By DougCL 18 Comments
About 2 weeks ago, I finished up Yakuza 3, which was one of the games along with uncharted and MGS4 that motivated me to buy my PS3. I thought it had a very fun story with a lot of “ANIKI!!” and “OMAERA!!!” being shouted and a lot of suit jackets, shirts, and ties being ripped off with one hand before brawls ensue. I had a few criticisms by the end, like the combat becoming too repetitive by the final hours of the game and that after a while, Kamurocho feels a bit dead. One can only buy so many C.C. Lemons at the Don Quixote before the novelty of the Faux-Kabukicho starts to wear off.
So far Yakuza 4 has taken some steps in order to address those concerns in particular. The most obvious is the inclusion of four playable characters. I’ve only played with Shun Akiyama, the Hobo-Turned-Loan-Shark with a heart of gold (or a gold plated heart. this is Kamurocho after all, nobody is an angel). He fights more like a Tae-Kwon Do master than your more typical underworld ruffian. First off, his standard rush combo is already flashier than almost anything Kazuma Kiryu could pull off. This is a welcome change, and makes the game seem fresh instead of just another storyline stretched over an admittedly stale combat system. The other great change that I’ve encountered is that Kamurocho has been expanded vertically, adding new underground and rooftop areas to run about in. I'm sure I’m going to have to use these to dodge some heat later in the game, but for right now all I’ve found there are locker keys.
I look forward to more ping-pong, hostesses, karaoke, and grievous bodily injury. Only time will tell if Yakuza 4 can measure up to the government intrigue and Okinawan madness of the previous installment. i hope it does, because so far im pretty impressed.