Please imagine, if you will, the Grand Theft Auto videogame series — imagine GTA4 in particular. You’re Niko Bellic, running around committing crimes, causing mayhem, exploring Liberty City, doing all the ridiculous stuff that Rockstar allows you to do. Now, imagine you’re in the middle of the game, on your way to becoming a major crime lord or whatever — and that’s when the zombies attack. You might be tired of zombies in general, but you’d have to be impressed by Rockstar’s willingness to subvert expectation, fuck with their best-selling series, and just be weird.
Not that Rockstar is doing this with Grand Theft Auto. Sega is doing this with its acclaimed Yakuza series.
Yes, Yakuza 4 — or as it’s now being called, Yakuza: Of the End — starts like the other games in the series, with players as as a low-level Yakuza thug trying to work their way up in the organization, running a beautifully detailed and seedy underbelly of Tokyo, robbing shit, busting kneecaps, and messing around with myriad gambling options and visiting hostess clubs. And eventually, the dead start rising from their goddamn graves.
I’ve gotta admit; I’m impressed. I’m stunned at the big balls on Sega to take a chance like this, and I love the idea of a game that is built around there not being zombies — suddenly getting overrun with zombies. That just sounds awesome to me. Look, if you don’t believe me, watch the video and see for yourself — see all the shit you can do before the first zombie even shambles onto the screen. Nice one, Sega. You can’t make a Sonic game for shit, but you’re certainly willing to experiment.