Yakuza 3 Review
- Posted March 17th, 2010 at 12:33 EDT by Steven Williamson
- 14 Comments
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There is a lot to like about this bizarre world, but beware: Yakuza 3 is an acquired taste that you will either want spit out, or have another sip off
- The artistic style and impressive game world
- The intuitive combat system with built-in cinematic flair
- Expecting the unexpected
- Having to read so much text
- When fights interrupt doing the other cool stuff
There you are minding your own business, casually idling the afternoon away walking the pleasant neon-lit streets of Okinawa on the way to the local noodle bar when a gang of spiky-haired street punks chase you down an alleyway to start a fight; it’s no wonder you get a little bit annoyed. Though Kazuma Kiryu, owner of the Morning Glory Orphanage, is clearly a man with a huge heart, he’s also a finely-toned martial arts expert that’s not to be messed with, and certainly not by a bunch of puffer jacket-wearing goons.
Kazuma proceeds to dish out some severe punishment to his attackers, cracking their heads off the walls before smacking a bin-lid into their midriffs as they squeal for mercy. He ambles away slowly under the calm blanket of the clear blue SEGA skies, picks up some trinkets from a market-stall before indulging himself in a spot of golf. He then rounds off the evening at the local Karaoke bar before meeting his new lover for a romantic date at the Kamurocho love hotel. Yakuza 3, SEGA’s bizarre fusion of mini-games and beat ‘em up action, is a surreal experience, but its quirkiness and varied gameplay is also its appeal.
This is an engrossing tale that starts off by focusing on Kazuma's battle to protect his orphanage from closure at the hands of the Yakuza clan, but eventually he gets involved way above his head. There’s so much depth to the lead character that you end up rather liking his split personality and the way that his calm and pleasant manner erupts into a fiery yet controllable temper and unstoppable violence. Yakuza 3 is a lot different to most games you'll play. It’s made for a Japanese audience, so you're subjected to having to read reams of English subtitles in order to get to the depths of the storyline. That makes it a very acquired taste -- like Marmite, you’ll love or hate it; and you’ll probably make that decision very early on.
You see, Yakuza 3 is a very slow burner. You can expect your introduction to the game to involve half-an-hour or so of reading text and watching cut-scenes. There’s almost too much story and back-story to get through and unnecessarily complicated conversations to try and make sense of; it's easy to get bored. But, if you do skip these conversation (and those who want to get straight to the action will be thankful they can) you’ll actually miss out on some tender moments and well-paced character development that manages to build a unique bond between gamer and the main character, Kazuma.
Kazuma is quite a decent bloke, who starts off looking after the children at an Orphanage and helping them out by using his martial arts skills to see off the likes of bullies. Trouble follows you wherever you go, so inevitably you find yourself scrapping against punks and members of Tokyo’s crime families a hell of a lot, in between chasing dogs down side streets and scouring the local markets for collectible items. Yakzua 3 is at its core a beat ‘em up game, albeit one that has an RPG style levelling and sub-quest system, a surreal lifestyle aspect, and tons of mini-games that add to its quirkiness and divert your attention from the relentless combat.
And though the combat in Yakuza 3 focuses on an arcade-style accessibility rather than depth, it’s both technically and visually impressive. The fights are unapologetically violent and pack loads of punch. You can rack together combos letting your fists and legs fly to deliver a proper beating, using the likes of bin lids and bicycle wheels to pummel your foes into submission. As you level up, or attend training, you can learn new and more exciting moves and craft your own weapons to give you a real edge in battle. The Heat meter, which when full allows you to unleash a barrage of cinematic moves, earns Yakuza its mature rating and gives the game that martial-arts movie feel. Camera issues occasionally hamper the experience and during fights against multiple opponents it can be hard to lock on to your targeted enemy, but overall combat is a lot of fun and the fight system has been well implemented.
