This is a random thought I had while playing Yakuza Kiwami: I was doing the fight through the Chinese restaurant and was fighting a number of chefs and Chinese mob goons in the restaurant's kitchen. As I was luring over a chef to slam his head into a stove and building up the right amount of Heat to dramatically disarm one of the goons something dawned on me:
Yakuza is the ultimate fight choreography simulator.
I've been a fan of the Yakuza games since playing Yakuza for the PS2. When I started playing the first Yakuza as a teen, a friend of mine happened to be over and from that point on I would never play it without him on the couch. I'd control the game and he'd watch it as if he was watching an insane martial arts movie. When I played these games I wasn't playing to beat the game's challenges, but to entertain my friend. I would look for situations where I could pull off the game's (oftentimes incredibly specific) Heat Moves not for their damage-output, but for their cinematic value.
Only when I was recently playing Kiwami did it occur to me that I was still playing that same way, even without my friend with me on the couch. I was having fun with the Yakuza combat not because I felt profoundly challenged at my skill in the game; I was trying to put together the coolest looking martial arts fight I could and having a blast doing it.
I started thinking about this more when I saw Dan play through Yakuza 0. His gripes with the combat definitely have merit, but I think the biggest reason that he never had fun with it because he was playing to beat the game instead of playing to put together rad looking fight scenes.
What do you guys think? Are there any other games you play for aesthetics rather than challenge?