[Eye for Imports] Ryu ga Gotoku of the End

The Yakuza series has always been known for its brawling gameplay along with the inclusion of Japanese nightlife, including things as boring as working part-time jobs or as exotic as hostess clubs. Sequel to Yakuza 4, Ryu ga Gotoku of the End has Kamurocho infested by zombies, giving a slight change to the usual gang filled streets. When it was first shown to the public, this game definitely turned heads at the change of setting. Now that it’s out, we take a look at it and see how well the series has taken to the undead.

Obviously, hand-to-hand combat is a terrible idea against zombies, giving this game a much heavier emphasis on guns instead of fistfights. However, it all feels a bit sloppy compared to other shooters. Players can either aim in place or strafe around with auto aim. Not only are these out of date, but it makes the game frustrating to play in the beginning, especially when there are surrounding hordes. Eventually, players will get the hang of the system and still be able to take down enemies, but the game’s battle system never goes beyond mediocrity. Aside from the bland zombies that every game has, this game has its fair share of more interesting designs. While subbosses look like they were pulled out from a pool of generic survival horror enemies, some unique zombies included skaters who fly straight into players at high speed and crying women who will constantly call for reinforcements till death. These are a bit different from what gamers usually perceive the undead to be, but they provide a good break from simply blasting lead into slow crowds.

With four characters to choose from, Ryu ga Gotoku of the End seems like it would offer a large variety, but only has a weapon or two that are unique to the characters. Although other games have set this same precedent, such as the two wildly similar characters despite their wildly different physical sizes in Resident Evil 5, it’s still off-putting. Throughout, characters will level up and gain soul points toward the purchase of skills and attribute upgrades. It all feels a bit overwhelming though as players have to decide between having more varied hand-to-hand combat or essential stat upgrades with the meager soul points provided.

On the bright side, despite a zombie infestation, Kamurocho’s various attractions are still around. There’s an underground casino, hostess clubs, and batting cages, amongst other things that fans are used to.  The variety in activities is the game’s strong point, along with its colorful, loveable characters. Sadly though, both of these strengths require a strong knowledge of Japanese for players to enjoy, making for an import unfriendly game.

It really is a shame. There’s so much detail put into the characters faces that every CG cutscene feels so real, it’s eerie. The music is fitting for almost every situation, from the dramatic moment one of the four protagonist charges out into a crowd of zombies or even when a boss fight manifests itself into a scene straight out of Resident Evil. Let’s not forget the voice acting, which the Yakuza series has always been known for. This time, the likes of Rie Kugiyama and fallen idol Aya Hirano reprise their roles. Not only are the returning characters represented by notable voice actors, but even the likes of Chiaki Kuriyama of Kill Bill­ and Battle Royale-fame have joined the cast. Presentation-wise, not only has the game kept all the elements fans loved, but also transitioned from a gang-infested to a zombie-infested Kamurocho quite well.

Considering that the Yakuza series has been one of the flagship products for Sega and has been brought over numerous times already in the past, the likelihood of this coming to American shores is pretty high. In fact, the last game featured all the nightlife activities that American gamers had missed out on before. Since that is the case, gamers might want to wait for its eventual release in the US, unless if they have a good grasp of Japanese. It simply isn’t worth it to pay for a Japanese-priced game to only get partial enjoyment of this game – and not the part that will stand out the most, either.


Posted on August 21, 2011, in Action-Adventure, Eye For Imports, PS3, Shooter and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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