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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Different and strangely gripping
This review has been written after around 13 hours play...

I have never played any Yakuza games before and got it mainly because I wanted to get my teeth into something 'open world' and time consuming. After the massive disappointment of Dragon Age 2, I heard some good things about this series so decided to take the plunge.

The game is kind of a...
Published on 19 Mar. 2011 by Mr. B. J. Hunt

versus
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Spiritual successor to Shenmue on fourth iteration
Not sure why I keep coming back to this franchise. Maybe its the hope that the obvious potential for greatness here will be manifested at some point. Perhaps I'm just a self harmer who lacks the courage needed to pick up a razor blade and get on with it. Either way you look at it this is a pretty frustrating series to get involved with, but yet still there is a loyal fan...
Published 9 months ago by j Stebbing


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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Different and strangely gripping, 19 Mar. 2011
By 
Mr. B. J. Hunt "jedra_" (Saxilby, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Yakuza 4 (PS3) (Video Game)
This review has been written after around 13 hours play...

I have never played any Yakuza games before and got it mainly because I wanted to get my teeth into something 'open world' and time consuming. After the massive disappointment of Dragon Age 2, I heard some good things about this series so decided to take the plunge.

The game is kind of a cross between GTA IV and Street Fighter (or any other kung-fu type fighty games). There is a gripping storyline in which you play four different characters (although after 13 hours I am still on the first character) all based in a fictional district which I assume is supposed to be in somewhere like Tokyo. I'll not go into the plot as you can read that for yourself in the game description.

Basically the game revolves around a main plot with various sub-plots of which there are many. These sub plots go from the usual 'go and see this man and complete a task for him' to the bizarre 'dress and make-up a hostess in a hostess club'. It is such a strange mix, which I for one am not used to, that it is keeping me intruiged as to what I might be asked to do next!

The figting is implemented quite well, with punches/kicks and various combos - of which you can learn more of as you level up. There are also weapons you can purchase or manufacture. You can make weapons by optaining 'recipies' and the correct ingredients ehich you find lying around. All I will say is that the combos are a bit much for my 40 year old fingers, so I end up just mashing the buttons until stuff dies. The more dextrous amongst you will probably cope better. Unlike other games like this, it doesn't seem to spoil the combat at all and I never feel like I am totally out of control.

This being a Japanese game, there is lots and lots of dialogue interspersed with acted cut scenes. Normally I would get a litte bored of so much dialogue, but the storyline is so good that so far I have kept on reading and listening. The cut scenes are also very well done and although the voices are entirely in Japanese (with sub titles), they seem very well acted and add to the atmosphere immensely.

Overall I am thoroughly enjoying the game so far. It is different from anything else of the genre and has enough surprises to remain fresh. The story is well written and well executed. The characterisations are good and I find myself wanting to know more about them and what happens to them - if it were a book I would probably have read it to the end by now.

Note, although I have compared it to GTA - there is no driving in this game - you walk everywhere. The district is a lot smaller than the other games but is just big enough to be interesting - I am not sure if any other areas unlock with the other characters.

Anyway, if you are looking for something a bit different in the vein of the Grand Theft Auto/Mafia type games then this may be for you. I am liking it a lot so far!
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A hidden gem, 21 Mar. 2011
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Yakuza 4 (PS3) (Video Game)
I completed Yakuza 4 last night and it gave me a final statistics screen. It had took me 35 hours to complete the story, yet according to the completion statistics I had only completed 23% of the game. It's been a while since I've last played a game that has had me playing for half a day for a number of days. To clarify Yakuza 4 doesn't have a particularly long story. 10 of those 35 hours played were story. Half those 10 hours were cutscenes. What makes this game excellent are the distractions.

