Yakuza Preview

Back in 2005, Sega released a game known as Ryu Ga Gotoku in Japan, created by Toshihiro Nagoshi and award winning novelist Seishu Hase. The budget for the game was a measly 2.4 billion yen, or roughly 21 million dollars. It quickly became a critical and commercial success in Japan, so Sega (not one to shy away from making a profit) decided to bring the game over to the West, and renamed it Yakuza.

In this Playstation 2 exclusive, you play as Kazuma Kiryu, a former up-and-comer in the organized crime world of the Yakuza. After 10 long years in prison (serving a sentence for murder), Kazuma is now trying to rebuild his life. Things change drastically when you find yourself in the situation of trying to figure out where the Yakuza,s 10 billion yen fortune may have disappeared to (it probably wasn,t misplaced), as well as figure out just what the involvement of a mysterious girl named Haruka bodes. Sound interesting? Of course it is.

This action adventure game allows players to move around in a modern day Tokyo, complete with the neon lights and stores you would expect. Kazuma can go into many different businesses for whatever purposes the player sees fit, be it to flip through a magazine, get a massage, or to try wooing some of the women in bars. Regaining life means going into a restaurant and having a meal, similar to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, a game some may not want to have to be compared to, though it seems just in this case.

Players can run around the city streets, bumping into people, much like in GTA, but the comparisons to GTA should be merely on a conceptual level; Yakuza is definitely its own game. Running through crowds mean meeting a variety of characters, some of which are less friendly than others. You,ll have to manage the “deep gameplay,” as Sega puts it, by increasing strength and stamina skills, which make the game have a dash of RPG elements in it.

Also reminiscent of RPGs is the way the way fights occur on the streets as people engage you for a myriad of reasons. Luckily they aren,t always much of a challenge, but when jumped by more than one assailant do expect to fend off enemies from all around, since your opponents aren,t simply going to watch as you pummel their friend. The fighting engine was made just for this game; no borrowing technology here, but beating people with your bare hands does get old, so picking up whatever is around you to aid in your malice can help. A bit of effort has been put into letting players actually play the game as opposed to figuring out what to do. The map nicely shows what buildings you can actually enter while persons you can interact with in the crowd will have an arrow over their head. (Interesting note: people you can interact with have an arrow over their head, butpeople who want to hurt you appear out of nowhere. Go figure.)

Aside from physical altercations, people will try to get your attention while going through the mass of people, and not simply react to something you,ve done. It,s the subtle things like this that make you realise that Yakuza is not just another game, and all that development money went to good use.

Since the game is coming to the Western audience, Sega


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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