Yakuza Dead Souls
The critically acclaimed, yet little played Yakuza
series strays from its formula a little for its newest installment
Yakuza: Dead Souls. Taking its cues from the fad of the moment, Dead
Souls takes the basic framework of the Yakuza games and drops a shed
load of zombies in them. The result is all the quirky delights of
exploring the stunningly recreated fictional district of Tokyo,
Kamurocho and a 3rd Person zombie shooter.
comes as a shame then, that the shooting part of the game is absolutely
rubbish. This mostly stems from the controls, which are faulty at best
and flat out poorly designed at worst. The auto lock on system is a
regular failure. Snapping into aim mode using L2 will often spin the
camera at some wall, leaving zombies to munch on your confused looking
hero. The precision aiming system is even worse. It seems like the
developers have not paid attention to the development of shooter
mechanics in the last ten years.
Aiming is mapped to the left analog
stick, which means that your character stops moving every time you line
up your shot. Making it weirder is the fact that the camera controls are
mapped to the right analog stick when not shooting, so it makes
absolutely no sense for the right analog stick to just sit there unused
when shooting. This is all compounded by the frame rate, which seems to
buckle under the weight of the many enemies on screen. Consistent
slowdown during shooting sequences adds another layer of frustration to
the proceedings. The shooting just feels cumbersome and unnatural, which
is a big problem because it takes up the vast majority of the game.
Exploring Kamurocho while not shooting is just as brilliantly weird as
the past games. The level of detail in the district is a wonder to
behold and there is plenty to do in the form of various mini games. Be
it using the UFO catcher at the local club SEGA or the weirdly creepy
massage game, the game has plenty of diversions to take your mind off of
the zombie shooting. As the game is structured like an RPG, there are
plenty of sidequests but be aware that many of them involve the awful
shooting mechanics. Playing them will usually seem like something of a
the rest of the series, the presentation of Yakuza: Dead Souls is top
notch. The cinematics are frequent, but never boring. The design of the
characters is fantastic and the translation is very well constructed.
The Yakuza series has always had a great sense of humour and that
reappears here at various points. The cameos of various characters from
previous Yakuza games will be a treat for those who have played the
previous games. The story is interesting and well acted by the
all-Japanese voice cast.
Unfortunately experiencing all this means having to play the meat of the
game, which is horrible. As an entry point into the Yakuza series, it is
not recommended. The brawling hand to hand combat of the past entries is
much more satisfying than the endless gun battles with various zombies.
Yakuza veterans will also want to stay away, and stick to the other
games in the series. Yakuza: Dead Souls may seem like a decent idea, but
it is probably best to just ignore it and hope that things return to
normal for the next instalment.