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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Full Blown Yakuza Experience
I am really surprised at how deep this game is. I was expecting it to be a spin-off (and it somewhat is) of the series, but it retains all of the things that fans of the series love. Don't think that this is just a game where you go around shooting zombies. There are still all of the sub-stories, side quests, massage parlors, karaoke bars, and hostess clubs seen in...
Published on March 20, 2012 by Khanh Phan

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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Yakuza: Dead End
"Yakuza" is one of the most wonderful series to come out of Japan. It has several lovable characters, and some of the most tight fighting mechanics in any game on the market. Not only that, but it has a breathtakingly accurate depiction of several real-world locations in Japan. Sega was certainly in the right to bring over the third and fourth entries in the stellar...
Published 20 months ago by Elias B.


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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Full Blown Yakuza Experience, March 20, 2012
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= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Yakuza Dead Souls (Video Game)
I am really surprised at how deep this game is. I was expecting it to be a spin-off (and it somewhat is) of the series, but it retains all of the things that fans of the series love. Don't think that this is just a game where you go around shooting zombies. There are still all of the sub-stories, side quests, massage parlors, karaoke bars, and hostess clubs seen in previous Yakuza games. I would basically describe this game as another Yakuza game, but with the brawling gameplay replaced by zombie shooting. So if you are a fan of the series, do not hesitate to buy this game, it is a fresh take on the series, but it retains what makes the series great.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yakuza Goes In A New Direction, April 30, 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Yakuza Dead Souls (Video Game)
If you have an affinity for Japanese culture, then the Yakuza series should appeal to your sensibilities. Honestly, this very bias explains the high scores Dead Souls has received. This would be more along the lines of a 3 star game, if it weren't for that unique Japanese flavor. If you are familiar with the Yakuza series, you should know that Dead Souls is quite the departure. Firstly, there are zombies. And not just zombies, but a crap ton of zombies. I must have slaughtered hundreds in the first hour alone. Secondly, melee combat has been removed, and replaced with an awkward, but strangely enjoyable 3rd person shooting mechanic. These controls take some getting used to, but grow on you over time. Aiming has an auto assist function, that makes head shots quite fun to pull off. The story wasn't treated like an afterthought here. The same amount of care, and attention to detail, is on par with the rest of the series. Mini games and exploration are back as well, with less emphasis placed on both. Recommeded.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yakuza Dead Souls: a review, March 20, 2012
By 
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Yakuza Dead Souls (Video Game)
Background

If you have already played a Yakuza game, you may want to skip to the "Summary" section, but for those of you who have not played a Yakuza game, and want to know more, please continue reading.

Yakuza: Dead Souls is approximately the 6th console version in the series (there have been 2 other PSP games that never made it to the US), the fourth Yakuza title on the PS3, and the third to make it to the USA. Traditionally, Yakuza games are a mixture of the sandbox, action RPG, and brawler genres, all wrapped up into one massive experience. I've only started playing the series on the PS3, since I did not own a PS2 (Yakuza 1 and 2 were on the PS2), so Yakuza 3 was my first entry into the series; it's been one of my favorites ever since.

To summarize the backstory, you play as Kazuma Kiryu, who is more or less a "Godfather" in the Japanese mafia. There's a huge crime family, and he was the 4th chairman of the Tojo clan. You have since then retired, and now run an orphanage in Okinawa. However, as things go with the mafia, you keep getting pulled back in.

The fun of this game is that you're in an immersive world of Tokyo, people walking past you, running into you, flashing street signs, and music come from the bars as you walk down the street. Then, the occasional punk decides to run into you and pick a fight, or try to mug you, but that is a very bad mistake on their part. From then, you turn around, a crowd gathers around, cheering, while you beat the ever-living crap out of the punk and his friends. You can use your fists, feet, a bicycle that's just sitting over to the side, a beer bottle on the ground, etc. to teach these punks a lesson. Then, typically, you have a grand finishing move on the last of your enemies. My favorite is you knock the guy to the ground, you plant your hands on either side of his face, and you kick your feet up high in the air (almost doing a handstand on his face), and come down on his face with the full force of your knee. Blood shoots everywhere as he groans in pain. The funny part is that after all that, he's not dead; he's covered in blood and apologizes profusely to you, and gives you money or other items for your trouble. This is the kind of quirkyness that really captivated me--the animations, and the fighting techniques you unlock, are really fun and it's just hilarious to watch.

