SEGA’s Yakuza 4 the latest installment in the Yakuza franchise is finally out onto western shores, a full year after its Japanese launch, and it bring with it a new cast of characters in order to compliment Kazuma Kiryu.
The biggest strength of Yakuza games has been their strong atmospheric sense of place and characterizations, but previous installment in the frachise (Yakuza 3) felt a bit meandering and somewhat bloated, with game plot only related to Kiryu and the Mafia underworld. Now by dividing the game plot of Yakuza 4 among four different characters (Shun Akiyama, Masayoshi Tanimura, Taiga Saejima and Kazuma Kiryu), developer has managed to produce a game that feels as four mini Yakuza game bundle in one.
The developer has kept Yakuza 4 combat unchanged to a large extent, but the big thing is that it is smooth as ever. The addition of three new character in the game also add variety to combat which began to feel bland by the end of Yakuza 3. The ability to switch protagonist allowed gamers to increase the rate at which they receive new abilities, as character levels up is independent of each others.
Graphics wise Yakuza 4 is better when compared with previous installment in the franchise. The game looks awesome in cut-scenes. But once the game gets going all illusion falls apart,characters move stiffly and awkwardly during lengthy text based cut scene.
The mini games in Yakuza 4 such as playing at the arcade, batting cage, or helping damsels in distress will keep gamers engage till the very end. If gamers play each and every mini-game and side task Yakuza 4 will take 90 hours to complete.
The biggest drawback of Yakuza 4 is its story, which created two issues for the gamers. The very first one is that if you don’t understand Japanese very well, you might not get the story of Yakuza 4. The reason for this is that Yakuza 4 is filled with regional dialects of a language which completely varies from city to city (as English in United Kingdom). In short unless you have lived in Japan, you won’t understand anything apart from game’s main plot.
The main plot of game is absolutely rubbish, the first part of Yakuza 4 explain series of mysteries and gangland relationships, and the second half takes the complicated set up and adds it with useless over the top nime-inspired absurdity.
If you are a die-hard fan of Yakuza franchise, then you can go ahead and grab your copy of Yakuza 4. Those who are new to Yakuza world will also enjoy it. But for the fans of Yakuza franchise there’s nothing new in Yakuza 4, the gameplay remains unchanged from the previous game, the only thing that is good in the game is mini games and combats. Expecting a stunning story from Yakuza 4 will be a foolish thing.
Buy: Yakuza 4