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Today I Played Taiko no Tatsujin With Virtual Gangsters

Illustration for article titled Today I Played emTaiko no Tatsujin/em With Virtual Gangsters

The Yakuza series of games have always been serious, testosterone-filled stories about hard men kicking each other's asses, broken up sporadically by mini-games, activities, and general fooling around. The latest game, Yakuza 5, is no different. As previously reported, Namco Bandai's Taiko no Tatsujin appears as a fully playable game within the Yakuza 5 game. So what's it like, playing a video game within a video game, a la Inception?


Surprisingly enjoyable, it turns out, after a brief session with the Yakuza 5 playable demo on display at Tokyo Game Show 2012. The demo basically consists of a cut scene and running from point A to point B with a few fights and then another cut scene, but during that little trip, that could have been no further than about 500 meters, there was a Club Sega arcade. Inside, right near the entrance, was the Taiko no Tatsujin machine. There were a couple of mafia honchos waiting for me on a bridge, but the drums were calling...

The game was pretty much the arcade version of Taiko no Tatsujin with two rounds of drumming for ¥100 in-game money with 3 songs to choose from at two difficulty levels apiece. Gameplay was simple and very fun. After I was done, going back to the Yakuza game was a little jarring. As fun as the drumming is, it does break the immersion of Yakuza 5 quite a bit. Still, it adds a level of variety and silly fun to an otherwise hard-boiled mafia brawler game.

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Pet peeve: When something has a perfectly good localized name and people still keep using the Japanese one. It's called "Taiko Drum Master" in the West and it has been called such for some number of years.