Aside from the main story and side-quests, you are allowed to do everything at your own pace (save for certain sub-stories that only occur at specific points, or sub-stories that you miss because you advanced the story too far). If you get the urge to just explore, there's no pressure--you are free to try the local fare at a bar, order drinks until the point of inebriation (as the bartender gives you a brief history of what you just ordered). There's sub-stories, strip clubs (no nudity, but pole-dancers in bikinis), tranny bars, etc. (one sub-story in Yakuza 3 had you being chased by a tranny and your objective was to get away; if you did not get away, the screen goes dark and it's left up to your imagination as to what took place). Then, there are the fun mini games: bowling, billiards, slots, pachinko, poker, blackjack, baccarat, a video arcade with this really cool "shmup," and many, many others.

In other words, you get a huge bang for your buck with these games; I have clocked over 220 hours in Yakuza 4 to platinum it, and I still was not able to complete each objective in all of the mini-games.

Summary

Yakuza: Dead Souls switches things up a bit with the series. This game really isn't "canon," but a side story, or a "what if" parallel story.

Dead Souls starts out with Kazuma Kiryu at the Sunshine Orphanage in Okinawa; the phone rings, and a mysterious person is on the line with Haruka (one of the older children at the Orphanage), holding her hostage. So again, you need to go back to Tokyo; this time to rescue Haruka. Meanwhile, you start out as Akiyama, the money lender of Sky Finance, from Yakuza 4. A mysterious person kind of shambles into a local Yakuza office and turns out to be a Zombie. He bites the guard at the door, and suddenly, all the Yakuza jump out of the 2nd story window onto the street. Long story short, the infection spreads and the Special Defense Force (SDF) start cordoning off the section of Kamurocho.

Gameplay

Certain aspects of the gameplay in this entry into the franchise have been completely altered, mainly involving a new shooting mechanic. Previous Yakuza games did have guns, but you would normally hold down the left trigger to lock on, and the right trigger to fire at your enemy--you didn't really need to aim at all. Also, in this game, you're only allowed a certain number of slots to hold items and ammo. The rest of the total slots are locked until you gain enough experience and choose to unlock them or not. Many times, you're faced with tough decisions on whether you should use your special points to learn about new, more powerful weapons, better armor, learning new techniques, or increasing your item, equipment, or weapon slots.

In previous Yakuza games, the gameplay was divided into your normal roaming activities, where your weapons are not accessible, you can't pick up bikes and traffic cones or destroy the environment. Only when a random enemy encounter occurred, you would enter the fighting mode, where you can pick up objects in the environments, use weapons, and use the melee combat mechanics. However, in this game, the gameplay is essentially divided by the regular city zone and the quarantine zone. When outside the quarantine zone, you do not have the random encounters or punks to beat up; you have to explicitly go into the quarantine zone, and then you are in action mode the entire time until you exit the area.

The action mode, that is in the quarantine zone, is completely different, from the previous games in the series. In this game, your primary weapons are guns and grenades. You can pick up objects on the ground and use them for melee, but you do not have the punch and kick combo mechanics from the previous games. There is no "Heat" bar, but it's replaced with a sniper gauge. I did notice that some of the unlockable skills do contain melee fighting, and it appears that once you unlock all the abilities, you have the option to unlock regular fighting (I won't be able to confirm this until I get that far). However, as stated previously, you must gain levels to gain upgrade points, so you have to choose wisely what to unlock.