We'll begin with a brief overview of the story. Like the previous game, Yakuza 4 has an option to watch a catch up of the events that happened in the first three games. If you're someone who wants to purchase this game but not have to play through the other games then Yakuza 4 has you covered. Although I would recommend you play the others first to get a proper understanding of the story. At the very least Yakuza 3 has the same option to watch the first two game's story. As for Yakuza 4's story it seems in my opinion better than Yakuza 3's story. What's new to Yakuza 4 is that you aren't controlling just Kiryu Kazuma but three other characters. I was a little sceptical on how this would work. The first character you play as is Shun Akiyama, a loan shark with a different way of lending money. Without interest and collateral, you just need to pass his little tests to gain the money. Quite possibly the most interesting new character in the game. Taiga Saejima: a hitman who killed 18 Yakuza on his own but was later caught. My initial expectations of Saejima from the trailers were low but I was amazed by his very interesting story. It caught me by surprise. Masayoshi Tanimura: a policeman with a gambling problem. Tanimura's story wasn't particularly interesting at first. His was the weakest of all the stories but nonetheless quite exciting at least until the end of his story. Finally you have Kiryu Kazuma, a former yakuza (the fourth chairman of the Tojo Clan too, that's apparently up at the top) who, like in the last game, manages an orphanage. I won't say anymore about the story because it's the strongest part of a Yakuza game. But it has plenty of twists and enough to keep you on the edge of your seat. It's worth mentioning like the last couple of Yakuza games that this game is in Japanese with English subtitles. If you aren't a fan of subs then this isn't the game for you.

Next is the gameplay. Unlike other story-heavy games this game has plenty of gameplay. Lots of it. Like I said earlier it becomes a pleasant distraction. Players new to the Yakuza games may be confused how it all works. When I first played a Yakuza game I kept running towards the main missions because I thought there was a time limit to them. Gradually you learn that you can complete the main story in your own time. That is when you start to play ten pin bowling when you really should be saving a friend from death. Yakuza 4 has the added bonus of not being as heavily edited as Yakuza 3 was. Yakuza 4 only has two edits. One is a Japanese trivia game (which isn't a massive loss) and the opening video has different music than the Japanese release. All this means is Hostess Clubs make a return. If you play as Akiyama you can create a hostess and slowly bring her up to the top. Saejima however has a dojo training side mission where he trains fighters to win in fighting tournaments. Tanimura has a police scanner event where you can take down criminals for some extra cash. Playing as Kazuma allows you to fight new gangs in Kamurocho. With that mention of Kamurocho it's time to talk about the "city".

Kamurocho is a district in Tokyo. A red light district at that. While it's the same old place we've been in for 4 games, it has been improved. There are more shops, more minigames and more restaurants. If you aren't completely happy with that there is also the ability to go on rooftops and underground. It's is annoying that we're in the same place again considering Yakuza 3 added a new map in Okinawa but at the same time us Yakuza veterans are so used to Kamurocho that we don't even need to use the map.

As for any changes Yakuza 4 has made I have already said about the character specific minigames there's also the new levelling system. In the previous games you would have to fill an experience bar. To unlock new moves you'd have to fill that exp bar a number of times. It was a hard enough system to explain which is easier to understand in action. The new levelling system isn't too different. When you level up you gain soul orbs which you use to purchase new abilities. There aren't too many changes but they're more tweaks than overhauls. Everything that was in Yakuza 3 (save for the Okinawa map) is there in Yakuza 4. Revelations are still in it, bowling, golf, fishing and pool are still in the game. Put them altogether and you have a game that can last you at least a month.

Graphics are the same as Yakuza 3. The cutscene graphics are astonishing but graphics outside cutscenes are just terrible. It's simply amazing how good the graphics can look in a real time cutscenes but fall short when you're just playing the game. This game is all about the immersion and you do seem to come back to reality when you see ol' low resolution textures man.

It's difficult to talk about Yakuza 4 because of the huge amount of content in it. There's so much to talk about. You can't possibly go on to say every little feature this has without having a large wall of text. This game will keep me company for a long while even though I've completed the story. But I still have the hostess club missions to complete, I want to go fishing, I need to fight in a tournament, I want to play darts. All that and much more for me to do. I've only completed 23% of the game, I have another 77% to go and I'll enjoy every second of it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yakuza unite as one, 29 Mar. 2011
This review is from: Yakuza 4 (PS3) (Video Game)
STORY
The story is presented to us from four different perspectives. Firstly, there is Akiyama, a money lender with a very rough past. Next, we have Saejima, a yakuza member who committed a murderous crime 25 years ago, killing 18 members of the Ueno Seiwa clan. Saejima returns to Kamurocho to find the man who betrayed him all those years ago. Thirdly, we have Tanimura, a young cop who is tracking Saejima's case, which led to the death of his father. Last, but not least, we have Kazuma Kiryu, the legendary fourth chairman of the Tojo clan. Kazuma is handed a book which details a plot, endangering all Tojo clan members, and will intertwine with the actions of the three supporting protagonists.

