13 April 2017 | residentgrigo
What a weird trip
The series peaked with the first game for me (if I forget the 2 Japan only samurai spin-offs) due to immediate gameplay stagnation and an incredible amount of reused content and filler. The rather generic story also completely fell off a cliff once the original writer left after Yakuza 2. I thus had zero interest to return to Sega's yearly grind factory but the positive reception and the fact that this isn't a continuation of the "save the orphanage" plot from Yakuza 3 and onwards gave me pause. I didn't quite enjoy the first few hours. Most of the simplistic sub-quests lack basic presentation as voice acting and are all badly written. The game is further a PS3 port. The brawler gameplay still puts grinding and item abuse over actual skill, while only the medium and heavy fighting style of both characters are truly usable. The story barely makes sense too and the ending undoes all your accomplishments to set up Yakuza 1 instead. The weirdest bit is when Kiryu shoots a highway full of goons to death but the game still insists that he never killed. I can appreciate that half the game is focused on Majima, who is the one major Yakuza character I can be bothered with, so there is that. Yet the game clock kept counting up and I ended up putting 65 hours into the game while completing about 90 of the 100 subquests. I can't explain it but the missions just started to flow into each other and I ended up being a nearly maxed out multimillionaire by the time the story reached the halfway mark. The sizable Host Club and Pocket Racing quests weren't even half bad (outside of the juvenile writing) but the Real Estate quest certainly tested my patience. My main take away that is that I am still incapable of understanding why I ended up linking the sum of the game's questionably parts but it has a certain kitsch charm. Or I may have needed a vacation to Japan's well captured days of excess, who knows? My final impression of the game is this: The game demands you to play a perfect game of bowling (3 turkeys in a row) to progress in 2 sub stories and get a new business manager for Kiryu. That "manager" ends up being an actual turkey, with a salary. His stats aren't even that good but what was I expecting? 7,5/10
PS: I also recently played Yakuza 6 and liked that it is a PS4-only game but the usual "save the orphanage" story was again insufferable. I'll thus stick to the spin-offs.