TGS 09: Yakuza 4 unveiling report and impressions

We told you that Sega would unveil Yakuza 4 at this year’s Tokyo Game Show, and they finally did today. I went over to their big unveiling this morning to check out all that they’ve added to the game, and I was so wowed that I almost forgot that Yakuza 3 isn’t even out in America yet.

The big news is that Yakuza 4 has four protagonists in it (seen above, bottom row). There’s now a “speedster,” Shun Akiyama, strong man Taiga Saejima, cop Masayoshi Tanimura, and, of course, Kazuma Kiryu. We saw footage of these new characters on screen, in dynamic action shots that gave us little to no indication of what was going on. Still, it looked really cool, with all kinds of fighting and story elements flashed on the screen quickly. They say that the story will develop through the eyes of each of these characters. 

This new installment for the PS3 has real-world Japanese actors in it, providing the voices and the faces. You may not be familiar with any of them, but they pack in some serious star power for the Japanese. It seems that Sega spared no expense in making this a big game.

Finally we were shown a quick clip of all of the extra side amusements you can partake in. Yakuza 4 brings many more minigames than its predecessors. The new pachinko parlors look incredibly authentic. Karaoke now has a duet function, and can now be played with girls from the hostess clubs. Also spotted was a new quiz show, tennis, darts, and bowling. My favorite? Ping pong at an onsen, which can be played with go up against their favorite hostess club girls. I kid you not: when a ball was hit out of bounds, a hostess girl used the top of her breasts to knock it back onto the table. I love this game series.

Yakuza 4 looks great. Japan gets it in the Spring of 2010 on the PS3. I’m hoping we have Yakuza 3 by then!

Dale North