Zombies should make whatever their icy, undead fingers touch far better — in principle, at least. Embracing the cerebral cortex-chewing side of existence, apocalypses, mansions of the dead, and, most significantly, strippers have all been enhanced.
It turns out they can also breathe fresh life into quirky Japanese crime melodramas. Although, sadly, not even our old pal Dead Head Fred could fully redeem this increasingly clunky series.
Ever played a Yakuza game before? That's a big shame. The previous PS3 titles were action RPGs stuffed full of excellent cut-scenes, trips to semi-naughty hostess bars, and melee combat that usually saw your mob man throwing settees at narked-off business people. Dead Souls roughly follows that template. It just also happens to chuck in a teeny-weeny zombie apocalypse into your downtown Tokyo adventures.
Replacing the meaty, if professional, fisticuffs with gun-based undead genocide is inarguably a shark-vaulting move. Happily, it works to a degree. Pistols, machine guns, and even a massive Terminator gun can be fired with R1.
Although there's a functional auto-aim system, stiff, confused strafing sadly makes much of the combat a brainless chore. Things are at least spiced up with simple squad commands when you amass a posse later in the game. Plus, you can detonate explosive canisters in sniping mini-games for mass-murdering fun.
However, it's difficult to see beyond the incredibly fugly engine. While the numerous cut-scenes are visually appealing, the in-game graphics appear like a glorified PS2 game. Despite its shortcomings, Dead Souls allows you to combat many enemies with the help of a friendly loan shark. It's Dead Souls' ludicrously weird appeal that elevates it above the sum of its reanimated pieces.