originals\ Apr 3, 2012 at 10:05 am

Tips for mastering combat and nailing headshots in Yakuza: Dead Souls


One of the bigger complaints circulating the web is the difficult controls in the latest Yakuza game. Along with the camera, they’re prone to problems, but they’re not as impossible to manage as many would have you believe — on the contrary, you can have fun playing through Dead Souls despite them. Below are some handy tips and tricks to help you if you’re having trouble making it through the game’s tougher sections. Share your own strategies with us in the comments!


  1. Reload at every possible second
  2. Use the right gun for the right moment
  3. Maintain an offensive posture
  4. Strafing is your friend; close targeting your tolerable cousin
  5. Know when to step back
  6. Watch for patterns
  7. Resort to melee only when appropriate
  8. Cheat ammo caches
  9. Keep your partner in back, not front
  10. Stock up for the battle ahead

Reload at every possible second

Even if you’ve only consumed a few shots, reload at every possible break in action. Sometimes a wave of zombies will rush you, and the more bullets you have to a clip, the easier it will be to fend them off.

Use the right gun for the right moment

Oftentimes you can conserve valuable ammo by relying on your basic handgun — or any weapon with unlimited reserves. Mod these guns a few times and you’ll even be able to take down zombies with one hit instead or two or three. Save the meaner guns and their stocks of ammo for tougher fights or suitable situations. For example, when you’re constrained by small rooms and narrow halls, the shotgun is probably your best bet for handling the hordes. Rifles can be used without looking through the scope, so they’re very helpful toward the end of the game. Be aware, too, of how much ammo you’re burning through and at how quickly of a rate.

Yakuza: Dead Souls - 1

Maintain an offensive posture

Keeping your gun raised when you’re moving through a building or similar enclosed space can give you an extra second’s time to react when you run into zombies around a bend or corner. In other words, that’s one less second you have to prepare for combat and one more second in your favor.

Strafing is your friend; close targeting your tolerable cousin

The strafe-and-shoot method of combat will serve you best in a broad range of scenarios. Close targeting with the L2 is another decent choice, but it leaves you vulnerable to attack because you can’t move around in this particular stance. Use it only when you’re relatively unthreatened and when zombies are coming in from afar. The only exception to this rule is when you’re squaring off against mutants or bosses. In that case, find a safe location away from minor enemies and take the risk. You’ll do better against baddies like Meatheads, for example, if you aim with precision at their crimson weak spots.

Know when to step back

Half of successful combat is knowing when to retreat to a better, safer vantage point. This could mean either moving to a place where you can bottleneck zombies through a doorway or running out of an encroaching circle of zombies so that you can fight them from the outside, where you’re less likely to get overtaken. When in Free Battle mode, sometimes the smartest option is to flee altogether. Remember, rolling at just the right moment (eg., before a Meathead slams its fists into the ground) and shooting directly at enemy weak points (listen for the sound of more effective hits) can save you trouble and time.

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Watch for patterns

Almost every enemy or boss in Yakuza: Dead Souls behaves according to a pattern. Once you determine it, you can lord over them without losing too much health. The only variables are the zombies — and when the game tosses more than one mutant your way. In these situations, knowing how to evade multiple attack types at once will allow you to survive. Deal with the most annoying enemies first and then move on to the ones that require more time and energy. For example, eliminating Cry Babies and Monkey Boys first can make combat much easier.

Resort to melee only when appropriate

You can use objects that are lying around as melee weapons, but they’re relatively weak in comparison to guns. However, swinging motorcycles and other large items, for instance, can clear out a dense mass of zombies. Other environmental objects are useful as Heat Scope targets, and some of these (again, think motorcycles) can be pushed around to a more convenient place for explosions … like at a Meathead’s feet.

Cheat ammo caches

You know those supply boxes that dot the city — the ones with the big ammo sign hanging over them? Even if your inventory is full, which it likely will be, you can cheat the system. So if a Staminan X is in the box and you have a Staminen X in your inventory already, just replace it and send the extra back to the hideout. Neat trick, huh? Remember to save scrap parts for modding (some of these don’t necessarily give the impression of usable parts) — every mutant drops an item when killed.

Yakuza: Dead Souls - 3

Keep your partner in back, not front

Partners operate most efficiently when they’re backing you up — anything less and they’ll rush into combat without considering strategy. If they’re behind you, they’ll fire off shots that will protect you when you need to reload, and they’ll follow your tactical approach more faithfully. Don’t forget to heal them before they have the chance to be incapacitated. When that happens, you’ll need a special item (Habaneron G) to revive them.

Stock up for the battle ahead

Devote as many Soul Points as you can spare to expanding your inventory slots — you’ll need as much space as you can get. When offered the opportunity to prepare before battle, take it and stock your inventory evenly with ammo and health. Consider which specific items you’ll need for the upcoming challenge. For example, ammo for the rifle lasts a good while, so you won’t need to carry as many rounds as you will for, say, the shotgun or submachine gun (which I used very little).

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Stephanie Carmichael Twitter: @wita
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