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Yakuza 3 Review

Yakuza 3 Review

Yakuza 3 is the latest in a series of 4 games by Sega. They tell the story of former Japanese mafia member, Kazuma. In the previous 2 games you see him involved in various power struggles in the seedy crime world of the mafia.

After 2 games of fighting the world he's decided to retire to sunny Okinawa and open up an orphanage.

As you may have guessed, this doesn't go exactly to plan and Kazuma finds himself having to fight for his home and the welfare of his children when a proposed military base threatens to close down his home and a close friend who is protecting his land gets shot. So much for that quiet life by the sea, eh!

The story is quite a complex one, with many references to the previous games events and people. If like me you haven't played the first instalments this will be very confusing for you. No need to panic though, the stories of the first 2 games are very handily available for you to watch at your leisure from the start screen.

They are told via the original games cut scenes with narration filling in the gaps where you would be playing. This is a really great idea, the game is so much more enjoyable when you have a basic grip on what is actually going on!!

Be warned though, the story videos are pretty lengthy so you may not see the actual game itself for about an hour whilst you catch up.

Once in the game, you're going to have to wait a while longer before you get your teeth into some ass kicking action. The game has a very intense deep story which is told with long cut scenes and tomes of text. If you are not a fan of text heavy games then you may as well turn off now, this isn't the game for you. If it is, however, yay for you, carry on playing. I do like a story, but I did feel a little bored at times and wanted to get on with the game itself.

Once you get past this you begin to realise that the game may be a little bigger than first impressions give you. To my surprise, Yakuza 3 is more an RPG than the action game which I initially thought it would be.

There's a massive world for you to explore which is richly detailed, full of gorgeous Japanese décor and authentic touches, from the busy streets of inner Tokyo to the rural sunny beach towns outside of Okinawa. Streets are littered with people going about their daily business, most of which you can stop and chat too. Some even have missions and quests they would like you to do. These are your usual RPG affair, "We want this, find it and bring it back to gain a reward" and "This guy is in the way, take him out and get a reward." Some are more crucial to Kazuma's development, however, but these usually make themselves apparent to you as the story progresses.

Along with plenty of missions and quests to keep you entertained there is also mini games which you can go back to any time you want. For the golfers among you there's a pretty comprehensive golf game to play. For a mini game this is pretty detailed with club choices, weather effects and ball hitting strengths. I found it a little difficult myself as I'm not a big golfer but anyone who has played golf games should be able to grasp it pretty quickly. For those of you who prefer their sports more chilled out, you can always do a spot of fishing. If these don't satisfy you there are many other activities that might.

Once you're done enjoying the simple things in life, its time to wander the streets and give various people an ass kicking, all in the name of character progression! Battles are random and they are usually quite comically started. People will wander up to you, drunk or just itching for a fight, yell some random abuse at you i.e. - "F**k you, you're far too old to be wearing a Hawaiian shirt, and start a fight!"

Battles to begin with are a very simple affair. The square button starts a combo of punches and the triangle button does the same with kicks. Later on, weapons are introduced. These can be stolen from your enemies or can be anything picked up out of the surrounding area. The fights kind of remind me of the old Sega Mega drive brawling classic, Streets of Rage, only updated. It's a good system, especially when you get more powerful and gain more attacks and moves.

The heat gauge is given to you when you're a little while into the game, this is basically just a bar that builds up with each attack you land. When it is full you get a nice blue aura around you, this means you are now able to use special abilities with weapons and makeshift weapons found. These can really turn the tide of battle so it is essential to keep an eye on it. At the end of a fight the opponent usually bows down to you, apologises and throws money in your direction in the hope you won't beat his ass down more.

I think the game benefits from such a casual fighting system, the game seems very laid back in everything else, for example, bored of the story? Go do some fishing. A complex system would intrude upon the fluidity of the game in my opinion.

As mentioned before it is possible to level Kazuma and give him extra abilities. This is done in the same way most RPG's are done, when fights are over you are awarded XP, you can spend this on whatever ability you wish to and is incredibly simple to get your head around. Battles can get pretty repetitive though and I found myself trying to avoid them sometimes because, to be honest, I really couldn't be bothered with the hassle of a fight over the fact I looked at a guy pole dancing on a street lamp a bit funny.

Graphically the game is not the best I have seen. In fact, it can look a little dated in places but this is forgivable as it's not game ruiningly bad. In fact, cut scenes are incredible looking and as you spend so much of your time in them it kind of distracts you from the average looking in-game graphics.

Accompanying the graphics is a good lot of voice acting. Yes, it is all in Japanese and the game is in subtitles but the quality of the voice acting as a whole is very high. I like that the game is told entirely in Japanese, it adds completely to the eastern atmosphere the game gives you.

In conclusion, if you like lengthy in depth stories about criminal underworlds and power struggles this is definitely the game for you. The little touches, such as the mini games and missions are enough to keep you coming back for more even when you fancy a short blast on the game. The fights, however, can be very repetitive, it's novel at first but it grows tiresome after a while but then I suppose you can always go do some fishing until your ready to face the world again! This is a definite for people who have played the first and a maybe if you fancy an RPG with something a little different.

7.50/10 7½

Yakuza 3 (Reviewed on PlayStation 3)

This game is good, with a few negatives.

Yakuza 3 is the latest in a series of 4 games by Sega. They tell the story of former Japanese mafia member, Kazuma. In the previous 2 games you see him involved in various power struggles in the seedy crime world of the mafia. After 2 games of fighting the world he's decided to retire to sunny Okinawa and open up an orphanage.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Sarah Nicole Collings

Sarah Nicole Collings


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