The four playable characters are wonderful in creation and their individual contributions to the overall story are nothing short of brilliant. Their stories successfully combine together and are just as intricately woven together. Sure, the events of the game don’t have much to do with the Sunshine orphanage, but the children are the heartbeat and motivation to what Kazuma does.

GRAPHICS & SOUND
Kamurocho will act as the primary map location so you’ll be walking these streets a majority of the time. The environments are varied; prison islands and isolated shipping yards are just some of the new destinations in store for you. With regards to map design, you can also access certain rooftops and use these as makeshift pathways around the city. There are also underground areas to be visited such as parking lots and sewers. if the regular public get on your nerves, then you are more than welcome to make acquaintance with the crazy homeless groups. Texture details have been given a boost, adding atmosphere to the night time environments, and allowing Kamurocho to come alive with its bright lights and large electronic displays.

The cutscenes look excellent, presented with flair and flawless motion capture work. I personally loved the artistic snapshot before a boss fight, brush strokes and vivid colours whizz across the screen before an epic encounter. The characters feel so alive through their movement; they look natural as their facial expressions perfectly correlate to their dialogue.There can be inconsistency regarding character models; this doesn’t apply to the main story protagonists.

I love the details of characters bleeding when they get hit, but I feel more could have done with the damage modelling. The soundtrack struggles to make its presence known and unfortunately fades away into the background. Perhaps I’m being harsh in regards to the soundtrack, as some of the music during combat works wonderfully well.

GAMEPLAY
The gameplay remains fairly similar since the previous game. However, this time you have the four different protagonists to control, each of them with their own fighting styles. I was always given the impression that taking the story away from Kazuma would be a bad idea, now I can appreciate that this design choice was implemented to serve the gameplay and keep it fresh. Akiyama has fantastic kicking techniques, Saejima is a mean brawler, Tanimura uses submission moves, and Kazuma needs no introduction as to what he can do. There are plenty of new moves to discover, whether you level up or complete sub-stories/side missions.

On the subject of combat, it feels much more responsive this time around, the control is smooth and won‘t want to make you pull your hair out. There are still loads of context sensitive moments during battles, these can pop up at anytime so it’s wise to be on your toes. Some of the finishing moves are truly amazing, charge your heat level up and spectacularly dispatch your foes. The enemies confront you in large groups; they use a variety of weapons and attempt to surround you much quicker. There are plenty of weapons to pick up and upgrade, though you could just as easily complete the game without buying any weapons whatsoever. The chase sequences have also been improved; an ability to dash has also been implemented to get around those tight corners.

Yakuza 4 is an open world game, feel free to take a break from story missions and spread your wings. During Akiyama’s story section, he actually owns hostess clubs so you can choose what makeup the girls wear, their clothing, jewellery etc. Each of the remaining characters has a particular sub-story very similar to Akiyama’s hostess challenge. Aside from the female endeavours, you can slug some baseballs at the practice nets, go bowling, play table tennis or go to the local hot springs and relax. I’ve mentioned a handful of activities; there is simply so much to do.

The camera still has some issues and can feel very sluggish when turning and when walking down narrow gaps. I can’t hide my disappointment about the boss fights, many are forgettable and don‘t represent mighty clashes.

O V E R A L L
Every character contributes so powerfully to the overall story, it didn’t make me think that I’d rather have more emphasis placed on Kazuma instead. The game engine remains largely unchanged, but I’ll happily sacrifice that for a compelling plot. I‘m amazed how Sega has juggled multiple characters at once, yet they have developed them all so well.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Greatest Melodramas in Gaming History, 17 Mar. 2013
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Yakuza 4 (PS3) (Video Game)
To describe a story, a song, or a game as being melodramatic is frequently to condemn the title in question and imply that it is shot through with strains of mawkish sentimentality and lacking in the finer distinctions of better works. Yet there is a place for melodrama, it is a perfectly legitimate narrative form and one which, when done right, can be as moving, well made and memorable as anything else. And that is a good description of Yakuza 4. Indeed, from a narrative standpoint, it encapsulates the whole of the franchise. Yakuza has been an on-going melodrama and this, the 4th entry in the main series, is the high point so far.