So, once you get into the quarantine zone, there are zombies and other monsters (called mutants, which are mutated zombies) all around. You do not necessarily have to kill every single zombie, and in many rooms, there are monster closets where an unlimited number of zombies spawn. Many times, you just need to take out the zombies in your way, and run past them.

The quarantine area is totally wrecked, with cars in flames and bombed-out buildings. Once you are in the quarantine area, your guns are drawn and you can switch between equipped weapons using the D-pad. Each character is given his own weapon; Akiyama starts out with twin pistols that have unlimited ammunition. You also get a heavy side arm that has 6 shots, but unlimited ammo. Most of the guns so far in the game are upgradeable. You level up by gaining experience points after fighting zombies, eating food, or completing sub-stories and missions. Once you level up, you are awarded points that can be used to unlock new abilities for upgrading weapons, armor, and learning new attacks or defense tactics. As with previous Yakuza games, you collect different materials, and bring them plus your weapons, to the weapons dealer so he can use them to enhance your weapons and armor.

Controls

This is probably the more controversial part of the game. The control scheme is less than desirable, and you only have a choice of two control schemes; neither of which really change anything. You're not given the option of mapping the controls, which really is unfortunate. I did find a setting that will move the camera behind the character when he goes into aiming or L1 firing mode. The controls are the biggest complaint I have about the game, but it's not a showstopper. Once you get used to the controls, it's not that bad, but it really makes the game more frustrating at times.

So to summarize the controls in the action mode, the L1 trigger is used to strafe, and the camera adjusts behind you. When you move the left analog with L1 depressed, your character will focus on the point in which he was facing when you started holding down the L1 trigger. Then, there's an alternate aiming mode, if you hold down L2, a red reticle appears on the screen, and you use the left analog stick to move the reticle. You may have already noticed the problem--the left analog controls two different functions depending on which trigger is held down. This is the source of much aggravation, because as hoards of zombies are coming for you, you've most likely got the L1 down and you're moving away from the zombies while firing at them. If you hit L2 without stopping your movement, the reticle will appear, and will immediately start moving up on the screen (because you're already pulling back on the left analog).

Very early in the game, you can upgrade a skill that allows Akiyama to target, and track, the head of your attacker so you can pull off a headshot. So far, all zombies go down in one headshot, so it's a very handy trick. So it's easy to want to just quickly hit L2 while you are already holding L1, which then causes the issues just mentioned. It seems to me that a simple remedy would be to map the reticle movement to the right analog, which isn't used, so you can still move your character while aiming; but unfortunately, the controls cannot be fine-tuned. After 23+ hours of play, I'm getting the hang of the controls; I normally am able to automatically stop and hit L2 to pull off headshots without having to think first. It's pretty nice to be able to rapidly hit L2, then shoot with R1, and rinse/repeat to pull off almost unlimited headshots. The reticle will choose the next available target after your initial target goes down. If your target does not go down, your head tracking will expire, and you will have to let up on the L2 trigger and press it again to acquire a new lock.

Another main mechanic of the game is the sniper functionality. You now have a sniper gauge, which replaces the "Heat" gauge in the other games. As you pull off headshots and take down enemies, your sniper gauge will fill slowly with each shot. Once your sniper gauge is full, you will see green circles around explosive objects in surrounding areas. Some special enemies have weak points that will get a green circle when your sniper is full and they are about to do a special attack. Once you see the green circle, you hit triangle to enter sniper mode. Here, there is a countdown indicator that gives you a limited time to choose your target. From there, you hit R1 to fire, and a Quicktime Event (QTE) will come up. If you pull off the QTE, your bullet will hit the target, and depending on what you're aiming for, will cause something to explode or hit the enemy's weak point, amassing more damage. I'm playing in hard mode, and these QTEs are very difficult for me to pull off. The gauge just pops up, and you almost have to be lucky had have guessed the right button that it's going to be. I'm guessing that it's slowed down in the lower difficulties, but I'm not certain. Nevertheless, I rarely use this tactic, because I am not skilled enough to pull them off.

