simply great. With the bodies of your fighters you can break glass windows or paper walls in a Japanese residence (arena Koku An, only present in the Ps2 version); you will see the water of a fall breaking under your blows. The artists from Team Ninja have surely worked a lot to create such beautiful effects. Light effects are perfect, too. While you are trying to break the backbone of one of your nice adversaries on the roofs of Hong Kong you can always relax for a second looking at the beautiful red hot sky at sunset.
Dead Or Alive 2: Hardcore for Ps2 has best graphics respect to the DC version, but it doesn't reach the level of detail of the characters or of the scenarios in Tekken. Nevertheless, overall the game succeeds in stunning the player-spectator. The three-dimensional arenas, the effects of light and the interaction between character and environments make you forget the scarce charisma of the fighters and they guarantee indeed a great atmosphere.
The sound effects and the music of Dead Or Alive 2: Hardcore are good, but just as it happens in Tekken Tag Tournament, they will not make you sing them in your head after you've finished playing the game. However, music with a strong rhythm (that " hardcore " in the title is not there by chanche) and effects of good quality create a soundtrack worthy of an action movie. The developers of the game have inserted some scenes of dialogue among the characters. From the options menu you can choose the language for these dialogues. But does it really make any difference? No, In English or in Japanese, it won't do any difference. The voices of the actors are ridiculous, and they simply add humour to the bleak characters of the game.
With a third of the characters featured in Tekken Tag Tournament, and with half the characters of Street Fighter Ex3, Dead Or Alive 2:Hardcore doesn't shine for its depth or for its replay value. The game doesn't have all the bonuses and all the hidden secrets of Tekken Tag Tournament. The game modes are surely amusing, first of all the Survival Mode, but after all they're each other quite similar. The Story Mode, that could have been a valid reason to finish the game with each of the characters, is so stupid that you'll probably end to hate it. Anyhow, in comparison to Tekken, Dead Or Alive 2: Hardcore introduces more than a novelty. If you are tired of Tekken, then this title is perhaps the ideal way to spend a few amusing afternoons in front of your Ps2, even in exciting multiplayer fights against your friends.