Yakuza 4

Discussion in 'GBAtemp Reviews & Guides' started by SubliminalSegue, Mar 20, 2011.

  1. SubliminalSegue

    SubliminalSegue GBAtemp Fan

    Oct 12, 2010
    United States

    Release Date: March 15th, 2011
    For: PS3

    The Yakuza series hasn't been too huge over here in the states as as it's known as Ry? ga Gotoku in Japan. The first two games were not very well made, but told an excellent story of an ex-Yakuza named Kazuma Kiryu and his struggles with his past in the Tojo Clan, a family that held a major amount of the fictional town Kamurocho. The third game, the first on the PS3, took enormous technical strides in terms of gameplay and graphics. It also stepped up the storyline, bringing back a 40-something Kiryu stopping a major shift in the family. Now one year after the events of Yakuza 3, Kazuma is back...in a way. There have been major developments since we last left the series, and this time you're not only controlling Kazuma, but 3 others. A loan shark, a detective and a fugitive, all brought together by the death of a rival family member.

    If this is your first Yakuza, one thing to know right off the bat, is there is a lot of reading. If you're used to Japanese games, such as 999 or Medal Gear Solid, then you shouldn't have any problems wading through the sea of text. Another turn off is the amount of cutscenes to actual action ratio. I felt in Yakuza 4, I had a time limit to get to the next objective instead of enjoying myself.

    Shun Akiyama, Taiga Saejima, Kazuma Kiryu & Masayoshi Tanimura.​

    There are three new people to play as, and each of them play very differently. First you play as Akiyama, a man who loans money to people who want to start over, and offers them tests to see if he can trust them. His fighting style consists of a jujitsu like style, with lightning fast kicks. Next, you play as Saejima, an escaped convict trying to find out why he was set up when he made a hit on a family and got on death row for it. He is a brawler, straight up, with some heavy attacks and strong environmental damage. After that, you control the detective with an ulterior motive, Tanimura. Personally my favorite of the four, he has a lot of grab attacks and great at reversals. And of course there is Kazuma Kiryu, who is a basic fighter, equal in all areas, just as he's always been.

    The thing that sets this one apart from it's predecessor is the story. This one isn't about a family dispute, it starts out with a murder and a mysterious woman. Throughout the game, you'll come to know different people, their motives, and how they all fit together. While a lot of what happens from the previous games can be watched in digest form, there is various recapping, so you may not need to play the others to understand, despite the series confusing Yakuza hierarchy.


    Having moved from 3 to 4 in just a week, I did notice that Kamurocho looked a little better this time around. There is a little more attention to detail, and they aren't just re-using the same data they used for 3. Another change, that I like but is very different for the series, is the change in EXP. Before when you fought, you earned experience, and every time you filled the bar, it would count as 1. This filled up fast, and you'd put your XP in 4 different areas. In Yakuza 4, every time you fill that bar, you earn 3 Spirit Orbs, which can be saved up and spent on the techniques and what have you at your own leisure. Health and your Spirit bar which were purchased before rank up in certain battles. This means you have to actually engage in more fights randomly to level up everything.

    Akiyama has some excellent leg moves that makes him a formidable character despite his occupation.

    Another neat thing is the addition of rooftops and underground areas. Most helpful for the criminal Saejima to hide from cops, it also expands Kamurocho's bland and boring street exploration.

    Yakuza 3's English version took out about 20% of the game including the hostess portion of the game, instead allowing you to half ass date women found in fast food restaurants. Yakuza 4 has a lot of stuff to do, including pachinko, fishing, onsen bath, table tennis, hanafuda and karaoke, as well as the hostess club, even allowing you to run one and train the girls. Each character has their own side-game, Akiyama has the Hostess club (as he owns it), Saejima can train fighters for the fighters tournament, Tanimura can feed off Police dispatch and catch crimes that way, and Kazuma has a team battle encounter, which gets through a ton of bad guys.


    Of the four parts, most of the chapters are cutscenes, detailing what has happened over the last 25 years and what will happen over the next few days. Any point you have to control your character, I felt like there wasn't as big of an incentive to finish side missions. In the last game there were about 100 side missions, now there are only 68. This isn't a bad thing, but you'll be focusing more on the main missions this time around, probably leaving the side missions for after the game, in the adventure mode.

    The hostess clubs can be frequented by everyone buy Saejima. You can make a lot of girlfriends this way, for a price.

    If you're looking for a lot of face time with the "Dragon of Dojima", then you're out of luck. He makes an appearance once in Chapter 2, and then his own chapter. Other than that, it's supporting characters.


    If this is your first time in the series, I strongly recommend playing the third game, you can get recaps from the first two, and you'll get acquainted with the addictive fighting system. If you're familiar with Yakuza, this is a must buy. I fell in love with the third game, and the addition of game modes and the familiar setting was great for falling in love again. If you have a short attention span, this might not be the game for you. There's a lot of text. Others might be turned off by the Japanese dubs, others praise it. Either way, Yakuza is a game that has been referenced to Shenmue, and yet hasn't gotten enough exposure here in America. It's a deep series that keeps you on the edge of your seat, and has some of the best fighting of any action/adventure game.

    FINAL SCORE: 93%/100%