Side-missions, sub-stories, and Partners

Another new addition since Yakuza 3 and 4 is the introduction of partners. At various points in the game, you meet different Non-player Characters (NPCs) that are willing to go with you to fight in the Quarantine zone. You can also purchase weapons and upgrades for your Partners, and also increase their experience with training. Training exercises include a shooting range and field combat courses (and probably more later). I got a chuckle out of these field combat courses because they use that old movie trope where the cops go into a fake crime scene, and cardboard cut-out "bad guys" pop up and they have to shoot them. You can also take your partner on several of the sub-stories that involve going into the quarantine zone. I have not gotten this far yet, but apparently, once date a hostess and fill her heart meter to maximum, she can become one of your partners that you can then train and take with you into battle. I have started one of the hostess stories, but have not maxed it out yet, so I may update this with my findings.

Just like in other Yakuza games, you have optional sub-stories and side-quests. These are normally kicked off by speaking to NPCs, or various other ways. Granted I am not far into the game, but I have not encountered "Mac" to introduce me to any "Revelations," but you do have a cell phone with text messages, so I'm sure that's coming. For those of you who are new to the series, there's a part of the game where you see certain hilarious scenarios and have "Revelations" that give you new ideas for fighting techniques. You'll get a text message from Mac (the photographer who is looking for the perfect shot, and tells you about Revelations) that tells you the general area for your next Revelation. Once you get to the area, you look around with your viewfinder until spot something sort of odd, and the camera will zoom in to a scenario that is about to occur. If you flip to the 1st person view mode, and hit X to trigger the event, you will watch the event play out. From here, 2 or 3 QTEs will occur, and if you hit them, you will see the finale and then you will learn the new technique.

Dead Souls adds a new twist on the sub-stories and side quests; several of the shops and game parlors, that you normally frequent, get trapped inside the quarantine zone. Several of the side quests involve going into the quarantine zone and "liberating" the store. After you liberate it, you will gain experience and also be able to access that location at any time when you are exploring the quarantine zone (this is useful for buying supplies while you're in there).

Another component is similar to Yakuza 4 (possible spoilers), where you meet a Korean cop who is trying to track down some criminals that have fled to Japan. In Yakuza 4, she sends you on various missions to track down these criminals before they do any more damage. In Dead Souls, you meet the same sort of person, but she gives you a variety of different tasks and missions related to the zombie and mutant infestation. I've found this part of the game a very effective way to make money, because each time you do a task (e.g., make 100 head shots, kill x-number of zombies, etc.) you rack up points. You can exchange these points for items from her, or you can trade it in for gold plates, which are worth •100,000 at the pawn shop. At first, I was wondering how to get money, because it seemed like I was really short, but quickly found that this is what replaced the loot from the random battles, since not all zombies drop loot.

Another possible spoiler is another type of mission inside the quarantine zone, you find a mysterious cursed manhole. You end up speaking to a guy who wants you to go check it out, and as it turns out, it's a series of underground areas that are infested with zombies. Each level, your objective is to find a ladder down to the next level; once you reach it, you can either choose to head back up (which exits the dungeon), or you can proceed down. The place is crawling with zombies and mutants, and every certain number of floors, you need to fight a "boss." Another component of this special dungeon, is that it's dark, and you need to bring batteries with you to keep your LED flashlight running; otherwise, you find yourself flailing around in the dark getting attacked by zombies. If you die in this area, you lose all of the experience, and possibly items, you have gained while you were there, so it's always a tough choice whether to proceed on down or cash in your spoils and head back up. This section is entirely optional, but it does give you clues as to what is going on with this whole story.

I am sure there is much more to the game than this, since I've been doing all of the sub-stories, I'm 23+ hours in, and still in the first of four parts, which is Akiyama's story.

Also, with the Yakuza series, you can do subsequent playthroughs and keep your experience and money. Also, if you have a completed save of Yakuza 3 and/or 4 on your PS3, you are rewarded with special items. There is also a premium adventure mode where you basically can choose any character, dress up in various costumes, and use special weapons available in a particular location.