When Yakuza 3 came out in 2010 it was a vast step forward for the series in both game-play and story telling. The fully voiced animated cut-scenes, the vast array of side missions, the excellence of the fighting system (which might be the best brawler the PS3 has seen) and, above all, the way in which the threats and stakes to the peace and security of the protagonist's (Kazuma Kiryu) orphan charges is raised from chapter to chapter was enthralling, compelling and delightful. If that game had one major flaw, however, it was that it felt, in some ways, rather like a side story when following on from the events of Yakuza's 1 and 2. So, when Sega brought out Yakuza 4 not long afterwards, using a great deal of the same animation and architecture, rather than seeming like a let down, it seemed far more as if the producers and writers had got the series back on track. Don't get me wrong, Yakuza 3 is an excellent game. It's gorgeous to look at (the colours in beach scenes in Okinawa are jaw droppingly lovely) exciting and fun to play, yet it did feel only tentatively connected to the preceding games. In 4 we had a game which had all these improvements and yet with a story which felt like a much more natural successor to the events of Yakuza's 1 and 2.

Added to this Sega introduced another element which has given a much needed lease of life to the series: multiple protagonists. Meeting, getting to know and learning the fighting styles of the three new player characters gives Yakuza 4 a fantastic freshness. Yes, I could see how some players, being deeply attached to Kazuma, might call foul on this, but I wasn't one of them. Each of the three new comers had something to them, both as well written characters and as differential fighting styles, which made them a thoroughly enjoyable additions to the series. Whether it was laughing at the the laid back humour of Akiyama, or coming to sympathise with bone deep pain of Taiga Saejima, or being pulled into the depth of the mystery which is the life of Tanimura, they're all excellent foils for The Dragon of Dojima. Equally, learning and coming to terms with (two different things) their fighting styles was both fascinating and fun. After playing Kazuma for eighty hours straight in 3 it was a rather unsettling experience to have to get a feel for the timing and styles of each of the others. It was even unnerving, but unnerving in a good way. Clearly Kazuma, once leveled up, is a near god like fighter, so having to make the most of the ponderous strength of Taiga, or the panoply of holds and throws which make up Tanimura's arsenal definitely kept me engaged. Of the three new comers I felt that Akiyama was the least interesting fighter, but the bite and humour of his dialogue more than made up for that.

Yakuza 4 is, without any doubt in my mind, a brilliant and compelling melodrama in game form. The game itself is excellent, both as an open world brawler and a thoroughly evocative Japan simulator. The graphics are a trifle dated, it's not a major issue but you can easily tell that what we're looking at is four, maybe five years behind the curve for a PS3 release. It really doesn't matter though as the art style more than makes up for the sub-part technical graphics. When you add great music, superb surround sound and stellar voice acting (God's above Takaya Kuroda's Kazuma Kiryu is astonishing) the over all production values in this game are just stellar. There are only a few reasons for not playing Yakuza 4, but, if you own a PS3, if you aren't someone who loathes Japanese culture, and you don't detest open world gaming, then do yourself a favour and buy a copy of Y4, you're in for a treat.

P.S. The game is worth the playing just to get to the epic coolness of the introduction to the final fight sequence. Trust me, it will have you laughing out loud in sheer delight.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A superb sequel... but still not for everyone., 14 April 2011
By 
John Clayton III (Greystoke) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Yakuza 4 (PS3) (Video Game)
Well, here we are with the latest entry in the most overbearingly macho crime thriller in gaming as Yakuza defies the odds to once again to see release outside Japan when not long ago it seemed all but certain Yakuza 2 was going to be the last entry in the series we'd ever get to play. This newest entry in the series has everything you'll have loved about Yakuza 3 and a lot more besides... but at the same time it actually fails to match up to it's predecessor in some respects.

