Yakuza 4 Demo Impressions

By azn_pride, Posted 11 Mar 2011

“Yakuza fans should have no problem with the series' latest brawler title.”


Developer: CS1 Team
Publisher: Sega
Release Date: March 15, 2011 (NA); March 18, 2011 (EU)
Platform(s): PS3
Genre: Beat-em-up


The Yakuza franchise has been well-known in Japan since the release of the first game back in September of 2005. Its popularity there has spawned localizations here in the West, which has also been well-received by some. It’s actually pretty surprising that another Yakuza title is seeing release outside of Japan, since the previous game, Yakuza 3’s Western version had a lot of content cut from the original, entailing Sega might stop releasing the franchise from the West probably due to budget concerns and whatnot. Fans should be a bit happier though, that Yakuza 4 will retain most of its content when it finally reaches Western shores.



The demo was very brief, though it gives us a glimpse on what players will expect out of the combat from this latest Yakuza title. You’re introduced to the game’s four playable characters, in which you get to test all of them out against a wave of enemies. Each character has their strengths, weaknesses, and specialties. Shun Akiyama relies heavily on kicks to drive opponents away; Masayoshi Tanimura is a bit slower, often relying on submissions to get himself out of sticky situations; Taiga Seijima uses punches, kicks, and throws, and Yakuza franchise main protagonist, Kazuma Kiryu seems like the best-rounded out of the four. As for Yakuza 4’s storyline, not much is known, though I imagine it will include murder/revenge/police tales and the like. Also, these four characters will be connected in the plot in some form or another.



Controls will have you press the square button for regular attack, triangle for heavy attack, circle to grab and/or throw, L1 to block, etc. A staple of the Yakuza franchise is a series of special moves called Heat Action, which makes a return in Yakuza 4. Depending on the situation at hand, you’ll activate a Heat Action that will deal a great amount of damage to a single and/or multiple enemies. Every object you pick up can activate a different type of Heat Action each time. Certain situations, like being surrounded on both sides can have different effects as well. It’s a neat gameplay mechanic that encourages you to use your surroundings, letting you try out different combinations and unlock more Heat Action along the way. It adds a flavor of variety to the game, and definitely more enjoyable than just button-mashing your way through hordes of enemies.



Everything else in the demo is disabled, though the full game will promise a slew of quirky mini-games for players to take a stab at such as bowling, karaoke, and baseball. Yakuza 4’s adventure mode will have you performing various things depending on the character you’re playing as. These range from recruiting and befriending civilians along the way to being sidetracked by the numerous gangs that are after you. The trailers also imply co-op, but this has yet to be determined. And judging from the demo, this localized version will retain the Japanese voice acting from the original.


Visually, they’ve done a nice job detailing the bustling cities of Japan and the backgrounds, weather effects, and crowds are rendered to great results. Character designs look neat and animations are convincing enough to look at. From what I’ve seen in the demo, Yakuza fans should be satisfied when this game comes out next week exclusively on the Playstation 3. Beware its button mash-y nature, though with everything else--from the mini-games to the intriguing storyline--the full game will undoubtedly offer, I feel you’ll still get some fun out of it. Personally though, I’m looking forward to that zombie Yakuza game they’ve been talking about...


Trailer below provided by SEGAEurope:



David Gabriel, NoobFeed.

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  • I tried the demo as well. That game is very brutal, fun, and satisfying. There's a little bit of Dead Rising flavor in it because there's plenty of objects you can pick and interact with. I have good feeling about the game, I think it's going to get decent scores.

    Posted Mar 12, 2011

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