Mini games

The Yakuza series is famous for its many mini games, and Dead Souls is no exception. One new mini game that was added to Dead Souls is a more-traditional slot machine, where you can play in the Pachinko parlor. Also, all of the Japanese mini games are back from Yakuza 4, including Shogi and traditional 4-player Mahjong. Some of the other mini-games include bowling, pool, darts, fishing, karaoke, table tennis, UFO catcher (iron claw arcade game), Boxcellios 1, 2, (and I saw reference to 2 Turbo, but haven't found it yet) which is a pretty cool arcade shooter. There's also a casino where you can play poker, baccarat, roulette, and blackjack. Below the casino, there's a traditional Japanese gambling games (some are pretty tough to learn the rules, but I've managed to figure out a few of them, and a few are pretty fun). One neat part of the mini games is that for the casino, pachinko, and gambling games, you can get special accessories that will allow you to cheat and win lots of money.

Visuals

The visuals have not changed very much since Yakuza 4; I'm fairly certain that this game uses the same engine as the Yakuza 4 game did, but with some overhauls to add in the new mechanics. There are subtle changes, such as menus seem have been updated to look more stylized from Yakuza 4; although it appears to use the same game engine from Yakuza 4. But all-in-all, the layout of the menus and the graphics are mostly the same.

If you're not familiar with Yakuza 4, the textures are pretty good in the cut scenes, but overall, it doesn't have Uncharted 2-quality graphics, but it's still very appealing to look at. The water effects and such are really good, and when it's raining, it really looks cool. The colors are really bright and cheery in the non-quarantine zone, but that's normally a hallmark of many Sega games.

Audio

The game does have surround sound, but the audio isn't anything outstanding. Most of this game is about story and the RPG elements. Although, it does a pretty good job at immersing you into the setting. You can hear all the sounds of the city; people walking by talking, music coming out of a bar, pots and pans clanging, and food sizzling when you enter a restaurant. When you pass by people, you can hear them go from your front speakers to the back ones, but I wouldn't say that it's the best surround sound I have ever heard, but it's not bad at all. The soundtrack is fitting for the game, it goes from 80's style electric guitars to different Japanese music in some of the shops. I've really grown to like the music, especially when you get into the action scenes.

Online/Multiplayer

There is no online multiplayer, however, there is a 2 player local co-op mode where you can play pool, darts, golf or bowling with a friend (this mode needs to be unlocked by meeting certain criteria in the game). The online component of the game includes an online leader board for a few of the mini-games: bowling, Boxcelios, Darts, Batting cages, and Table Tennis. As you play the mini-games, your scores can be uploaded to the servers, and from there, you can see the worldwide leaderboards and score-chase with your PSN friends.

Conclusion

At first I thought this was going to be a very small, possibly watered-down spin-off of the Yakuza series, but it really is a full-fledged Yakuza game. If I were to do an estimate, it will probably give you a solid 100 hours of gameplay, if you do all of the sub-stories, and if each of the four characters has roughly the same 23+ hours that the main character did (granted, I have not advanced the main story much, so my guess it is easily a 200 hour game to complete everything).

Even though the controls needed a lot more work, and it's lacking a customization option, it's still passable. Personally, I was worried about the whole zombie aspect of the game, because scary games freak me out too much; however, I am really surprised that this really isn't scaring me at all, and I'm really enjoying the experience.

If you have never played a Yakuza game, but like mindless zombie shooters, but don't mind a little action RPG thrown in, Dead Souls may be your entry into the rich world of Yakuza. The story line is quirky and cheesy at times, other times it's really top-notch; the mini-games and the diversions are almost full game in and of themselves. I really think that if more people would just try these games, they would discover what they've been missing.

If you are a fan of the series, like me, this is definitely a must-have. It really is a great diversion from the main series, and gives you completely brand new sub-stories and it includes everything you love about these games, plus a little more action than you would expect.

