By D_Bones 5 Comments
Here goes everything and by that I mean discussion about the game that I played the most this year without a doubt (although New Vegas may get close we’ll see) Yakuza 4! 92 hours of my life went into playing and platinuming this crazy game. But as per usual I will mention my motivation behind creating these meandering blogs. The main reason is being unable to partake in traditional game of the year lists and discussion because as a student with a budget I cannot justify spending sixty dollars on current year games. As such I am more frugal with my money and buy one or two current year games that are important to me (ie: Mass Effect 3) and the rest of the games I play are previous year games that have dropped in price. I just wanted to be able to share my thoughts and feelings towards the games I played this year with the bombers on this site. So on to YAAAAKKUUZZA!!!
I’ll start out with my usual how I got to playing this game! For some unknown reason Japanese games interest me, and I enjoy playing them to see the typically quirky Japanese shit in them, a la Katamari Damacy which I played the demo like 100 times (and to my shame have not bought the PS3 one). So anyway while talking to one of my more gamery friends (Peter on the site if any of you duders know him, also the guy who showed me Giantbomb so you have him to thank if you want me to stop writing) we talked about games we wanted to play but had never gotten our hands on. Eventually we swapped games, I gave him Oblivion (which I just couldn’t get into because of playing Fallout 3 and Dragon Age: Origins, felt I got my Bethesda and fantasy out of those) and he gave me Yakuza 3. I played the shit out of that game and loved that it was pretty much just a cultural guide to japan. All of the weird games and areas and characters made me really love that game. It had typical Japanese game issues like archaic menus and the overly used NOOOO or KAZUMAAAA!!! But still a great experience with memorable characters, story and I loved the heat moves and switching between Okinawa and Kamurocho.
Hopping into Yakuza 4 I was super excited to get more of the craziness that was Yakuza 3. While I liked many of the improvements made in this game I felt it wasn’t different enough and wasn’t as crazy as the third game. I really liked the addition of the three new playable characters, Akiyama, Tanimura and Saejima. That each character had their own play style was also pretty cool I would say Tanimura’s parry moves were the best gameplay wise out of all four characters but I still enjoyed Akiyama’s kicks, Saejima’s strength and charge moves and Kiryu being the badass that he always is (Sidenote, why in the FUCK isn’t Kiryu in Playstation All Stars!!?? He better be dlc because Japanese love along should put him there and then there is the fact that he is perfect for the set up. Really want to see his heat move supers.)
The stories of these four dudes comes together in a decent way with some of them shining more than others. For example the lazy loan shark with a heart of gold, Akiyama is really the standout here with Tanimura being the most forgettable (probably why he won’t be in Yakuza 5 if I’m right about that). Each character also gets separate sidequest options and minigames associated with them. While I thought the Akiyama hostess maker game was super weird and funny it quickly became tiresome and annoying (don’t worry though unless you are a completionist you barely have to play it). Most of the side missions are fairly standard and boring but there are always a few hilarious ones like the set of them in Yakuza 3 where Kiryu would run into a huge muscular tranny and have to run away. In this game I felt that there were less entertaining ones and more basic fetch quests although one in particular left me going what the fuck?? Oh yakuza I love you (it was the Saejima kappa one SOO fucking weird and funny).
The weapons are still whatever with the guns being powerful, rare and awkward as shit. I enjoyed that each character had special weapon heat moves particular only to them, for example Saejima would have a sweet and powerful heat move if he had brass knuckles on. I guess I should explain heat moves for people who don’t know. Heat is a meter that each character has that builds up when dishing out damage or receiving it. You can use your upgrades to purchase different heat moves and you can trigger them in certain scenarios. For example if I have full heat and an enemy is on the ground I can stomp them with heat. Or if I’m Saejima I can pick up a guy on the ground by the leg and spin him around knocking him into a group of other guys with my heat move. It is pretty much the only reason why Yakuza’s fighting system isn’t a complete boring wreck. Some of these moves are awesome and can be found by capturing Revelations with your phone (or by chopping a figurine as Saejima, lmao play this game!). Which are particular amazing moments where you catch the people of Kamurocho doing insane things that teach you a new move. I don’t want to spoil these cause they are hilarious but lets just say I got revelations through seeing, fighting couples, an upskirt and a panty raid. What other game can boast a thing like that?
OK this is getting long so I should talk a bit about the story. I found Yakuza 4 to be lacking the number of crazy story cutscenes that Yakuza 3 had so many of. These games are both incredibly memorable for these moments and in this game there was only one time where I was like oh shit (Saejima’s hitman moment). While I did enjoy the variety of characters to use in this game and their own personal motivations I really did miss running around Okinawa. I hear that Yakuza 5 will have like 4 locations and 4 characters so it will be closely watched by me (also new engine thank god because dudes didn’t look great, HUGE FUCKING HANDS). Yeah so even though you get the day/night cycle of Kamurocho after playing a significant amount of 3 I was a bit bored of this city and wanted more variety. Also this game I found had less soap opera moments (still many because it’s Japanese) the last one had evil twins and shit. So I played the shit out of both games but was a little disappointed overall.
Finally the trophy section. I did not platinum Yakuza 3 because their Minigame Master trophy required you to beat EVERY minigame in the game. It may not sound like a challenge but it was and so I gave up on it. When I saw that Yakuza 4 did not have that type of stupid trophy I went all in determined to conquer this game. Warning for those who are not crazy completionists do not play to platinum this game as it will infuriate you and lessen your enjoyment. I still love this game even though I hated some of the shit it put me through. For example completing Hostess Maker 100% was a pain in the god damn ass, a major time dump and sorta disappointing rewards. Most of the trophies are minigame or stats or difficulty related and I found that this games extra hard was more difficult than 3’s (I didn’t have that sweet golden gun this time) it was still manageable. Pachinko trophy FUUUUCK YOU! Pachinko is like this ridiculous Japanese slot game that it pretty much impossible to understand and took me forever to get enough understanding to get this trophy. It is stupid!!! Anyway enough of that. The ultimate skill challenges were also a fun distraction, which were difficult without being super frustrating. Over all completing this game 100% is not for the faint of heart and not recommended by me.
So to anyone who has read this far (maybe one guy hurra!) and has not played this game yet PLAY IT. At least give it a chance so that it can show you something nuts and charming which is how I would probably sum up this series. This game was a major time drain for me and took up like a month and a half of my summer. It was on the whole well spent. Play this game for the craziness but stay for the sheer amount of shit to do and see. Peek into the underground world of Kamurocho and be amazed and what it there. I’ll say it again try this game!! Or better yet start on 3. Alright duders I’m out for today hope you enjoyed and I hope to see some comments on this one. Yakuza 5 bring it on!