E3 2010: Yakuza 4 Hands-On

Originally Posted on June 16th, 2010: Link.

Right off the bat, I was not expecting Yakuza 4 to be at E3 at all. Yakuza 3 only came out in March! Let me just say though that Yakuza 4 had to be one of the best demos of the day for me.

In the demo, each of the four playable characters (yes, four) got a chance to show their fisticuffs as they battled the scum of the streets in their own unique fighting styles. They may all be rough and heavy men, but each of your choices vary in their stats. You have the highly agile, the slow and powerful, the grappler, and, of course, my main man Kazuma, the all-arounder.

I can already tell that being able to play multiple characters will certainly add dozens of gameplay hours to the completionists everywhere. Using any of the assorted weapons on the ground with the game’s over-the-top special moves also left me smiling from ear to ear the entire time that controller was in my hands. It was a short demo, but that is all it took to really get me hooked!

I am a huge Yakuza fan, and I consider it to be Sega’s best human-oriented franchise in the company’s storied career. To me, it basically fills any sort of void a Shenmue III A lot of people had their problems with Yakuza 3, namely the stuff that they ommitted. Talking with Sega’s Community Manager, he explained that the first thing brought up during the board meeting to discuss the sequel was this problem and how they wanted to remedy it.

For us Americans, it means the inclusion of the hostess bars. Fear not, young ones! You will dine with these fine ladies, or lie to your significant other and say that you are only there for a business meeting. Just don’t expect those Japanese trivia games, though. In some of the questions, characters are traveling across the screen which would take the developers months to do, and really, who is up-to-date on their Japanese culture and history? It’s hard enough for us Americans or Europeans to remember our history.

Yakuza 4 will be coming out exclusively for the PS3 in Spring 2011. Wha-wha-what? Two Yakuza games in the same number of years, and we won’t have to wait years after it comes out in Japan to play it? Yes sir! Look forward to it, because I will be!

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