Mafia Wars: Yakuza
If you're disappointed about the lack of Yakuza-related drama in your life, boy has DChoc made the game for you...
Digital Chocolate seems to have a number of successful franchises in its catalogue. The Racing Fever series was one of its earliest, and is still going strong after moving into 3D territory with Racing Fever GT and Moto Racing Fever, as well as sports and casual titles such as Street Soccer and the Minigolf series. One of their best known, though, is the Mafia Wars series. The first self-titled game was a hit all round, and had you shooting cronies in Italy, gaining critical acclaim from several journalists, and the sequel was just as successful. Now, Digital Chocolate have decided to move thousands of miles away from Italy for the latest game in the series, Mafia Wars: Yakuza.
Mafia Wars: Yakuza puts you in the shoes and swanky white suit of Snow Dragon, the adopted son of the Oyabun (boss) of the Yakuza. The Oyabun is murdered mysteriously, and Snow Dragon's brother, Aki, frames him for the deed and turns the entire mafia against him. Snow Dragon now only has one ambition: to kill Aki and clear his name.
The developers have chosen to use graphics and sprites similar to their recently released strategy title, Nightclub Empire. The result is that while they look somewhat like cartoony caricatures, they are considerably more detailed than the previous instalments in the series. Since most of the action takes place at night not many colours are used, but this allows for a larger playing space and much more fluid motion. Animation is excellent, without a single pause throughout the game. Sound is limited to music, unfortunately. The lack of sound effects is somewhat of a bummer.
The game's story mode features just seven levels, which is admittedly usual fare for Digital Chocolate's action games. Each level consists of an outdoor section, and an indoor section. The indoor areas are made up of one or more floors full of enemies and things that smash, catch on fire and explode. One of the best new features in this game is the fact that enemies are shot automatically, which means you are free to move around and dodge gunfire while attacking.
This makes the game much more fun to play. Every few levels or so, you are faced with a boss, who varies in size, speed and power. Unlike the previous games, you are given a choice of four different weapons to use, varying from SMG's to shotguns. Apart from story mode, there's also the "tower of destiny" mode, which is a 110 level affair where you fight through each floor to eventually reach the top, or die in the process. For this, you can post your high score online on the Digital Chocolate leaderboards.
Mafia Wars Yakuza is a blast to play, although I do wish the story mode offered more longevity. Still, the story itself is surprisingly compelling and the tower of destiny mode will keep players entertained for a very, very long time. The improved graphics and art style are just icing on this already-tasty cake.
What's Hot: Different from previous versions, more weapons, better interface, excellent new combat system, great graphics and music.
What's Not: A bit slow at times, not enough levels in story mode