Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Yakuza Fury (PS2)

I know what you're thinking, and for a long time, I thought the same: this game must be a mockbuster for SEGA's Yakuza series, right? But, in researching for this post, I found evidence to the contrary! The Japanese version of this game (Simple 2000 Series Vol. 72: The Ninkyou) was released ten whole months before the Japanese release of the first Yakuza game. Even more surprising is that if GameFAQs is to be believed, even the European release of Yakuza Fury preceded the Japanese release of Yakuza! So it's just a coincidence that there's a low budget game with a similar genre and similar themes to a massively popular high budget game.

Having played a lot of Simple Series games at this point, I can confidently say this one follows the formula to the letter. It's a simple action game (in this case, a beat em up), with stuff to grind for, and long boring cutscenes that have all the voice acting removed from the European version. It even has a low poly rendition of a contemporary Japanese suburb, like so many other low budget PS2 games have! Anyway, the game's split into two parts, essentially: the story missions, where you go to a place, and keep beating people up until you get to the boss fight, and the free-roaming bit. The free roaming bit is actually the least interesting: you can wander around a few streets of the aforementioned suburb, where enemies will constantly run in from the sides of the screen to attack you. There's also a few people standing around that you can talk to, though the enemies don't stop attacking you while you do.

The point of fighting the endless hordes of enemies is to collect the coins they drop so you can buy items of clothing at the shop (an interesting little detail is that the girl in the shop is wearing a t-shirt featuring the main character of another Simple game, The Splatter Action/Splatter Master). They offer minor benefits, but the most important ones to buy are the hakama trousers, which give you an incredibly useful (to the point of almost breaking the game) healing ability, and the eyepatch (listed here as "bandage"), which looks really cool. When you get bored of this, or you've bought every item in the shop, you go and find where the next stage starts, watch a boring cutscene, then beat everyone up in the stage.

I'm not just saying that the cutscenes are boring because I hate cutscenes (though I do, as you know), but because they are the most lifeless, generic gangster nonsense you can imagine. None of the characters have any personality and nothting in the story is remotely interesting. Or maybe I've just been spoiled by the incredible story and characters in the Yakuza games (I know it's not fair to keep comparing them like this, but it's also very hard to avoid). The combat is also unexciting. You get a simple punch combo, which you can end with a kick, and you also get throws, which are so short range and slow that you'll probably never get one to actually connect.

I hate being so negative when reviewing a game, but Yakuza Fury is just an incredibly bland nothing of a game, that's not even bad in an interesting or unique way. It's just plain old mediocre tedium. Don't play it.

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