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- 8:50am EDT - March 17th, 2010
Too many cutscenes and dialogs.... beat'em up kind of action.... I got bored after 8-9 hours of play (70% of which was cut scenes).
- 9:03am EDT - March 17th, 2010
Yh the cutscenes going to words of text is abit boring and a fall of yakuza 3 but everything else is fine its a beat'em up you get what you pay for ! also it actually has a decent story unlike gta 4 even though there both mafia based games and in yakuza 3 theres very funny things in cutscenes and when you meet npc's funny things happen too, made me laugh so thats a bonus! Also yakuza 3 dosent have the best graphics but there good and you truly feel like your in a busy japanese town and theres quite a few places to visit also in okinawa does feel peaceful and a break from beat'em up enemies and focuses on kazuma kindness and is very story motivated i liked it but others might just want to beat up enemies instead of helping the orphans!
- 9:42am EDT - March 17th, 2010
that's why sega takes a long time to release yakuza on western territories, you cannot appreciate this kind of game...
- 10:38am EDT - March 17th, 2010
I think this game is pretty good looking. I like cutscenes in a video game and I also like the fighting style of this game. I don't see how people can complain about text. All you have to do is read....
- 11:52am EDT - March 17th, 2010
Not sure why everyone is always bagging on reading text and having long cut scenes. I love it but then again I also love to actually read books and become immersed in a world outside of my day to day. I think what we are seeing with this type of "I got bored" mentality is that people just can't sit still and take the time to get into something truly anymore. A lot of gamers are getting acclimated to the FPS genre and the twitch gaming disease that is running around rampant now. What ever happened to the days of old when it was all about a lengthy RPG that was a ton of text reading and cut scenes and everyone loved it?
- 12:35pm EDT - March 17th, 2010
Time is precious nowadays...
Apart from that, when I buy a game I want to "play" / interact .... If I want to read, I buy a book... This is why long cut scenes and texts in a game make it boring for me.
And, yes... I'm old enough to remember text adventures back in the '80s... but these where different times.
- 12:50pm EDT - March 17th, 2010
I got bored after the demo, dunno how this game got a 8
- 2:50pm EDT - March 17th, 2010
Currently playing the game and loving it. Its so unique, refreshing and polished in many ways. The character development is better than most of the games I have played in years. Then the quests, I mean in how many games you are solving normal family problems or fishing up a tuna for one of the merchants .
Hope Sega will at least patch mah-jong and shogi back in to the game.
- 5:01pm EDT - March 17th, 2010
This game is amazing. Definetly a close to being my fav game ever.
Everyone must buy this so we get the others!
- 8:08pm EDT - March 17th, 2010
The combat is fun and satisfying ,and there are lots of things to do.Technically the game is a bit limited,its nearly sandbox so we cant expect U2 or GOW3 levels of course (plus the game is 1 year old before the last technical masterpieces as FFXIII,GOW 3,Heavy Rain and Uncharted 2) but still theres lots of clipping in there.A great game ,though.
- 8:48pm EDT - March 17th, 2010
I loved the demo! there´s a lot of minigames (and decent ones) to do and A LOT items to shop and the japanese culture all around it feels something really fresh and full of awesomeness.
I prefer having yakuza 3 than Heavy Rain just for its more captivating story which that is already pretty much what HR is all about so i call yakuza 3 a better game than HR in my opinion.
It deserves a 9 out 10 for being so original and interesting
- 11:14am EDT - March 18th, 2010
I'm enjoying this game, I actually stopped playing FFXIII when I got this. I know I'll go back to it, I've been sucked into Yakuza. the relationships he has are very well thoughtout and the story is great. Fighting is fun it reminds me of Batman AA a little bit.
- 11:14pm EDT - March 31st, 2010
Thoroughly enjoyable game in every regard. So much to do & keeps you busy well after the main story has ended. No complaints. Thank You Sega. Please bring Yakuza 4 to the west also.
"Ichi Ban "
- 2:15am EDT - June 30th, 2010
to much cutscenes, little action
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