Dead or Alive 2 (NetEnt): Review
Editor's note: see our Dead or Alive 2 Feature buy article for more information about the bonus buy version of the game.
The original Dead or Alive hardly needs an introduction. Released in May 2009, the slot has gained almost legendary status and is still to this day one of the most played slots on the market. Having had the opportunity to catch a glimpse of a list of top performing slot for a particular casino, it was noted that Dead or Alive was ranking number 11 on the chart. Not bad for a slot that is nearly 10 years old!
As a consequence of the Flash era coming to an end, Dead or Alive was subsequently converted to the HTML5 format. The controversy that ensued, with many punters accusing NetEnt of having "nerfed" the game, and something we brought up in one of our most popular articles, seems to have had little impact on its status and popularity. NetEnt themselves have repeatedly denied having made any mathematical changes to it and that's that.
Though being a completely different game, the sequel does share many similar traits with the original. The industry standard RTP of 96.8% is the same as before, as is the 5-reel, 9-payline setup. The settings are somewhat recognisable too, making veteran punters feel right at home. In the main game, the action takes place in the main street of an old western town as the sunset beams its last light particles in the backdrop. The ultimate showdown, however, is carried out throughout various settings, though the old saloon is still open to customers. In terms of features, the most distinguished difference from the original is indeed the free spins feature where you can choose from 3 games.
Though the old retro visuals of the original are in no way off-putting and even holds some sentimental value to us, the sharp HD-graphics and cutscenes of Dead or Alive 2 are indeed impressive. The symbols on the reels pays tribute to the original, though with updated artwork, of course. You'll see A to 10 royals as well as more rewarding whiskey bottles, boots, cowboy hats, revolvers and sheriff badges, the latter being the most valuable giving you 100 times your stake for 5 across a full payline. The wild is represented by each of the 5 outlaws and substitutes for all symbols bar the scatter. As previously, Dead or Alive 2 also includes a Scatter win jackpot - land 5 scatters in the base game and you'll win 2500 times your stake.
Dead or Alive 2 (NetEnt): Features
Players can either use the feature buy option to skip the main game and head straight to the Free Spins feature or try to land 3 or more scatter symbols simultaneously anywhere on the reels. Once in, you're given a choice to play one of 3 different games of varying volatility: Old Saloon, High Noon Saloon and Train Heist.
- Train Heist: comes with an increasing multiplier. Whenever a wild lands on the reels, the multiplier increases by 1 while also adding 1 extra spin to your total. Now, if the multiplier meter reaches 16x, 5 additional free spins are awarded.
- Old Saloon: fundamentally the same as good old Dead or Alive. All wins are multiplied by 2 here and any wild landing on the reels locks in position for the remainder of the bonus. Landing all 5 outlaws will give you 5 extra spins.
- High Noon: by far the most volatile of all three options, the High Noon free spins make use of NetEnt's "MAX" concept and comes with a staggering record-breaking max win of over 100,000 times your stake, which at the time of writing is higher than any other non-jackpot slot out there. Brace for impact - it's virtually the original Dead or Alive on crack. The very same features of the Old Saloon free spins applies here as well, but land more than one wild on a reel and they'll multiply! In other words, 2 wilds become a 2x multiplier, 3 wilds become a 3x multiplier, and so on.
In late 2020, NetEnt also introduced a bonus buy version of Dead or Alive 2. If allowed in your jurisdiction, punters can buy the bonus to a cost of approximately 66 times the stake - this will give you 3 scatters on reels 1, 2, and 3 guaranteed with a chance to land all 5 of them.
Dead or Alive 2 (NetEnt): Verdict
NetEnt has practically bundled the original and the new version together here, which was a wise decision we have to say. This way, you really don't have to choose between the two, although with the 3 different free spins games on offer, it will, of course, affect the distribution of the RTP so you will likely not play the same version as old DoA.
It's hard to think of a better way to celebrate the 10th year anniversary of Dead or Alive and NetEnt has unarguably produced a sequel that, not only retains the dignity of the brand, but also strengthens it. The MAX concept also comes into great use here and Dead or Alive 2 is actually one of few games where it has been proven possible to hit the maximum potential.
We went into this review with the mindset that the original is untouchable and in fear that NetEnt would do harm to its legacy. We came out of it baptized, cleansed and ready to saddle up once again. Apache, Billy, Belle, Della and Jesse - we're coming for you.
Dead or Alive 2 is a ferociously volatile sequel with massive proven potential that every DoA fan will be please to play.