Yakuza 4

So, Yakuza 4 did get a NA release and March turned out to have fewer releases than I expected. Who else is planning to get this?

Switching between characters seems like a major departure, but perhaps appropriate since the engine and mechanics are showing their age (the delayed release didn’t help).

I was going to wait until there is a 100% confirmation of possibly cut content (like was later found out regarding Yakuza 3) and/or a price drop, but zavvi.com has it on preorder for 29.xx gpb ~34.xx €, as compared to nearly double that in stores, so I think I’ll consider that a price cut and just preorder it.

After all Yakuza 3 was great fun, more diversity in characters (in fighting style and their way of doing things (not all are supposed to be goody two shoes like Kiryuu)) should make this an entertaining game.

do you get to customize your body tat? cut off a segment of pinkie? Beat up liberal agitators?

I preordered it a while back, and I didn’t miss the cut content in 3 so I’m indifferent to that part. Very much looking forward to playing a game on my ps3 for a change.

Here’s what’s changed. Sounds like the fan backlash pretty much worked.

I expect stuff like Mahjong or Shogi will be a pain in the ass to play, but at least there won’t be any depressingly vestigial empty rooms like in Y3.

I haven’t been paying much attention to what’s new or what the story is. I did hear that they’re not cutting much if any content though. If it stays true to the Yakuza formula and I get to walk around aimlessly I’m in.

Though the franchise is known for minigames, I doubt the first two.

Regarding the third, you beat up approx 1/10 of Tokyo, so probably.

Pre-ordered from Game so I could get the steelbook edition. Glad they didn’t cut so much this time.

Kmart is having a deal where is you buy Yakuza 4 next week, you’ll get Yakuza 3 for free. Gonna try and swing this deal since I have been waiting for a price drop on Yakuza 3 for a year now. Not sure if it’s online only or also in-store.

Link to deal from cheapassgamer.com.

Disappointed they didn’t cut the regular hostess stuff like in 3.

I hate cut content as much as the next guy but going to the hostess bars and filling those heart meters on multiple occasions with answers to arbitrary questions is SO BORING.

Cannot wait though. Got a friend playing through right now for review and he says there’s a playable character who might even be better than Kazuma.

I kind of agree. Did not play any Yakuza 3 yet, but the hostess bar sojourns in Yakuza 1 were plenty painful, and I ended up never bothering after a few early attempts at them. Didn’t really feel much sympathy for the loss in Y3, despite normally hating cut content.

Though I did read about a few fanservice-based quests that tie into the older Yakuza games that were part of the cut content of Y3. That had me a bit annoyed. I also hate that I still haven’t played Yakuza 2 and we’re up to number 4 this week…

The cut mahjong parlors were what annoyed me the most.

And now, thanks to http://www.gamedesign.jp/flash/mahjong/mahjong_e.html, I actually know the Japanese Mahjong rules. More or less.

Hah! I was (trying) to play that game at the time last year, so I was looking forward to trying it in Yakuza 3 and was prompty dismayed when I found out that mahjong was part of the cuts.

Those Kmart deals are in-store only. I would jump on it but no Kmart within a thousand miles of me.

Those Kmart deals are in-store only. I would jump on it but no Kmart within a thousand miles of me.

It’s here, butt rock soundtrack install screen and all. Of course, I should probably stop messing around with sidequests and finish Y3. Stupid locker keys.

So Yakuza 3 is good? I might grab the K-Mart deal, since there is one near me. What are these games? Kind of like a better version of Shenmue?

It’s difficult to categorize them looking backwards since they are kind of a rare bird these days. The Shenmue comparison isn’t totally off, but I found that game series totally unplayable and I think the reason (apart from many notable differences in mechanics) is how it is paced.

In Yakuza 3 you will spend your time helping your orphans, fighting bizarrely moralistic battles against petty crime, and sundry other tasks in pursuit of a broader story arc that does for crime drama what Metal Gear does for the military thriller (and I mean that in both positive and negative ways). You can totally ignore most or all of the sidequests, but it still feels very retro in its reliance on protracted dramatic cutscenes. For the most part, they are very well directed once you embrace the charm of the experience and the soapy twists, and it almost feels like a whirlwind tour of Japanese neuroses and urban mythology, not to mention their views of “other” cultures be they Okinawan or American.

It’s got rpg components, adventure game components, and probably more dialog-oriented drama than you expect nowadays (although the decisions are infrequent in comparison to a western RPG and of questionable importance in the grand scheme of things).

The combat is crafted in the form of an old school 3d fighter with a low difficulty threshold but occasional difficulty spikes that can be surmounted with a little work on the fundamentals and perhaps bringing along some weapons to critical hit with when the opportunity comes. Of course, you also need to accept the premise that the Japanese are the most needlessly belligerent people on the planet who will fuel your random encounters over trivial offenses, and that civilians love to gather like a Street Fighter 2 flash crowd whenever a fight breaks out. But that’s part of the fun, and it has just enough player friendly aspects (full inventory because you overstocked on healing items? no problem, you can auto-ship the extra to your hideouts).

There is no way to describe this game accurately in a manner that is going to make it sound anything but ludicrous for most people, but it’s got so much going on within that absurdity that I think it’s surprisingly broad in its appeal once you get going. Many of the story moments and characters are deeply moving despite (or because of?) the landscape of strangely compelling cliches and melodrama. But the writing and the core fundamentals make it more than a sum of its parts, and I love the damned thing. Any game where boss fights are frequently heralded by mutual shirt ripping and flexing of lavishly illustrated yakuza tattoos and you don’t run screaming out of the madness vortex that ought to create has to be doing something right.

Anyway, I made it through the last two chapters last night, finally, after what seems to be about 6 months off since my last save, and find myself reluctant to finish and leave my many weirdo obligations behind. Still, time to move on to 4 at least.

It’s perhaps a little bit like Shen Mue, though Y3 is a lot less restrictive. You always have a free choice between advancing the main storyline or delving into an enormous amount of sidequests and minigames.

I really, really liked Y3, but it has to be recommended with strong caveats. The main storyline is seriously long winded and takes a long time to set itself up, especially due to it’s weird tendency to overexposit. The basic mechanics of the fighting system feel clunky and outdated. There are a lot of minigames and some mechanics - the weapon system, particularly - that aren’t particularly well designed but still left in, which leads to the feeling that the entire game is a little too big for it’s own good. Also, as mentioned, there are a number of cuts in the western version of Y3, but that’s unlikely to bother you if you’re not an ardent fan.

Still, if you can look past the somewhat dated veneer, you’ll find a lot of gameplay that’s been crafted with obsessive attention to detail. The storyline is, in my opinion, well executed compared to what you usually find in games. As dated as the fighting feels, there’s an enormous amount of moves to discover which ensures good variety once you’re used to the system. You’ll probably never want to touch the Golf minigame after the storyline forces you through a tutorial match, but I spent a lot of time figuring out Cee-lo and Cho-han in underground gambling dens. It all adds up to a world and atmosphere that you can’t quite find in any other game.