TGS: Yakuza: Of The End First Look
Yakuza: Of The End / Sega / PS3
I’m almost ashamed I didn’t think of it first: Take the bright, energetic, exacting environmental detail of Tokyo’s red-light Kabukicho district as presented in Sega’s Yakuza games—they gave the district a different identify in the games, but one look at any given in-game streetcorner or light-crowded, eye-assaulting storefront and there’s no doubt whatsoever as to what it really is—and make it ground zero for the Tokyo, Japan branch of the Zombie Apocalypse. Absolutely frakkin’ brilliant.
– By Chris Hudak
Yakuza: Of the End eschews the purely brawler-cum-light-RPG approach of the Yakuza franchise, and instead goes full-bore with the third-person action shooter treatment. The JSDF and civic law authorities have done the sensible thing, and simply walled off the entire red-light district with massive, high metallic barriers. Apparently, the only ones bad-ass enough to deal with the big Z.A. are the Yakuza themselves. Characters Kazuma, Ryuji, Goro and Shun are packing grenades, M16s, sniper rifles and other guns (well, actually, Ryuji’s freakish cybernetic arm IS a gun), and they’re going getting Third Person Shooter on hordes of zombies…and when that isn’t enough, they’re even taking control of some of the tanks that have been left behind by the presumably-retreating JSDF forces. We also saw strong hints of four-way local multiplayer.
I still say the star of the show is the red-light district itself: Liberally utilizing tons of real-world Japanese businesses, chains, and brand-names in the constant visual signage-barrage amid all the virtual real-estate, Of the End‘s thinly-veiled environs have almost as much to do as the sketchy, tempting, real-life Kabukicho in all its seedy red-light glory (it’s all just opposite the train station from my hotel—gotta go do some more research tonight…). Mini-games, bonus activities, distractions and general extracurricular goofiness abound. Babes, pachinko, slots, darts, ‘hostess clubs,’ billiards, even golfing and fishing. Even with its Apocalyptic spin, this is clearly a game that isn’t afraid to have a little fun and a good-sized laugh at itself.
One more plus, clearly aimed soley at me, just to tip the scales: I almost fell out of the chair I wasn’t even sitting in when I saw the voice-acting sessions featuring, among the usual suspects, none other than actress Chiaki Kuriyama (Google her) lending her voice talents to the proceedings (if you’re blanking, she was ‘Gogo Yubari’ from Kill Bill–and before that, one of the hapless, horrified high-schoolers turned against her classmates in the cult classic movie Battle Royale). I don’t know if the pre-order bonus on this one is going to be a whole bottle of Suntory Whiskey engraved with my name—but at this point, it just wouldn’t even surprise me.