Review by Liger Zero Cave Unit
"Yu Yu Hakusho didn't deserve this..."
When I heard about this game, I knew it would be a budget title that would be handled by a no-name developer. Boy was I ever right. There were many things pointing to this from the beginning including a company in Atari making it, the game being released about six months after it was announced, and it being made on a popular Anime series. (Yes, that was a crack at Anime based games in general)
This is probably the best part of the game. It follows the story accurately and uses cut-scenes to follow the Dark Tournament Saga. Yusuke Urameshi and his team: Kuwabara, Kurama, Hiei, and a mysterious masked fighter are forced to participate in a tournament run by greedy humans and filled with demons. There's action, suspense, and comedy. Once and a while, the cut scenes do get kind of repetitive and boring though. I'm glad they kept it real to the series.
The character models are fairly well done and all the menus look sleek and are well organized. However, there is no intro which was kind of a disappointment to me. The backgrounds are a bit bland and even though the background does get destroyed, it's not big or exciting to see. The character's in-fight animations and victory poses are horrid. They did a decent job on overall in the graphics department.
The audio in this game can sometimes be unbearable. The main theme used in the menu screen is not so bad, however the in-battle music sounds like a remix of the Pokemon battle theme. The announcer, Koto, talks so much that you can't concentrate on the fight (you can turn her off in the options though). When any normal attack hits an opponent, it makes a noise that sounds like you just got slapped over, and over, and over... When your spirit attack hit they make a small boom, but nothing stellar. Aside from the cut scenes characters don't say or make much noise unless using a spirit attack. The audio part of the game seem to have been completely overlooked by the developers.
This has to be the most non-responsive fighting game for the PS2. Not only are the controls sluggish, there's no way to cancel what you've already inputed if it's a combo. Eventually, you will get used to this though. The spirit attacks are simple to do but most of them are worthless. You don't have much control on what type of punch or kick you want to do like high, low, etc. In conclusion, the controls are lackluster.
The gameplay...It doesn't get much worse than this. The sluggish controls and the generic fighting will lead it to be one of the worst 3D fighting games for the PS2. Anyone can kill you with 2 easy combos and most can't be blocked after the first hit, some characters can kill you in 1 combo. Fights in general last for about 15 seconds or less. The spirit attacks are easy to use, but they do no damage whatsoever if blocked and most are worthless. It may take a while to realize but most of the characters fight the same and this game can become kind of glitchy during some combos. Another thing that annoyed me was that the screen blinks every time you land a punch and it looks pretty ugly. Overall the gameplay one of the worst aspects of this game.
The token mode is almost as entertaining as the rest of the game if you understand how to play it. No real reason to do both of the story modes more than once. The loading times aren't bad even though they last almost as long as most fights. Two major problems I had was how after about every fight you get a token and it slows down everything and another was during tag team matches, when you switch character the game has to load for about 5 seconds. You and your opponent can switch at any time during the fight and it simply gets frustrating. Most character's alternate costume is a recoloring of their original, only eight have truly different costumes. Another piece of evidence that this game was only half-complete was unlocking characters. How many games do you know that have a glitch that shows a white box instead of the newly unlocked character? Very unprofessional Atari
This game could've been great. Unless you are a collector of Yu Yu Hakusho items like I am, don't get the game. I believe that there are three types of people who will like this game 1. The hardcore Yu Yu Hakusho fans who are pretty hardcore gamer but uses excuses to slip away from the fact that this game is poorly done 2. The Yu Yu Hakusho audience that isn't really into games or is a gamer who only buys the hyped games or games based on series he likes. 3. The kind that don't care about gameplay and just care that they have the attacks from the series. If you are not one of these three stay away from this game like it was the plague.
Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 09/23/04, Updated 11/14/06
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