The heart of Kamurocho, the fictional red light district based so closely on Tokyo's Kabukicho, lies in ruins.
Ravaged by legions of shambling undead and crushed by the army's failed clean-up attempt, it's been quarantined behind huge steel fences that keep the zombies in and the rest of the world out.
Of The End is the latest bizarre entry in Sega's epic crime drama that's brought Japan's underworld to life in seedy shades of sex, violence and humour. But this time, it's also a zombie game - one where gang members must save Japan from an undead onslaught.
The destruction of Kamurocho, the sandbox city so vividly realised in Yakuza 4, feels more poignant than it might in another zombie title. Not only have we explored its every hostess bar, convenience store and casino in previous games, but after the real devastation of Japan it's sobering. And when March 11's tsunami washed away whole towns, guess who was first on the ground to help survivors? The government? The army? In many cases, it's reported, it was the Yakuza.
It's impossible not to think about this as you control Shun Akiyama, the first of four playable characters, as the zombie holocaust unfolds around you, communications go down and the death toll begins to rise.
Of The End is a major departure for this uniquely physical crime series. OK, it retains many of the things that made the previous games so great - a rich story told with humour, a detailed portrayal of one of Tokyo's sleaziest nightspots complete with real-world shops and products, gorgeously animated and acted cutscenes and even, surprisingly, the cast of recent games.
That's rumpled-cool loanshark Shun Akiyama, ex-gangster and series main man Kazuma Kiryu, the eye-patched Majima family-head Goro, and the gun-armed Ryuji Goda. But Yakuza is, for the first time, not about martial arts. Of The End is an action shooter.
The tech is recycled from Yakuza 4, but tweaked to accommodate gunplay. You aim your shots with R2, or simply run and gun by bashing square and letting the auto-aim do its thing. It's more Dead Rising than Resident Evil, arcade action where scores of zombies stream from doorways, drains, bridges - everywhere.
Mow them down and chain up combos; the higher your score, the more Soul Points you accrue. These are then used to level up fighting moves, fire-power, armour, inventory capacity and so on.
For a shooting game, there's not much variety in the armoury. Each character has his own preferred weapon: Akiyama favours dual pistols, Majima packs a super-powered shotgun, Kiryu plumps for an assault rifle and Goda, well... his whole arm transforms into a Gatling gun.
Obviously. But where does he load all the bullets? You can pick up a few new firearms and upgrade, but if you're hoping to amass an arsenal, this isn't the game for you.
Happily, as before you can also grab nearby objects as weaponry, and find yourself bending a bicycle, fuel drum or potted plant over the skulls of wrongdoers. Here it's brilliant for crowd control, for clearing a space around you before you open fire, and it lends the game a unique hybrid dynamic. Flamethrowers, chainsaws and fire extinguishers are less common but more deadly.
You also have a Heat Gauge, which creeps up a little with every undeadoffed. Fill it and certain objects - the gas tank of an oil truck, steam pipes, high-pressure canisters - can then be targeted with a stab of triangle and blown up with a Heat Snipe QTE, decimating crowds of zombies at a time.