They haven't even released this title yet, and already Sega's showing off their upcoming Yakuza zombie-fest, and while that wasn't available for a hands-on demo, I made sure to at least try my hand at their upcoming PSP release, Yakuza: Black Panther.
I wasn't quite sure what to expect as most of the footage I've come across had been in the form of hand-drawn cut-scenes similar to the ones present in the recent Metal Gear PSP titles. So how did the actual game hold up? Read about it after the break.
Immediately after starting the demo, I was treated to the opening cut-scene, which, as I mentioned is in the form of an animated graphic novel. The animations looked great and the voice acting was decent. Unfortunately, they haven't implemented any English subtitles yet, so I had to guess what was happening.
From what I gather, the introduction depicts the protagonist killing a Yakuza by accident, and finding himself being hunted as a result. When the game finally starts, it eases you into the combat system, which is similar to the one present in previous titles. He also uses a unique fighting style which combines kick-boxing with what I believe to be Judo.
After tearing through the basic tutorial you escape a building only to find yourself in the legendary Komuro-cho, which they actually managed to recreate -- I actually hadn't expected them to do that given the space available on a UMD, but I was pleasantly surprised. After running into the occasional thug, I finally made it to the edge of town, only to be chased back to the center with a "chase" mini-game similar to the one present in Yakuza 3.
So basically, all the elements of the series seem to be in place. The graphics were impressive when scaled down, and in my opinion look far better than these screens might let on. The frame rate was also very solid -- something that seems to be fairly common amongst the recent onslaught of PSP titles to hit the market since Sony upped the quality of their PSP development tools. Finally, the trailer that followed the demo also showed off a few of the mini-games we've come to expect from the series.
Hopefully if Sega brings it over, they'll leave everything intact.