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All things Yakuza! - Start with Yakuza Zero

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Yakuza Zero, Kiwami 1 and 2, Yakuza 6 and Judgment are all in the new "Big in Japan" PSN sale that starts today and runs for the next two weeks - in case anybody was thinking of completing (or starting) their Yakuza collection.

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I know the announcement of turn-based combat has caused a lot of controversy but honestly that just makes it look like they've used the new combat system as an excuse for even more insane set-pieces and over-the-top dramatic framing and I am totally on board with that decision. Looks great. If you can't trust the Yakuza team after seven games, who can you trust?

 

In other news, I finished Yakuza Kiwami, had a great time with it despite its limitations and sunk nearly forty hours into it so that was a lot more than the "quick story runthrough" I was aiming for. I ended up getting quite engrossed in unlocking all the Dragon abilities and then of course never used them in the final two battles where I just punched people in Beast mode like I'd done for the whole of the rest of the game. So, no Zero then, but still hugely entertaining. I am telling myself it is not a good idea to jump straight into Kiwami 2 even thought that's exactly what I'd like to do right now.

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53 minutes ago, luth714 said:

I see Kiwami 1 is 8.99 - are they just digital releases or was there a physical release?

 

All of them have physical releases. Yakuza 5 on the PS3 is the only exception which was digital only.

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I'm making my way through Yakuza 3, as someone who came fresh to the series with 0 (then Kiwami and Kiwami 2), and... I'm really enjoying it! 

 

I was a bit worried about coming from the Dragon Engine goodness of K2 and Judgement to this, but it holds up really well for an early, uprezzed PS3 game, with the same excellent sense of place and characterisation that permeates the earlier games. 

 

I especially love the way they've handled Majima from 0 onwards - 

 

Spoiler

He really seems like he's had enough by Y3, he wants out of the never-ending squabbles of Yakuza life. He's lost his verve, and seems borderline depressed in the way he half-heartedly accepts Kiryu's propositions for the good of the Tojo, while at the same time surpressing his urge to fight him all the time and let out some of his aggression. That bit where you follow him, crook-backed and shambling, to the purgatory coliseum once again and you know exactly what's about to go down, with no dialogue, speaks volumes. 

 

So colour me impressed. Yes, it's the middle part of a fairly meandering gangster soap opera, but Y3 has done enough to keep my attention, and I honestly can't wait for 4!

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I played the original game when it came out on the PS2, and now I've finally got around to finishing Yakuza 0. I wasn't particularly feeling it for a good while, to the point where I took a long break about half way through. Something clicked when I came back to it though, and I had an absolute blast from there on out. 

 

I do have a fairly big issue with it though, in that female characters are almost non-existent. Unless I've forgotten something from the first half, there's really only one woman of any note, and she barely has any agency. Instead she's mainly there as a human macguffin for the men to fight over. I gather there's a reason for this in that Yakuza are a sexist bunch in reality, but I'm sure that doesn't mean women can't be involved in a Yakuza story.

 

The story and characters are otherwise really good though, including said human macguffin. It's a crime drama with heart, and it somehow manages to mix some ludicrously over the top insanity with some really touching moments without either feeling out of place. 

 

Oh and the fights! The fights are glorious, although I found I gelled with Kiryu's styles more than Goro's. The extended fight sequences turn the game into something of a modern Streets of Rage successor, and it's fantastic.

 

I can't wait to crack on with Yakuza Kiwami now, but I should probably take a bit of a break first. :D

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On 15/09/2019 at 12:17, Mogster said:

but I'm sure that doesn't mean women can't be involved in a Yakuza story.

 

Haruka is a playable character for a sizeable chunk of Yak 5. Although I understand your point.

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1 minute ago, Yobo Ahoy said:

 

Haruka is a playable character for a sizeable chunk of Yak 5. Although I understand your point.

 

That's great! I was only addressing Zero specifically though. I have no idea what the rest are like, but I'll find out soon enough. ;)

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Well Yakuza Kiwami 2 is all kinds of fabulous, I guess you all know that already though.