My Score B+
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great game, April 18, 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Yakuza Dead Souls (Video Game)
It starts off a little slow then picks up great. If you like Yakuza you'll love this. This is no run of the mill zombie killing game, it has substoires that a really funny and the sotry is interesting. Also you get to play as Majima and Goda.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SEEEEEEGAAAAAAAAA, March 12, 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Yakuza Dead Souls (Video Game)
Great game, Arcade style shooter reminiscent of the old Contra games, this is the only 3d run & gun that I came across where you really "RUN" & "GUN", absolutely brilliant in that regard but on top of that you get a great story, multiple characters to play as, tons & tons of mini games & side stories, I haven't scratched the surface of what this game has to offer yet but I'm telling you guys just buy this game, you won't regret it, check out the other games in the series too, this is one hidden gem that real gamers should not skip.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars slightly flawed excellence, March 22, 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Yakuza Dead Souls (Video Game)
I was looking forward to this game ever since it was announced and I have heard of the Yakuza series; but could never bring myself to playing them. All I can say is that after I finish this game I will be jumping right into those titles. Yakuza Dead Souls, to me, has just the perfect blend of action, story, zombies and hilarity rarely found in games nowadays. I am gonna stop right here to say that, yes, the controls, at first, seem horrible. You will have a tendency to play this game like other third person shooters and you just can't do that here. 10 hours in and I still have a hang up here and there when controlling the character; but only for a second. for example, one of the abilities that you unlock is to auto head shot an enemy. When I first started using this, I kept aiming at the ground or sky since you have to press L2 to use it and L2 is for precision aiming. Quickly learned to let go of the left analog when I use this and problem solved. you just have to get accustomed to the controls and once you do, you will be mowing through zombies and mutants in no time. There are several occasions where the camera, especially in tight places will work against you; but it's only a slight nuisance that will pass. now on to the game itself. I love the free roaming aspects of this game where depending where you are, you can see people going about their daily lives and text bubbles will pop up here and there letting you know what people are talking about. Not a whole lot of voice overs; but seeing as how in this game; everyone speaks Japanese with the occasional American or Chinese person thrown in here and there, the text is actually preferable. I also thought that the game, being all in Japanese voices would bother me in the cutscenes; but I have found myself to enjoy it even more. Makes it seem more authentic and I have no problem reading the subtitles. And there are plenty of cutscenes to go along with the action. Not to long and they are great on their own. I actually found myself chuckling at quite a few of them. The characters actually have personality here. whether they're a bumbling idiot, a total bad @ss, or a mixture of both, you will cheer them on, no doubt about it. There are also a bunch of side missions and little things here and there that peppered in to give you something to do so you can take a break from zombie killing. I started saving stores from zombies and lo and behold, I found an arcade right in the middle of the zombie outbreak and I stopped to play a arcade game right alongside other people. there are zombies outside and there are people in the stores going about their daily business. You would think that this would be bothersome; but when playing this game, you can't help but go along with it. Actually pretty funny. Sorry for the rambling; but I just wanted to get a little word out to people looking to see if this game is worth buying and to tell them, YES!!!! If you like action and laughs then Yakuza Dead Souls is the game for you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Yakuza + Zombies, March 17, 2012
By 
Susan W (Los Angeles) - See all my reviews
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Yakuza Dead Souls (Video Game)
If you're a fan of the Yakuza franchise by Sega, then this is a must.

You get to kill plenty of zombies and monsters, with a storyline weaved in.
Yes, sidequests are included.

Liked the new edition of gameplay where your kills gets tallied after each segment.
BUT, the whole running around and trying to aim controls is maddening.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inconsistent targeting is easily overlooked in this gem, March 27, 2012
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= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Yakuza Dead Souls (Video Game)
When I first heard about Yakuza Dead Souls I was a little worried. The best part about the Yakuza series is the story, and I feared that they were jumping on the zombie bandwagon (albeit late). However, I should have reminded myself about the multitude of games I have that has the Sega logo on the box, as there was nothing to fear with this iteration in the Yakuza series.

