Mundane combat and a lackluster use of its characters prevent Yakuza: Dead Souls from capturing the energy and fierceness of its predecessors.
- Story has a few terrific moments
- Improving your weapons provides a rewarding sense of progress.
- Bland, frequently frustrating combat
- Fails to capitalize on its charismatic leading men
- Poor integration of Kamurocho's attractions.
Kamurocho has seen better days. This pleasure district was once a place where yakuza could relax and enjoy the simple pleasure of clobbering each other in the streets. Alas, those days are over. A zombie outbreak has shifted the focus of life in Kamurocho from brawling with the living to killing the undead. Unfortunately, the heroes and villains of earlier Yakuza games who take center stage in Yakuza: Dead Souls don't bring the same level of panache to gunning down zombies that they do to punching street toughs. It's initially entertaining to see Kamurocho turned upside down by this new crisis and watch these familiar characters facing an unfamiliar threat, but battling these zombies is a tiresome and frustrating process, and the series' signature charm is in short supply.
Don't let the fact that the box art displays four gun-toting heroes fool you; this is not a Left 4 Dead-style multiplayer zombie shooter. Dead Souls is a single-player, third-person game with a story that leaps from one familiar Yakuza character to another to another. You start out playing as Shun Akiyama, the fascinating moneylender who made his debut in Yakuza 4. But as pleasant as it is to see this likable character again, the narrative gives you too little time to appreciate his confident swagger.
It doesn't take long for all hell to break loose and Kamurocho to find itself swarming with zombies, and once that happens, the story becomes a cursory backdrop against which the slaughter of the undead takes place. It has its moments; the unbalanced way in which playable character Goro Majima actually relishes the outbreak for the sporting pleasure of killing zombies is unforgettable, and it all builds up to an outrageous finale in which series lead Kazuma Kiryu confronts a massive monstrosity and shares important life lessons. But these instances are few and far between, and on the whole, the story doesn't deliver the intensity and insanity that have helped make prior Yakuza games so memorable.
This might be OK if the new brand of combat Dead Souls introduces picked up the slack, but it doesn't. As the four heroes of Dead Souls, you must fight your way through the streets of Kamurocho, and although the Yakuza games have always been about brawling, here, it's almost entirely about gunplay. You run around in third person, blasting zombies out of your way to clear your path from point A to point B or eliminating all the zombies in an area to fulfill an objective. You can do this with pistols, submachine guns, rifles, and Gatling guns; when you're playing as Ryuji Goda, your robotic right arm can transform into one of these massive weapons.
Most zombies are easily put down, but they have strength in numbers, and you frequently find yourself being knocked down by their attacks. Every time this happens, you need to mash X for a moment to get back up on your feet, and getting stuck in a loop of standing up only to promptly be knocked down again is enough to make you throw up your arms in frustration and consider letting the zombies win. To make matters worse, being mobbed by zombies often carries with it the unpleasant side effect of a stuttering frame rate.
Even when it's not being so irritating, the combat is too basic to be enjoyable. When you're fortunate enough to have ammo for a gun that shoots continuously, simply holding down the fire button as you run up to zombies gets the job done with minimal effort on your part. You can stand still and switch to first-person view to target enemies' heads for more efficient kills, but it's rarely worth your time to do so. Despite spots scattered around Kamurocho where you can stock up on ammo and other supplies, at times you may find yourself needing to rely on your pistols to put zombies down. These pistols have infinite ammo, but each bullet needs to be fired individually, so combat becomes a tedious matter of pressing the fire button again and again.
although its not a brawler, I enjoyed this alot. And With Kazuma Kiryu, even though the controls are not the classic mano a mano, I always know that I still wanna Kick ass
I find myself smiling seeing all the trolls coming out and giving this game hell because of Carolyn Petit whose recent reviews of late have been nothing but off the mark on several different games. I personally think she needs a vacation or something because this game is fun super fun like going to a arcade and blowing a pocket full of quarters fun. Yes sometimes the gun play can get tedious and repetive but then again what game doesn't? Not to mention the yakuza odd twist of humor thrown into survival horror like arcade action. If your a yakuza fan don't miss this game its everything the main series has plus upgradeable guns its worth checking out.
I don't own the game but when I was at my brother's house this morning I started a new game and played it for 2 hours. It really is very enjoyable and will keep you hooked. 5.5 may be Carolyn's opinion but I can assure you that it will not reflect the opinion of most players. Buy it. I know I will.
It looks easy when compared with Yakuza 4-pistols with infinite ammo? I prefer using my fists much more.
I have not written a review for a game in a long time but I had to for this one because it definately diserved a better score. This game is fun fun fun, Gunning down hundreds of zombies Yakuza style!!! Frank West wished he could have did it like this.
I have to disagree with Carolyn on this review. I love the Yakuza series, and this spin-off is a worthy entry. Controls may be clunky, but they're nothing you can't get used to. The Yakuza formula still works great here and couple that with the wonderfully eccentric cast and you have a winner. Not everyone's cup of tea, sure, but worth checking out if you're tired of the usual military shooter swill.
