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Yakuza Black Panther 2 hands-on preview (TGS)

By Heath | September 15, 2011 at 9:16 pm

I had a good, if technologically hampered experience with Kurohyou: Ryu Ga Gotoku Shinshou (Black Panther: Yakuza New Chapter) for PSP recently, so I was excited to give the sequel a go. This time around, the story takes place in Osaka instead of Tokyo. Having been to Osaka several times, I found this decidedly awesome. The Yakuza games have always impressed me with their attention to detail in the environments all around Japan, and Black Panther 2 took that to a new level as it imitated Osaka’s Namba district. I freaked out when I saw the giant crab. I was like “Holy crap I’ve been there!” That kind of stuff is always fun.

Speaking of fun, this second handheld Yakuza continues the trend of having the series’ best combat. Kurohyou being highly customizable, though, I at first had trouble controlling the pre-programmed Tatsuya. The demo had his fighting style set up as that of a boxer, whereas I went more of the grappling route when I played the first Black Panther. I was used to grabbing a bad guy and tossing him, but the same button combo in the demo grabbed enemies and…harmlessly pushed them away. His kick was as standing foot stomp, which I found awkward. I changed his settings and found it humorous that demo Tatsuya came programmed with the option to switch to a rather high level of “Pro Wrestling.” I figured what the heck, I’ll bite. The move my character did when an opponent was on the ground? A leaping legdrop that would make Hulk Hogan proud, brother.

Black Panther 2‘s demo showed off the energetic story scene that made the first game so memorable. It also included a chase sequence, with which the first game had trouble. It was surprisingly a lot more manageable in the sequel, so that’s something to look forward to. The areas are still very small and the camera angles still change frequently, but the difference from one angle to the next is not as radical as some of the others from the first game. This is a big improvement, and I wonder if the chase scene’s inclusion in the demo was something of a message to the many who disliked that aspect of the original.

Tatsuya is still a cage fighter in Kurohyou 2. The demo concluded with him preparing for a fight against a sumo wrestler. As expected, teh fight was a fun experience filled with just the right balance between realism and over-the-top Yakuza action. This sumo wrestler looked like Rayden from Mortal Kombat as he went horizontal and flew halfway across the ring at me. All in good fun.

The first Black Panther never made it stateside, and this one probably won’t either. Perhaps Sega would be generous and release the two in a collection pack for Vita? I am of course, dreaming.

Topics: Tokyo Game Show 2011, Yakuza Black Panther 2