|Release: March 13, 2012|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Alcohol|
The biggest downfall of Dead Souls is the outdated Yakuza graphics engine. While games like Dead Rising worked hard to create an engine that can display tons of zombies on screen at once, Dead Souls uses the same engine that Yakuza 4 ran on and hopes for the best. Sadly, the best just isn't good enough. Any time you are fighting more than five or so zombies at once, the game starts to slow down. Sure, it's fine as long as you are running away, but once you start shooting the zombies up and blood effects start spattering everywhere, the game slows to a zombie-like shamble. The game actually froze on more than one occasion. In fact, graphical glitches were so common that I sometimes had to cut back on my zombie-slaying for fear that the game would freeze again if I was any more effective.
The biggest problem with Yakuza: Dead Souls is that it's not really doing anything we haven't seen before in other Yakuza games. The zombies are essentially poor replacements for the gangsters we've seen before. They show up with the same frequency and you take them down with the same button-mashing tactics that you're used to. The side quests and minigames are practically untouched from previous Yakuza titles. Sure, they are built up around the premise of "help rebuild the city," but you are basically doing the exact same things you did in Yakuza 4. The story isn't very compelling either. Haruka gets kidnapped again and you have to save her, except this time there are zombies. That's it.
Overall, Yakuza: Dead Souls really only survives on its novelty value. That's not necessarily a bad thing if you are a longtime Yakuza fan. If all you really want to do is see your favorite Yakuza characters acting like cartoony parodies of themselves during a zombie apocalypse, then this is the game for you. For the rest of us, you won't lose anything by passing this game over. If you are a newbie and you want to get into the Yakuza series, pick up Yakuza 4 instead. It gives you a much better feel for the franchise than Dead Souls does. It just goes to show that zombies don't necessarily make everything better.
Angelo M. D'Argenio
Date: March 13, 2012