Yakuza 4 (2010) PlayStation 3 | Game Review

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2 years ago

It might surprise you, but Sega’s semi-open world felony-’em-up is a bit like Final Fantasy. There’s leveling up fun to be had with your four playable, snappily-dressed karate experts. A hearty helping of exploration awaits you over an epically-sized quest. And you take part in enough text-based conversations to ruin your corneas.

Admittedly, it’s less like Square’s RPG for the whole suplex Japanese commuters through furniture’ thing. After Yakuza 3, this entry in the convoluted crime series is unsurprisingly damn near identical to its predecessor. Using an increasingly creaky engine, you find yourself on the same streets of Kamurocho (Yakuza’s fictional Tokyo district) that were seen in reformed mobster Kiryu Kazuma’s last adventure, while the core of the game remains a blend of brutal combat, exploration, and watching beautifully directed cut-scenes so long they make Hideo Kojima look like Johnny Gets-To-The-Point.

The only significant change from the previous title is the way the action is structured. Rather than just following the single story of Kaz over 20-odd hours, you now have another three characters’ tales to play through. These include the friendliest loan shark ever to shish kebab someone’s shins, a towering gangster who supposedly did in 18 men with his bare bloody hands, and a pretty dull ex-cop. While the four men’s stories don’t converge until near the end, having so many different plots makes Yakuza 4 zip along with like a Peruvian winger compared to the last game’s plodding narrative.

It’s just a pity it’s so repetitive. Don’t get us wrong. We love introducing baddies to the slashy end of a katana. But when the game pits you against brassed-off business people every five minutes, it starts to grate. Of course, Yakuza 4 still has the mad array of mini-games the series has become famed for if you can’t be assed chatting to folk and trying to progress the story. Incorporating everything from bowling, playing arcade machines, and golf to cage fights, there’s never a shortage of stuff to mess about with.

So we’re left with a thoroughly daft, slightly fugly, and resolutely old-school action RPG. Though its wooden animation and clunky conversations feel a little old-fashioned next to Mass Effect’s sexy space adventures, Yakuza 4 gives a charmingly eccentric insight into Japanese culture, unlike any other game. And really, who can resist a good suplex?

$ 0.53
$ 0.53 from @TheRandomRewarder
Avatar for patientgamer9
2 years ago