Taking place one year after the events of Yakuza 3, number 4 for once does NOT begin showing us what series protagonist Kazuma Kiryu has been up to since we last saw him, but instead starts with you in control of eccentric loan shark Akiyama, who has some unusual conditions attached to his money lending and his story begins when a mysterious woman called Lily shows up at his office asking to borrow 100 million Yen, which Akiyama agrees to if Lily fulfills a job he has for her... It's from there things follow the usual Yakuza path of wandering around Kamurocho carrying out sub quests and side stories in addition to following the main plot as you desire, with the usual batch of insanity and utterly brutal violence generously peppered throughout. However, this shift to a new character doesn't stop with Akiyama, for as the game progresses, you will control three other characters including death row prisoner Saejima, who you navigate through a Shawshank style prison break plot, and hotshot young cop Tanimura, whose seeming disinterest with his job masks a desire to find out who murdered his father. The last character I will not spoil for you, you'll enjoy it more that way. All characters with seemingly no connection to each other whose stories and pasts become closely tied together within a massive conspiracy involving mob civil war, high level police corruption and a desperate quest for revenge all tied to a Yakuza related mass murder in a restaurant decades before. It is a densely layered plot that takes in an enormous number of characters throughout to the point it can get slightly confusing. Yes, Kiryu does show up along the way as a supporting character in case you miss him, and yes, old faces like Haruka, Date, Majima and Daigo are back... but at the same time there is a large number of new characters, with each of the new playable characters coming with their own supporting casts and backstory. There is a LOT of information to take in here and it can get difficult to keep track of who is plotting what and so on, but taken as a whole, it's a mostly solid plot that manages to satisfyingly tie a LOT of seemingly disconnected threads together... even if there are some MASSIVE missteps in the plot getting there. Plus, some of the events that occur are so unbelievably OTT and flat out ridiculous it sometimes feels as if this game is trying to parody it's subject matter. Saying that, it isn't like the Yakuza series has ever been 100% serious about itself, and I'm probably being a bit stupid to complain about realism in a game series that has previously seen you have to fist fight a bull for one boss encounter and whose favourite 'go to' climactic scenes involve heavily tattooed middle aged men meeting up on the roof of tall buildings in the middle of the night to punch out their differences while screaming fortune cookie platitudes at each other. It is gloriously cheesy, ludicrously dumb madness.

The gameplay is largely unchanged from Yakuza 3, there's just a lot more to do this time, plus there are four different characters to master, each one with their own completely unique fighting style, unique sub quests and side missions and areas around Kamurocho that only specific characters can access. These character specific versions of Kamurocho make for interesting playing, as you're forced to adapt how you play as you go due to each character's circumstances. For example, as one character is wanted by the police, you're forced to use side streets and alleys and even the sewers to sneak around the city to avoid police patrols and as another character IS a cop, you're often radioed to go to crime scenes or stopped by police patrols to help out with incidents that occur seemingly randomly like chasing a shoplifter, or taking down a hostage taker holed up in a building or searching an underground car park for hiding gang members. Sure, it mostly ends with you having to pound some guys to pulp, but the differences made to the game for each character you control makes for a nicely varied experience and provides a wealth of available sub missions and things to do. In addition, there are the usual mini games across each character's story like arcade games (Including a sequel to Yakuza 3's excellent 'Boxcelios' scrolling shooter), batting, cage fighting, UFO catcher, the requisite extensive number of gambling based games... a huge number of things to do here outside the main story, including the mini game a vocal minority whined about being removed from Yakuza 3 in the form of the "hostess clubs', where you can try to establish relationships with hostess girls in bars dating-sim style, or even have a go at being a PG pimp by running your own hostess bar, where you decide how your girls dress, wear their hair, how much make up they need and help them with their conversational skills... yeah, I can see how such an essential part of the game would have been sorely missed. As usual, much of the game revolves around chasing people down and beating them up, or fighting your way through small armies of thugs and gangsters using every bit of scenery not nailed down to do so etc etc... it's still a heavily combat focused game, but the combat is as solid as ever, but far more varied and user friendly this time, thanks to expanded move sets, additional player characters and a completely overhauled levelling system that is a huge improvement on the one used in all the previous games. Sadly, there has been some cutting down since Yakuza 3 into the bargain also. For one, you can no longer visit the city of Okinawa, which was a very large play area in Yakuza 3. It's been replaced by an expanded Kamurocho, with an added huge series of sewer tunnels to explore and underground homeless shanty towns to visit as well as the ability to explore the rooftops of Kamurocho. It adds much, but probably not as much as Okinawa did to the last game. Additionally, several mini games seem to have been removed that were in Yakuza 3. Whether the newer ones serve as adequate replacement is up to you.

