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Thoughts on Yakuza 1+2.

I've just finished a marathon of Yakuza 1 and 2 in preparation for the PS3 titles. Both are likeable games, but I've discovered the one gaping flaw that persists through both.

The combat system is perfectly adequate when facing multiple small-fry opponents, but it COMPLETELY falls apart in boss fights. Most of the boss fights are easy enough that the problem doesn't reveal itself, but if you find yourself without items and your health lower than three-quarters in some of them you'll see exactly what I mean.

In at least two of the boss fights of the first game, and one in the second, I found myself feeling as if I had to break the games to win. Trying to apply skill did not work due to how random these bosses were and how each one had unbreakable attack patterns, super-armour and unblockables. Approaching about 20 continues which constantly suggested I should switch to easy, I had to resort to tactics such as getting the bosses to run around in circles whilst I taunted to build meter, or deliberately getting my health in the red so I could get a boss in a Heat attack that lasted forever as long as I kept mashing square.

Far from being dramatic slugfests, the fights looked completely laughable and I could only despair at how badly designed these encounters were. Presumably you are meant to brute force them with health items. Bad design.

Hopefully the PS3 games solve this problem.

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