So I'm 8 hours into Yakuza 3 and have just gotten to Tokyo. Y3 is a very janky game. The menus are a little convoluted, the map is very clumsy and dosen't give you enough info, the animations and controls are very twitchy and sporadic, the inventory management is horrible, the game features very annoying random encounters and technically the game isnt very impressive (especially coming right off GoW3).
Still I can't seem to get enough of this game. And I think it comes down to the incredible level of detail in your surroundings. You get that GTA feel but with a level of detail to the cities that GTA couldn't even dream of. Every square inch of your enviroment has been textured and modelled to feel like the real thing. Even down to the smallest sign in an alley or a brand of noodles in the convenient store. So the game is really at its best when you are just roaming around. Going to a bar, ordering a glass of fine whisky and playing a game of pool. Once you're done there you go to the arcade and game some of the night away at Club Sega to then go and pick up some food and maybe an energy drink at the nearest store. Along the way you might run into some sidequests that are totally unimportant to the main story but that also adds to the atmosphere of the environment you are in.
It is really loosing yourself to a perfecly modelled version of this city and going around enjoying it almost like you're a tourist that wins me over.
Now it should be said that the main story is actually really interesting so far. Its full of interesting characters and keeps you moving forward. It might be very dragged out and pretentious at times but it drives you towards bossfights with some really "original" personalities.
Combat is as unpolished as most of the game but its still very fun. It looks incredibly stupid when Kazuma picks up a whole sofa and swings it around at a guy with blinding speed like it was a katana or something but in the end its a flashy system that lets you do all sorts of cool moves.
There is certainly loads of stuff they can improve on here but this is really as close to Okinawa and Tokyo you can ever get without going there yourself. I like alot of Japanese culture. I would not call myself super into Japan. I don't read manga, I have a hard time getting into Anime these days and I don't try to live my life in a very Japanese way. I enjoy some Japanese music, I love all the food I've tried and I am fascinated by their society and gaming culture as a whole. And for me this is a very interesting game to dive into.
I do however already miss the Hostess Bar from the Japanese version...
I might do some sort of Yakuza diary retelling what I'm up to in the game. I think the game would be very well suited for that.