First, supposedly the game is not part of the official Yakuza canon. The way it's wrapped up (don't worry, the ending isn't cheap) it could be, but it's probably better that it's not.

Unlike the other games in the series the combat is focused on guns, instead of hand to hand combat / picking up weapons from the environment. However, after a short time (excluding targetting hiccups), the combat felt fairly natural.

Perhaps because of the change in combat focus, this game was also the easiest of the last three in the series. Recovery items are fairly plentiful, and I rarely found myself in a bad situation, and never died, during my 24 hours on normal (default) difficulty.

Like Yakuza 4 you play as one of four characters as the story progresses, but unlike 4 you're only able to switch between the four at will in the premium adventure. There's nothing really wrong with that, but I would have liked to finish up a couple items before I got the trophy for completing the game. However, premium adventure allows you to continue where you're at, so I can finish the items I started. Once the game is completed two additional difficulty levels are unlocked, one of which is supposedly extremely difficult, so there's plenty of replayability.

I'm quite honestly a huge fan of the series, so without a doubt the game gets 5 of 5 stars. There is an issue with inconsistent targetting, however, once you realize the issue you'll find it impacting your game very rarely, and you'll be able to recover from it fairly quickly.

If you enjoyed Yakuza 3 and/or 4, and/or like the sound of a third-person zombie killing game, pick up Yakuza Dead Souls!
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Yakuza: Dead End, January 9, 2013
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Yakuza Dead Souls (Video Game)
"Yakuza" is one of the most wonderful series to come out of Japan. It has several lovable characters, and some of the most tight fighting mechanics in any game on the market. Not only that, but it has a breathtakingly accurate depiction of several real-world locations in Japan. Sega was certainly in the right to bring over the third and fourth entries in the stellar series, and I sincerely hope we get to see more in the years to come. But just like some of the lesser "Pokemon" spin-offs, there are some things that should probably just stay in Japan. "Yakuza: Dead Souls", an unfortunately mediocre zombie game masquerading as "Yakuza" fan service, is one of those sad cases.

In a side-story that takes place after the events of "Yakuza 4" (limiting its appeal right off the bat), series protagonist Kazuma Kiryu is forced out of the beachside orphanage he runs due to his stepdaughter of sorts Haruka being kidnapped by a shady businessman-type villain. Concurrently, secondary protagonist Shun Akiyama is desperately seeking medicine for an illness afflicted his lovable and rotund assistant, Hana. Other playable characters include the unhinged Goro Majima and the legendary gangster Ryuji Goda. These are all characters that fans, like myself, know and love, but an average gamer hoping to pick this up and have a good time will be left out in the cold. Many in-jokes and references are dropped with little to no explanation, and without any context, none of the character dynamics will make any sense. Keep in mind this is a review strictly for people who have never touched these games before.

Oddly, the same thing applies to the gameplay. Players of the older games will understand instantly what the developers were trying to do, by blending the series' traditional exploration, side-missions and mini-games with zombie-shooting action. But anybody else who picks it up won't understand why there are humorous asides and quirky things to do outside of progressing the plot. Those being lead to believe this is a spin-off with different gameplay will surprised that this is a "Yakuza" entry with zombies and guns, nothing more, nothing less. For some, this sounds thrilling. For others, it won't make a lick of sense.

The crippling flaw here, though, isn't the confusing approach to the gameplay. It's the fact that the shooting mechanics are absolutely awful, a lazy mash of brawling mechanics and sub-par shooting. Players who don't want to use accurate aim will quickly realize that the character will run around in circles like an idiot, firing randomly. If that player were to use the aiming mechanic, they'd discover that the game does all the work for them by locking onto every enemy, oftentimes guaranteeing easy headshots. But if they were to want to work for those headshots with the fine aiming, they couldn't, because the fine aiming is one of the worst mechanics I've suffered through in a game. It automatically allocates control to the left analog stick, and doesn't lock in place like most games, so if you're walking backwards and start using fine aim, the camera jerks around 180 degrees and leaves you vulnerable to attack.