 

Some random thoughts after a few chapters:

  • I'm surprised how much of a direct follow-up to Kiwami 1 this is. I guess that sounds obvious but I thought the games' stories would be more self-contained; this literally picks up where the last one ended with most of the same characters back for more. It makes the whole thing more like the second season of a TV show I'm enjoying than a genuine videogame sequel, not that that's a problem.
  • The crazy sub-stories are back! I'm running into them *everywhere*. They're hilarious.
  • The new graphics engine is very nice, and I adapted to the lower frame rate quicker than I expected. Kiryu looks off though, not quite like the guy I've come to know and love over the last two games. It's like he's had some work done, or is wearing make-up.
  • Oh god it's the Cabaret Club! AKA the best mini-game ever. Totally derailed my playthrough for a couple of hours until I forced myself away from it. It's very similar to the one in Zero but I'm honestly not complaining.
  • No sign of Majima yet. I'm sure the crazy bastard will make a grand entrance sooner or later.
  • I finally understand the batting game! Not a clue still with the hobo card games, of course.
  • It's weird but brilliant being able to kick bad guys straight into shops now.
  • 90% of my XP gains seem to come from eating. That's odd. Very much like my real life though.
  • I might be wrong but there don't seem to be CP points in this or anywhere to spend them, i.e. no incentive to do the side-challenges other than completionism. I'm still doing them of course but that seems a shame.

This really is the best game series I've found in years. Everything about it is simply superb.

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Came in here as I only just heard about this,

 

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Out of that lot I’ve only managed to complete 3, got quite far into 4, and haven’t touched 5. If the remasters are cross-save this is a must buy for me.

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The photo shoot minigame in Kiwami 2 is quite something :blink2:  Maybe the first thing I’ve seen in this series that crosses the line from tongue-in-cheek to straightforwardly pervy. 

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7 minutes ago, Garwoofoo said:

The photo shoot minigame in Kiwami 2 is quite something :blink2:  Maybe the first thing I’ve seen in this series that crosses the line from tongue-in-cheek to straightforwardly pervy. 

 

That’s all manner of pervertedness. Too much for me.

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So chapter 10/11 of Kiwami 2 get a bit... peculiar.

 

Kiryu takes a knife to the guts and is staggering around the streets of Sotenbori covered in blood. One cutscene later and he's up and jumping around again (and someone's washed his suit). Then he visits Osaka Castle which splits in two and is full of ninjas and he punches a tiger in the face.

 

It's different, that's for sure.

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2 hours ago, Garwoofoo said:

So chapter 10/11 of Kiwami 2 get a bit... peculiar.

 

 

  Reveal hidden contents

Kiryu takes a knife to the guts and is staggering around the streets of Sotenbori covered in blood. One cutscene later and he's up and jumping around again (and someone's washed his suit). Then he visits Osaka Castle which splits in two and is full of ninjas and he punches a tiger in the face.

 

 

It's different, that's for sure.

 

That whole bit is like some yakuza fever dream. Can't decide if it's the best set-piece ever or the worst. 

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Actually it kind of works if you treat it as a mad hallucination that Kiryu’s having after his injury. 
 

Currently taking Haruka on the least child-friendly tour of Japan I can muster. So far I’ve taken her to an underground fighting tournament and then drunk the entire menu at Earth Angel in one sitting. Next up it’s naked ladies. I’m a bad father. 

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Made a start on Kiwami.

 

Every time I start a new Yakuza I think... yassssss. I know they’re all the same and it’s the worst asset reuse ever but there’s just something great about them.

 

Majima is amazing.

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29 minutes ago, smac said:

Did anyone catch Giri/Haji on the BBC last night/ First 20 minutes was so Yakuza.

Never played a Yakuza game but I really enjoyed it.

 

Will be starting with Yakuza 0 of course.

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After the surprise announcement that Yakuza 0, Yakuza Kiwami, and follow-up Yakuza Kiwami 2, are coming to Xbox, I'm really looking forward to playing through them again. I hope they end up getting the full series. Even better that they are on Gamepass, so it's a great opportunity for Xbox owners who have so far missed out on these fantastic games.

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I already have them all on PS4, but since they're free with Game Pass I think I will at least play through Zero on there. Fantastic deal, and the more people get to experience Yakuza the better.

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