Technically, it's all much the same as Yakuza 3 again. The already impressively detailed facial models and animations look even more refined this time, which is just as well considering the amount of time you'll spend watching guys sitting around talking at length. Kamurocho is even bigger and more detailed than ever, with some impressive crowd work on display, even though the draw distance on the people/characters walking around is rather rubbish(Though oddly there are no scenery pop up or draw distance issues). The performance is rock solid though and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention how hilarious the facial deformation during fights is, with enemies getting black eyes, bruises, busted noses and lips and even having teeth fly out of their mouths and dislocated jaws hanging loosely off their face on occasion. It's so comically brutal it's hard not to find it funny. The soundwork is also strong, with a perfectly fitted(If mostly unremarkable) score topped up with infectious J-Pop tracks for the karaoke mini games. The voice acting is where the real meat is though... yes, it's once again in Japanese with subtitles, but the seemingly knowingly hammy, shouting filled dialogue and ridiculous over the top moralising speeches during inappropriate scenes coupled with the previously covered comically OTT violence and plot combine to make this game a masterclass in subtle parodying of macho romanticising gangster cinema. I just really hope that it's doing it deliberately, because I don't think I want to live in a world where someone might have been completely serious when they were writing this game's script.

It's not a game without it's problems, though, pretty much all of them the same as Yakuza 3: Japanese voices only, which might make it more setting authentic, but will try the patience of many considering the cutscenes in this game are regular and some of them are LONG. The game has a huge mandatory install (5GB) as well, and there are a few too many instances of conversations being in stiff, text only format with no voicework at all, sometimes occurring at frankly inappropriate moments in my eyes and the lack of variety in available locations (Seeing as you're restricted almost entirely to Kamurocho this time, no Okinawa as mentioned) makes the whole game feel a tad more repetitive to me.

This is still a very good game, offering a huge amount of gameplay content and replay incentives in addition to new(Though not nearly used enough) online leaderboard support and a rich variety of bonus modes, you can get many many hours out of Yakuza 4 if you get into it, but therein lies the problem... the series continues to have such a niche aim to it that this game is near impenetrable to newcomers coming in blind. Once again, this is NOT a game for everyone, so be very sure about what you're buying before trying to use Yakuza 4 to 'dip your toe in the water' so to speak.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you love Yakuza 3 you will love this., 27 Mar. 2011
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Yakuza 4 (PS3) (Video Game)
Yakuza 4 (Ryu Ga Gotoku 4) was released in Japan last year when we received Yakuza 3. Sega has done a tremendous job in localising Yakuza 4, everything that was missing in Yakuza 3 (hostess bars) is back in Yakuza 4. The only thing cut from Yakuza 4 is the AnswerxAnswer quiz mini game and the Japanese Intro with the song called 'Butterfly City' (licence).

In Yakuza 4 you play as four main characters, 3 new characters along with the 'Dragon of Dojima' Kiryu Kazuma. Shun Akiyama, the 'Lifeline of Kamurocho' who is a money-lender/loan shark. Taiga Saejima, a fugitive on death row who killed 18 men back in '85. And Masayoshi Tanimura the 'Parasite of Kamurocho', who is a cop that delivers his own brand of 'Justice'. Each character has a different fighting style, Akiyama is fast, Saejima is a powerhouse but slow, Tanimura relies on parries and technique and Kiryu is balanced (well he has been the main protagonist throughout the series, Yakuza fans know what techniques Kiryu has).

The story is the most important aspect of the Yakuza games. The story is much more darker than the Yakuza 3 storyline. If you did not like the Orphanage part of Yakuza 3 then you will probably like the starting in Yakuza 4 (although it is confusing). It doesn't have much emotional parts like Yakuza 3 did but there is a few heart warming scenes in the game. The storyline will probably take you around 25 hours or more to complete depending on what you are doing for example playing the mini games and doing a few sub-stories.

The leveling system has changed and is different compared to Yakuza 3. When your character levels up, the health and heat meter automatically upgrades but you get ability points, which you can spend on learning new moves for your character. The highest/maximum level for every character is level 20. You can also learn new moves by the returning revelations from Yakuza 3 (and Kenzan) and IF7-R which looks like a saiyan pod from Dragonball Z (IF7 was in Yakuza 3).

