RYU GA GOTOKU 3
Anyone that's been following Yakuza news knows that Yakuza 3 is going to be released in Japan on February 26, with currently no plans to bring it or the samurai spin-off, Kenzan!, to the West. This needs to change!
After some folks on Gamefaqs chatted up Sega, a hopeful response came through: "show us thereís a strong net community for Yakuza
and we will think about releasing the games there".
Thatís when a couple of members of the gamefaqs forums banded together and created Yakuza-3.com
, currently being maintained by Pixel.
Letís show Sega that there really are Yakuza fans in the USA, Europe and Australia and elsewhere in the world.
It has a good wealth of info, and while the site itself still has a lot of work todo, we already have forums up and a wiki, so the sooner people start pouring in, the better.
Our objective is to organize the Yakuza fans, currently spread over the various general gaming sites, and strive for our goal: to bring Yakuza 3 to the west.
That said, I leave with you my own personal experience
with the series so far (it's long
Iíve been playing Yakuza 1 sporadically, ever since I got it, which was a good while before Sega started talking about finally bringing Yakuza 2 to the West. I read about the spin-off set in samurai times being released, and then the announcement that there would be a real Yakuza 3, continuing the story.
Yet, I havenít finished Yakuza 1. Between getting a PS3 and playing some recent (and decent) PC games, Yakuza kept getting forgotten. But now Iím back to finish the job.
Yakuza is a game that doesnít give a great first impression, at least from what I can tell from my own first reaction and my friendsí. The game was released in 2006 in Europe, and while the cover looked awesome, the game didnít really grab me. I mistook it for just another brawler, like Final Fight: Streetwise and the like, and probably a crappy one at that.
The fans of the series already know what makes it special, but for those that never played it, hereís the gist: details. The game is crammed with stuff to do, stuff to read, details to discover on your own. At its heart, itís a fighting game, with a couple of combos that you will use from the beginning until the end of the game, but with plenty of new moves to learn at your own pace, using experience points gained after finishing enemies and doing side-missions.
The city looks gorgeous for a PS2 title
The game takes place in a neighborhood of Tokyo, a faithful recreation of Shinjuku. I donít know how faithful it is, but it sure feels like Iím moving around Kyriuu (thatís the main character) in the crowded streets of the Japanese metropolis. Thereís neon signs everywhere, lots of characters on screen, and you can even overhear conversations while walking around, displayed in dialog bubbles. When you bump on someone, they get knocked back and wind up a bit; itís great for a game from 2005 on a PS2.
Wandering about you can reach various shops, bars and gambling areas of the neighborhood. Itís up to you if you want to run over to the next story mission, displayed in glowing red on the map, or if you want to explore the place and see if you can find characters needing help. While doing this youíll have some random encounters, though since the enemies are already on screen when you reach them, the game really makes it feel like itís not a random encounter, just some bastard that was already waiting for you up ahead.
And then the fighting starts. Like I said, itís not terribly deep, but thereís enough realism and brutality in the fighting that it really feels as if youíre punishing some punks for pestering that girl. Youíll pull the two-punch, two-kick combo plenty of times, but when your special spirit bar is filled up you can do some different moves.
During these fights thereís usually some piece of furniture standing around, waiting for you to pick it up and bang it on your foesí heads, a use meter making sure itíll break quickly. If you have your spirit ON, you can use a special move thatíll show Kyriuu smashing the whole item on top of the enemy, destroying the object no matter how much uses it had left, and most of the time killing / knocking out the enemy right there. Thereís an early mission that happens on a graveyard, and itís awesome that you can pick up a tombstone and smash it on top of the poor folks ordered to kill you.
The fighting in the game is brutal
All of this is accompanied by great sound effects, every fist hitting flesh, every object breaking heads, and when you dispose of the last enemy thereís even a slow motion effect to show off your might.
Kyriuu is taller than his enemies, which is one of those details that really make you feel like a famous ex-Yakuza of great strength and might. Walking around amidst the smaller enemies, youíre a force to be reckoned with and can lift them easily, throwing them on top of other punks or headbutting them until they fall down.
This kind of atmosphere isnít usually on display on games that feature brawling or beat em up gameplay. Devil May Cry is too floaty and light, while God of War, which is very brutish, is too supernatural to be compared to the ďrealĒ pain of Yakuza. Only No More Heroes achieves a similar effect, even with all the blood (or ash, in Europeís case).
But the game isnít just fighting. There are also diversions, like a batting minigame, and the hostesses, virtual girls that you can chat up and offer gifts and the like, hoping for some more intimate encounters. They donít go very deep, finishing on a pink screen probably reflecting Kyriuu ďgetting it onĒ, butís great that the featureís there, even if it kind of reeks of dating sims. In Yakuza you really have to pay even just to chat with these girls, it really is a service that youíre paying for. And it isnít cheap!
Other details worth mentioning is how you can buy real drinks in the various bars, a lot of them from Suntory (if youíve seen Lost in Translation, you know what Iím talking about, itís a very famous Japanese beverage brand), and every time you drink a beverage that you havenít tasted yet, you gain a couple of experience points. Itís just cool that the game rewards you for trying out the drinks, reading their description and checking them out on the table of the bar. read