Riiiight. A zombie apocalypse, you say? Uh, huh. And something that looks like the by-product of a steamy one nighter between the Michelin Man and The Thing. What’s that? A man with a surgically grafted minigun for an arm? Okie dokie. And this is what game again? Ah, the fifth Yakuza title. You mean that gritty, grounded crime series about the Japanese mob? Gotcha. Wait, what? Yup, seems like Kazuma Kiryu’s games have finally lost their shit in the most spectacular, shark-jumping fashion imaginable.
Lets quickly recap, then. The Yakuza series has made its name in Japan as a vaguely serious, if quirky take, on the nation's criminal underworld. Sure, you could play the odd round of golf and beat commuters silly with traffic pylons. But when it came to the story, Sega kept things pretty much straight. So it's somewhat of a surprise to go from Haruka (the orphaned kid Kaz looks after) in a relatively run-of-the-mill hostage situation...
To this fresh madness.
Athletic zombies, no less!
And now, eh... men with massive guns for arms? Okaaaaay. Well, maybe it's just some sort of viral outbreak that's given Tokyo residents a rather feral appearance. And the man above... it's probably just a funny prop. Y'know, like those fake joke arms you can buy to freak folk out with when they think they've pulled your arm out of your socket. Yeah, that'll do. Really, when you think about it, you can pretty much easily explain all of the above with cold, hard logi...
Oh. Yeah, that's just a monster. And a monster that looks like it's been ripped straight from Resident Evil 2, if you ask us. Someone get Capcom's lawyers on the phone. Granted, the whole zombie outbreak thang is a little bit out there, and the disturbing tongue monsters might take a little getting used to as you casually explore inner-city Tokyo looking for hostess bars. But it's not as if there's some giant, preposterous Gollum-like creature rampaging the streets...
OH COME ON!
To put things into context, here's an actual screen I took for my Yakuza 3 Super Review earlier in the year.
Somebody call Websters, because the definition of jumping the shark has officially changed to 'man gives sound insurance advice to stranger on street one minute, battles 100-foot rock monster the next'. Don't worry, though. We don't think Sega has gone entirely mad... yet. If we were to guess, we'd say Yakuza: Of the End is most likely a non-cannon spin-off from the main series. Certainly, the last shot in the TGS trailer seems to hint at the possibility of four player co-op.
At any rate, the latest chapter in Kaz's tale will be hella different to what's come before, because there's no way we can see his semi clunky fighting moves and different dialogue choices besting that Michelin Man thing.
Sep 17, 2010