The cult manga goes Yakuza crazy

PlayStation Official Magazine (UK) - - CONTENT - @DaMisan­thrope

You wait for years for a Yakuza game, then they all come at once. Whether you’d count Lost Par­adise among them is an­other mat­ter. Stick with the English voices, and you could as­sume this is just the lat­est game adap­ta­tion of Buron­son and Tet­suo Hara’s cult manga. But switch to Ja­panese and you’ll in­stantly recog­nise that mus­cle-bound pro­tag­o­nist Ken­shire shares a voice with the Dragon Of Do­jima.

Both men share a tough ex­te­rior and un­shak­ing drive to pro­tect the vul­ner­a­ble from the vil­lains of the world. Lost Par­adise’s chap­ter-based struc­ture also un­folds mostly in a sin­gle city hub, com­plete with side-quests and other dis­trac­tions, while you’re oc­ca­sion­ally as­sailed by ruf­fi­ans who have no idea who they’re start­ing on.

The stark dif­fer­ence is that whereas Kiryu’s bru­tal lessons for his as­sailants are non-lethal, Ken­shiro’s mas­tery of the deadly Hokuto Shinken mar­tial art means he’s ef­fort­lessly mur­der­ing mo­hawked punks within sec­onds of the game’s open­ing, and the bod­ies keep pil­ing up – or rather, ex­plod­ing into a messy shower of gore.

If you find Yakuza’s slap­stick brawl­ing its least ap­peal­ing as­pect, this glee­ful ul­tra-vi­o­lence can be off­putting. Even as a guilty plea­sure, once you’ve popped a hun­dred heads with the same few QTE chan­nelling tech­niques, it quickly gets old, though tim­ing e presses just right to in­sta-kill en­e­mies with a ‘per­fect chan­nel­ing’ is the more ef­fi­cient way to go.


Yet while your over­pow­ered char­ac­ter can make com­bat a walkover un­til you reach the bosses with ridicu­lous guard re­sis­tance, it’s not with­out ir­ri­ta­tions. In crowded bat­tles, there’s an aw­ful ten­dency to swing at the wrong per­son (frus­trat­ing when you’re try­ing to tar­get some­one sus­cep­ti­ble to chan­nelling), while of­ten a strike prompt ap­pears, only to van­ish. De­spite run­ning at 60fps, there’s a slug­gish­ness to Ken­shiro’s move­ments, not helped by the game run­ning on an en­gine that feels an­cient com­ing af­ter Yakuza 6 and Ki­wami 2 in the same year.

But what’s re­ally miss­ing from Lost Par­adise is Yakuza’s charm. It does have its wacky mo­ments, par­tic­u­larly when Ken­shiro puts on a tux to mix cock­tails at the bar, which re­quires you to shake your DualShock fu­ri­ously, or if you de­cide to put your Hokuto skills to heal­ing peo­ple at a clinic via a frankly bizarre rhythm game. But you only need to a walk a block around Eden’s drab en­vi­ron­ments to see that it’s no Ka­muro­cho – and nu­clear fall­out’s not en­tirely to blame.

Things get even more for­get­table when you roam beyond the city walls in a dull waste­land, driv­ing a beaten-up dune buggy that’s only worth­while if you fancy lis­ten­ing to mu­sic from other Sega games. It’s a re­minder you could be play­ing far bet­ter games in­stead.

While you can’t grab ob­jects as weapons, you can bat­ter foes with their own death cries.


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