The mini games are back and better than ever. You can get easily distracted from the story by playing the mini games in Yakuza 4. You can play pool, bowling, table tennis (new), golf, gamble, fishing and more. There is online leaderboards for this game, you can check what rank you are with each mini game (I'm not sure if it's region or world wide ranks). You can create your own hostess with Akiyama, train a rookie fighter with Saejima (Hideo Kojima reference), stop criminals and resolve problems with the police scanner with Tanimura, or take on gang members with Kiryu.

The only issues I have with this game is dialogue, graphics and the map. The dialogue can annoy you if you just want to get on with the story (non playable characters mostly interrupt). The graphics have slightly been upgraded, but you get the same annoying graphical issues that were in Yakuza 3. Kamurocho is the main setting in each Yakuza game. In Yakuza 4, Kamurocho is the only setting (No Okinawa from Yakuza 3) but you get a underground mall, sewers, parking lot, docks and rooftops. I just knew most of Kamurocho from the back of my hand (because I played Yakuza 3 a lot).

Get this game if you are into Japanese games, especially if you are into RPGs. You get a good story, likable/ dislikeable characters and mini games plus sub-stories to distract you. The game is worth the money as you can probably put in around 100 hours into getting 100% overall (not including platinum trophy, you probably get a platinum trophy before attempting 100% overall in the game like Yakuza 3).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Truly Great RPG, 19 Mar. 2011
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Yakuza 4 (PS3) (Video Game)
For newcomers to the series, the Yakuza games are a series of RPG beat-em-ups which put you in the shoes of Kazuma Kiryu, an unusually noble Yakuza (Japanese Mafia) member, who keeps getting dragged back into the life. They're most noted for their strong stories, intriguing characters, detailed cities to explore and fun beat-em-up gameplay.

This time though, you don't just play as Kazuma, you're also put into the shoes of 3 other characters.

First there's Tanimura, a corrupt cop, with a passion for gambling. Saejima, a man on the run after serving 25 years on death row and Akiyama, a loan shark. Each character has their own unique style of fighting and the combat is just as fun as ever.

There's also a huge amount of sidequests and minigames to play, such as Golf, Ping Pong, Darts, Poker and many more. So far i've clocked up around 20 hours, but there's still so much left for me to do.

Yakuza 4 is such a unique game and is, in my opinion, one of the strongest games that has come out so far this year.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars With a very sopecific target audience., 18 Jun. 2011
By 
Alfonso Sexto Pereyra "Allan Yagamy" (Madrid, Spain) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Yakuza 4 (PS3) (Video Game)
Yakuza is a game that either you like it or not; this is not a GTA clone; it's a completely different style of sandbox gaming. In my case I enjoy it a lot and this game met all my expectations. If you liked previous Yakuza games you will love this one since it adds more content to the already rich game that was Yakuza 3.

If you are new to the saga, the game includes 3 video archives for you to catch the story of this great and original franchise.

Not a single complain with this one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great yakuza adventure!, 1 May 2011
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Yakuza 4 (PS3) (Video Game)
Very very good surprise. i wasn't hoping anything fantastic. I was wrong. A lot of mini games, a good story, a good fighting system for each characters, etc.... My best buy on Ps3 in 2011
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent game, 20 Mar. 2011
By 
Jamie Collins "J@y" (uk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Yakuza 4 (PS3) (Video Game)
OK well here is the start to my review for Yakuza 4 PS3,
OK well I am a fan of the yakuza series and there all great but this one is amazing although its spoken in Japanese and has sub titles in English its works really well. its about the yakuza of Japan and there criminal underworld which goes on. it gives a good insight into there way of life and there honour as a yakuza. you play as 4 guys which works great the story took me 18hrs to complete im not lying it has so much data on the disc its well worth the money and I still have side quests to complete.
Graphics: 8/10 look a bit dated at times but the cut scenes are top notch!
combat: works great and you can learn new fighting techniques.
story: excellent and very long which most games are not these days.
entertainment: strip clubs, pool, drinking, hostess clubs, underground fights! food bars, clothes bars. ladyboys, what else could you want. 10/10!
PSN EXCLUSIVE: its a psn exclusive its a must buy for any ps3 owner and i can guarantee you wont be disappointed especially if you like the grand theft auto genre of games. it has tons of stuff to do on it which will keep you entertained for months and you most certainly will not be disappointed on the story!!!!
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Yakuza 4 (PS3)
Yakuza 4 (PS3) by Sega (PlayStation 3)
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