Yu Yu Hakusho: Dark Tournament PS2 Review

To be honest, we have never heard of Yu Yu Hakusho the bizarrely named anime series that this game is based on. However, for the purpose of this review, and especially for all you like-minded clueless types out there, we have done some serious research.

Yu Yu Hakusho follows the exploits of the delinquent Yusuke Urameshi, who uncharacteristically sacrifices himself to protect a child who is about to be hit by a car. With no place ready in the afterlife, Yusuke is instead offered a job as a Spirit Detective (which entails protecting Earth from demons) in exchange for his life to be restored, which is a more than adequate reward for his good deeds.

The game itself is a fighting game and perhaps the best comparisons to be made are with the Dragon Ball Z: Budokai games as both are based off anime, feature a cel shaded visual style and are relatively easy to get in to.

Characters only have a handful of moves and most of these can be pulled off with relative ease even by the most casual of fighting game players, suffice to say this is not a fitting arena for the more adept of fighting fans. These more hardcore fighters will have learned and memorised all the moves within little time, leaving them feeling unchallenged and seeking something more finger twistingly complex for their constantly bleeding thumbs.

The primary single player mode is very different from your average generic arcade or story mode that fighting games somewhat shockingly have had since their defining inception way back in the 80’s. The Dark Tournament mode is not only ample in length but also offers a surprising amount of variety, you’ll participate in knife-edge death matches, (which bizarrely don’t have a lot to do with knives) tag matches, team matches and more. A lot of people simply won’t have the patience for this however, as matches, even in the early stages of the mode can at times be ludicrously difficult.

The games visuals are little more than adequate; the eight environments that your skirmishes will take place in are all bland and not particularly interesting. The characters on the other hand are cel shaded, but the execution is bad, resulting in the characters looking as if they’re made from paper, which we very much doubt was the developer’s intension. The tag team mode is flawed technically speaking with a loading pause interrupting every tag, resulting in a frustratingly slow mode, which isn’t a lot of fun. The attacks of the characters also lack the impact and brutality that we worryingly enjoy so much in other games in the genre, which may very well have something to do with it being a kids game, but even so they could have made proceedings look just that little less weedy.

Yu Yu Hakusho: Dark Tournament is as often with such games, perfect fan service, but likely to be seen as nothing more than average by the vast majority of non-fans. Some casual fans of the genre may like the fact that most of the moves are pretty easy to execute, whilst Yu Yu aficionados will no doubt be satisfied with just having a game of their much loved show next to their mug, poster, action figures and whatnot. Everyone else should give this one a miss and take their fight elsewhere.