A pretty good fighting game based on the anime series, the Dark Tournament saga.
I've waited a while for a PlayStation 2's Yu Yu Hakusho game, and now there is one. The game is based on the Dark Tournament saga. It includes all of the main characters: Yusuke, Kurama, Kuwabara, Hiei, and the Masked Fighter Genkai. The game has many modes to it: story mode, an advanced story mode, two-player mode, Token Battle, and an arcade mode.
When in Dark Tournament Mode (story mode), they use anime clips from the show to tell the story. The story follows the show very closely and I think fans of the show will be very pleased. But for a fighting game, the controls are kind of sluggish. The story mode portion of the game starts off with Yusuke training with Genkai in preparation for the Dark Tournament. She tries to get you used to the combat moves and the spirit moves. This part of the game is nicely done. They even did a good job of getting Genkai's hard attitude into the game. She yells at you when you mess up and gives slight praise when you pull off a nice move/combo. After your training with Genkai, it's off to the Dark Tournament. The Dark Tournament follows the show to a tee. You fight all of the teams that gave Yusuke and the others a hard time. They even set up handicaps in the story mode like they had in the show such as when Kurama fought two battles in a row. They also have the knife fight battle between Chu (the drunk guy with the mohawk) and Yusuke. Of course, at the end of the Dark Tournament you face Younger Toguro (the big one with the muscles). And let me tell you he's no cake walk, he is pretty tough.
After the training is done, you head off to the ship that takes you and your team to compete in the Dark Tournament. I have to say that they did a pretty good job with the game's AI system. You could button mash your way through the game, but you won't have much fun if you don't use the characters the way they were depicted in the show. From the fights on the ship to the battle between Younger Toguro vs. Yusuke, you'll get the whole Dark Tournament story.
The skirmish mode is the two-player mode. In this mode, you can either have a one on one battle with the computer or a friend, or a five on five battle. The way that five on five battles take place is for you to first choose any five characters that are available, select the handicap settings, then pick the area you wish to battle in. In the middle of a fight, if the character that you are using becomes weak or you want to save him/her to fight later on in the battle, press the R3 button and the next available character comes out. If you happen to lose with the fighter of your choice, the next character comes out in his/her place to finish where the last fighter left off. A pretty good system indeed, no complaints about it.
Token Battle is a card game of tokens that you collect after every match and such. It's like playing Chinese checkers and Pokémon cards. It's not too difficult to learn. You choose from three of your decks. The decks are built up from tokens you earn through out the game. You can put the tokens you earn into any of the three decks by pressing square, triangle, or circle. You then select the tokens you wish to use in the token battle. The token battles are kind of quick if you know how to play. But the game forces you to learn how to play token battle whether you like it or not.
The arcade mode is also pretty good. You can pick who you want to fight at the end of the arcade mode. Depending on how many characters you have unlocked, those are the ones you can choose from. As you advance to the top in arcade mode, of course the characters get harder. And let me tell you, I don't know what it is about this game, but for some reason no matter what difficulty you have the game set on, if/when you run into Younger Toguro, he always seems difficult. You can basically win the match by either defeating your opponent or getting a ring out. The ring out setting is controllable in the options menu, if you find yourself on the short end of the stick by getting yourself thrown out of the ring.
Now the graphics in the game are ok.They are 3d cell shaded.The characters look pretty good and their moves look great.The desingers of the game did a great job with the backgrounds.In the tournament area let says if the enemy blocks your spirit attack,it will reflect off of them and hit the spectators in the backgorund. This will also happen if so happen to miss your target in the ring.The spirit attakcks look alot like they do on the show,Hiei's Dragon Of The Darkness Flame is highly impressive,first you hear Hiei yell out "Dragon Of The Darkness Flame",then you see the dragon appear and depending on how far the enemy is away from Hiei you will see the Dragon sprialing around the ring till it hits it's target.As for the sound everyone's voice sounds like it does on the show.Each time you do a signature move the character yells it out,and the graphics and sound work pretty well together in this area like when Kurama turns into Yoko Kurama and you can not only see but hear the area around Kurama filling with mist,and once the mist clears Yoko Kurama appears,when your time runs out for the transformation rose pettles and smoke come round Yoko Kurama and he will turn back into Kurama(its nicely done fan will be pleased).
Yu Yu Hakusho Dark Tournament has a lot to it, including many extras. For a fighting game, it just may keep you busy for a while. If you are a fan of the show, you will find a few flaws, but end up not even noticing them after a while. For non-fans, you'll either like it or it leave it.