29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
A hidden gem,
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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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 2 Jul 2011 21:26:47 BDT
Great review, thanks very much and I agree with what you say about it, it's a great game.
However, I have just completed this (and really enjoyed it) and it as launched me into "Premium Adventure" back as Akiyama again but it seems to be the same story. Should I stick with the Premium mode or go back to my original game save to complete the substories/mini-games etc to get the trophies ? Not really sure what Premium Adventure is/does, thanks.
In reply to an earlier post on 3 Jul 2011 14:19:34 BDT
There's two modes
Premium Mode is a sandbox game where you can complete left over substories, play mini games and keep your levels/items
Premium New Game is basically New Game+ where you can replay the story but you keep your items/levels.
Just don't overwrite your clear game save.
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