My buying finger is hovering over Yakuza, but I'm being put off a bit by reviews talking about the combat grind and just too much fighting in general.
How are people enjoying it? Too many fights? Are the fights too long? Too early to say?
If I had to pick one line of games that were the only things I could play until I died, it would be Yakuza. So with a grain of salt: It’s pretty great so far. I’m not super deep but honestly I love that this game finally admits it’s been a JRPG the entire time. I have never loved the combat in the old games. It felt “slippery”, where I couldn’t always target who I wanted and I felt like I couldn’t always predict enemy attacks.
Traditionally, the number of random attacks will definitely increase as the game goes on. These don’t take THAT much longer to complete and the timing-based damage and blocking and stuff does keep me paying attention. I feel like there are usually sections in a Yakuza game where you’re going to grind and I would honestly probably rather grind with this system than the old one.
Everything else though, is great - aside from the intro which is EXTREMELY long and has WAY more cut scenes than I would like before it releases you to just, you know, “Yakuza it up”. Ichiban is pretty good as a foil to Kiryu’s level-headed seriousness, and even to Yagami’s earnest desire to be a good detective in Judgement. I am loving the multiple-layer murder mystery and I am SO excited for a lot of the upcoming side businesses and stuff.
Then again, keep that grain of salt - I paid for the fancy-pants digital version because I really couldn’t stand the idea of not having ALL the karaoke songs, so YMMV, of course ;)
No shame in waiting if you want to wait, but you definitely have to deal with the sudden shift in combat from real-time brawling action to turn-based JRPG style. Only 3 chapters in myself but there seems to be a weird mix where some mob enemies take like 3-4 turns to beat but a couple minibosses with some cutscene buildup I was able to beat in literally one turn. Not that it's a bad thing, just takes some getting used to.
I will say the "mage's" special attack of scattering birdseed to summon a flock of pigeons on an enemy was hilarious. Looking forward to seeing how other party members work.
There are a lot of fights, but that's always kind of been the case in Yakuza. At least they're pretty quick, and the goofy Dragon Quest homages spice it up. It can take a minute to get used to stuff like the timing and lack of movement/camera control during combat but the actual combat system does a decent job of mixing the Action elements of previous games with JRPG battles.
I don't think it's any more of a grind than previous games, but I haven't gotten too deep yet. You do have a character level and a Job level, as well as multiple characters so I can see that being the core of those complaints later on.
Everything I've heard points to the combat being pretty accessible at the start, but near the end it escalates in a pretty shitty way. Where you aren't really figuring out combat puzzles, but rather being forced to grind to get to the right level for the fights.
In my own experience, I've been anticipating that shift. I've been taking on any fight that comes my way, and spending a few minutes exploring the areas I'm in during story beats. I figure it'll feel a lot less like grinding if I'm doing a handful of extra fights throughout the game than 15 hours of it in the last act. I haven't run into an issue yet, but I'm not far.
It's also entirely possible that the game will get patched to adjust this stuff. The complaints about that stuff have been pretty loud, and it doesn't seem like it'd be unreasonable for them to adjust the numbers. So maybe by the time you're in your 60th hour and getting to those sections, it'll have been fixed.
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