Takes a minute to get used to the controls...other then that i love it!! Deserves more then a 5.5....common GS
I personally love the yakuza games and am fully aware that this seems to be a mediocre spin off.. but what yakuza fan doesn't want to run around as majima with a shotgun :)
typical mediocre PS3 exclusive. Just slap an only on PS logo on a box and its like the kiss of death. Terrible game.
ninjasung Posted Mar 22, 2012 11:02 am GMT They should get a English version which people are actually speaking English in the game. I get sick and tried reading the subtitles. You can read? You certainly can't spell. ;)
The game collectively is meant to be taken in as a sort of "what if" novelty. It's events don't impact the actual Yakuza game storyline whatsoever. If you like the Yakuza games, and you like to shoot zombies, you will no doubt have fun with the game as I am. Like a few people have already mentioned, gunning down zombies by the thousands is undeniably repetitive to a certain extent, but it's also really fun in this game's instance. Collecting materials to improve weapons, leveling up, and doing the side stories is a good time as well. So in short, if you like the actual Yakuza games and gunning down zombies is your idea of a good time, you should be playing this game already, anyone else it will be extremely hit or miss.
They should get a English version which people are actually speaking English in the game. I get sick and tried reading the subtitles.
Yakuza doesn't need spin-offs :( Sega should release the English version of Yakuza: Kenzan instead of making Dead Souls :/ I'll just play Yakuza 4 :P
@sleepnsurf "Japanese games are trash." It is possible that Western gamers (industry) are trash instead.
The saddest part is that the team pretty much got the gunplay spot on for Binary Domain - if we could've had a combination of the two...
I agree with the reviewers comments for the most part but the game is much more enjoyable than a 5.5. The game would have been awesome if it had the engine used by the Yakuza team - Binary Domain. Then this game would have been a 10/10 easily!
Mindless Zombie killing think with some Yakuza as protagonist. That's all I wanted and That's all I got; exactly what the game wanted to achieve. I have no complains about it.
Pfft.... review doesn't matter much to me since I'm still having a ball playing it. This is just a nice little fanservice version of the series to me, it's nothing to take to seriously otherwise. It certainly worth more to me rating-wise than a 5.5. Hey, at least GS enjoyed it more than ORC....... (ooooo, I know, not right but couldn't resist, lol)
Hopefully this is a spinoff and not a reinvention of the series. I sadly have the PS2 Yakuza games but I haven't played them yet. In that long queue of games I need to play.
It seems like this game was in part developed as a test bed for Binary Domain, so the shooting mechanics ended up being not very refined.
the yakuza games hardly get good reviews and its a shame its a great series and i am loving this game but dead souls is fan service game and thats the big problem with this game and regarding the problems with the combat i don't get that it works well for me
Does it matter what it scores ? This is my favourite game this year so far, play the game and make your own opinion people don't let a score decide for you, at least rent it.
I don't know, Carolyns points were all fairly accurate, it just seems the score doesn't actually reflect the comments so to say. Like oldgeezer99 i felt the quality was still there, and i too was giving it a 7. Regardless of the score, its an opinion from a pretty good reviewer, i would recommend the game especially since i love the Yakuza series, to be honest the biggest problem was actually the control scheme, Yakuza was never intended to be a shooting game, but the same mechanics with a shooting element did not really work for it. The gameplay itself is actually kinda fun.
What is going on with the reviewers here at GS they having their monthly issues or something.. They keep giving good games midcore or worse reviews makes me wonder if the same person is reviewing them all and just wants to mislead people and on top of that the fanboys who live off every word a reviewer gives will make it worse causing people to not play something which they would really enjoy. This is a sad shame. Its not the games so much that are going downhill its the few sites who review them that are linked together and dont want to look like the outcast and say its good when the others want to make it look bad..Not impressed guys be the black sheep play it and rate it for the true item it is not what the other kids are saying.. Plenty of great good score reviews all over the net.
addendum: the reviewer's points are mostly all well written and correct, so thanks for those. and the gameplay engine is showing it's age, would be nice to see more particle/lighting based engine like in battlezone or other new releases, in yakuza 5. if you're a fan of the series it's worth getting, kind of like soul calibur 5, it's not perfect but if you're a fan it's good to get.
I disagree with a 5.5 rating, I would say a 7.0 or 7.5 is more fair. I liked the sense of urgency that the city closing off posed, and the bosses (like the final boss scene) were memorable. The charm of hostesses, karaoke, batting, darts and other mini games are still there, and having guns instead of just tedious fist-brawling like prior ones was a welcome change of pace. I think it would help to have a new city for Yakuza 5, since kamurocho while familiar is tired now. The gameplay is reasonably good, I finished this game in 16 hours and had a blast. Overall a decent enough game, much more gameplay time than sp mode with recent fps releases, and replay modes extend that further. It's a great series, would be nice to get a new city. Majima was funny and Kazuma was good to play as always. I'd give it a B rating, not an A but certainly not an F. Too harsh rating... as a longtime Yakuza fan I'd say this was worth playing, glad I bought it, I'll replay it in years ahead as I do the others, it's fun.
:cry: Noooooooooooo! I still like it but agree with the bland looking city compared to how it was previously, though it suits the context.