Yakuza: Dead Souls (PlayStation 3)

By Wayne Webb

It doesn’t seem that far back to May 2011 when I reviewed Yakuza 4 and gave it 2.5 out of 5. Under a year later and I’m reviewing Yakuza 4 again, but this time with Zombies, and it’s gained one whole point for that alone.

Yakuza: Dead Souls appears to be a carbon copy remake of Yakuza 4, with the same settings and characters from the previous version. You still take the role of four different characters and progress through a beat-‘em-up style RPG where you constantly level up, wade through pages of dialogue and live a virtual life of trading and fighting as a Japanese gangster. I said before that if this is your kind of game then there’s plenty here to keep you amused. But for me playing these titles over the last seven years or so has led me to believe they have barely changed or grown. Until now, because of the Zombie factor.

I’m unsure whether this is a serious attempt at a game, or just one of those 80/20 projects for a developer at Sega that got a little out of hand. Either way it does not really fit in with the style and canon of the Yakuza game franchise so serious fans may walk away in disgust. Though as I found the proper version quite tedious and culturally off the mark for me, as a player, the hilarious and fun addition of Zombies has made the game interesting and (as an oddity) much better now.

The combat mechanics are faulty and repetitive with the usual issues that came with previous Yakuza games, but magnified, as there is more of it in this edition. I don’t care; I’m having too much fun playing this version. I find the ridiculous nature of the Yakuza-style leveling up and story focus more bearable as the Resident Evil-style plot of a zombie outbreak takes over the main attraction of building an empire and playing a soap opera Yakuza style.

If you’re a fan of Yakuza franchise games be warned this is not your typical outing. It’s not a great standalone zombie killing game due to the Yakuza way of combat and story progression. It’s a weird mix somewhere in between, that is not any one type of game and probably should never have been made. And that’s why I like it.

Pros: Zombies are cool, more gunplay and less fist fights, tongue in cheek humour.
Cons: Still a Yakuza title, RPG elements, may not appeal to fans, fighting repetitive.

3.5 Shacks Out Of 5

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