What's really annoying here is that the brawling mechanics, the one thing "Yakuza" should be good at, are essentially broken. Sure, you can pick up a lot of objects and use them as weapons, but why would you? Your character is just going to get stuck in a combo and not able to get out of it, meaning that if the object you're swinging misses its intended target, you're going to be left vulnerable to getting flanked. Plus, the control scheme allocates brawling to the R1 button, and it feels incredibly odd to start a session of beating things up with a trigger.

So, your combat "options" are essentially running down corridors and letting the aiming mechanic do all the work for you. Sometimes, it's so cripplingly simplistic that you'll be aiming straight ahead on a staircase, pull the trigger of your gun, and hit a target that is several feet below you vertically. That's right, folks, bullets travel vertically when you shoot straight in this game. Take this into consideration when you think about the fact that within the first 2-4 hours, you'll have taken out an upwards of 800-1000 zombies, and that this is a game that, at its very shortest, is reported to have 10-12 hours worth of gameplay, side-missions excluded. This means that, at a minimum, you could be fighting through 4000+ zombies with mechanics that aren't conducive to doing any aiming on your own. Is this really how you want to spend your life?

The graphics don't make a compelling case for the product, either. Usually, I'm pretty impressed by what this developer has to offer, but this time around I can only say "eh." Sure, the depiction of Japan in ruins is certainly cool and all, but the edges on everything are jagged, and the environments are incredibly limited. Not only that, but be prepared for some lag when there are a lot of zombies on an outside street. It doesn't help that when you're not outdoors, the dev team decided to lift templates from every zombie shooter ever. Brace yourself for some gray and brown sewers, followed by some grey and brown hallways, all tied together with some grey and brown basements. Seeing these worn level designs rendered with graphics that are already unremarkable makes for an experience that is none too pleasing on the eyes. Oh, and the zombies look pretty lame too.

What's really disappointing is how exceptional the acting is. It's a bummer because the incredible Japanese vocal cast is obviously trying their best to deliver compelling performances, and they succeed in doing so. The dialogue is sharp and funny, and the acting is some seriously great stuff. Not only that, but the soundtrack isn't half-bad either, albeit a little filled with generic techno and rock. So why is this disappointing? Because the rest of the game doesn't hold up at all. The actors and the composers have to hold together the gaping, bleeding wound the rest of the game is, and all they've got is some old duct tape.

While I've played worse games than "Yakuza: Dead Souls", this is no defense for something that is, at the end of the day, a really mediocre game. Many reviews on Amazon seem to be based solely on the reviewers' love of the franchise, and frankly, I don't think that's fair. Given that this is something Sega is now selling in a double-pack with the far superior "Binary Domain", it's obvious they think it can marketed to an average shooter fan or zombie lover. This is simply not the case. As a fan of the "Yakuza" franchise, I feel that this game is a really terrible thing to foist upon somebody expecting a zombie TPS, and could only be enjoyed by people who were really invested in the franchise.

As a piece of fan service, "Yakuza: Dead Souls" is good for some brainless slaughter while laughing with (and at) characters you've grown to know and love. But as a game for everybody else, it's a graphically inferior product with shoddy mechanics and challenge based on poor design as opposed to genuine difficulty. Overly simplistic and as brain-dead as one of the zombies in the game, Sega's latest entry into the franchise is a bit like decaffeinated coffee: a weaker derivative with too many differences from the source material to truly recommend purchasing.

Plot: 7
Gameplay: 4
Graphics: 5
Sound: 7
Overall: 5.75
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good game, April 5, 2014
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This review is from: Yakuza Dead Souls (Video Game)
i dont care what anyone says this is a really good game and i had a fun time i hope that they bring yakuza 5 to the US
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Yakuza Dead Souls
Yakuza Dead Souls by Sega of America (PlayStation 3)
$19.95 $11.98
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