Yakuza Black Panther (2010) PlayStation Portable | Game Review

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2 years ago

If you’re lucky (or unlucky) enough to bump into the real-life Yakuza, you’ll notice they’ve moved on since the days of sharp suits and punch perms. They’re still covered in tattoos, but today organized crime in Japan is carried out by tracksuited hoodlums who hang around discount stores where you can buy cut-price cup noodles.

So this entry in Sega’s long-running racketeering RPG is at the cutting edge of criminal fashion, with its hot-headed young hoodlum, Tatsuya Ukyo, looking resplendent in a gold-embroidered hoodie. It’s not just the look that’s changed: this is also the first Yakuza game for PSP.

But despite his new threads and platform, Tatsuya and his fellow gangsters get up to all of the series’ old tricks: wandering through the streets of Shinjuku, smashing up anyone who gets in their way, stopping only to play a quick round of pachinko or pick up a pretty bar girl.

The most striking thing about the game is that it doesn’t feel like Sega has made any substantial compromises to fit it on Sony’s handheld. This is Yakuza in total – with sumptuously accurate streetscapes, engaging combat, and many side-quests and mini-games.

There are technical concessions, but in general, they’re cleverly masked: when the world is this well-detailed, fixed camera angles are hardly a significant imposition, and cut-scenes have been replaced by semi-animated storyboards of the scratchy art variety that you see in any self-respecting PSP title.

In any case, the compromises are outweighed by the new bits, from the tag-team multiplayer contests to the introduction of umpteen different fighting styles for you to hone. If you don’t speak Japanese, you’ll have a hard time following the story, but it is just about doable – and worth it for a piece of PSP’s bloodiest brawler.

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Avatar for patientgamer9
2 years ago

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