Gaming Backlog: Yakuza 4

Yakuza is a series that piqued my interest some years ago, but my want to start things off from the beginning kept me at bay. This want is why I’m still plodding along in the first Assassin’s Creed. However, thanks to PlayStation Plus I received Yakuza 4 for “free” and thus finally dipped into the abyss.

I cannot tell you how many hours I’ve sunk into this game, but what I can say is I’ve lost the plot somewhere along the way. Here’s what I can gather:

Akiyama is a Robin Hood-esque loan shark. A mysterious woman who needs a lot of money for mysterious reasons comes into his life. Drama ensues.

Tanimura is a cop with bad habits who uses his ill-gotten funds to help immigrants. Another Robin Hood, if you will. He also wants to find his dad’s murderer. Eventually crosses paths with Akiyama’s mystery woman. More drama.

Saejima is a yakuza on death row, who then escapes to find answers or whatever, and well, his storyline is a big “wha….”. But he ropes in the last protagonist.

Kiryu is what ties all the games together and I’m assuming all the plotlines in this specific game. Former yakuza. Head of very tiny orphanage. Does not seem disturbed at Saejima checking out middle schooler under his care. Also kind of hot.

There is an overarching plot involving stolen money, backstabbing, mass murder and love. But who cares! I’ve spent most of my time in the hostess clubs and beating up gang members. Occasionally I help someone out with their curry recipe.

The actual game mechanics are a bit stiff, specifically with the fighting combos and moving around in general, and the map/mini-map leaves much to be desired. Actually, I really hate the map; it’s borderline useless. A lot of the fighting feels like placeholders until the next overly long, overly dramatic cutscene. And I’m okay with that.

Yakuza 4 is a soap opera with all the convoluted mess that entails, but is also fun for the most part. It only becomes tedious if you want to achieve 100% trophy completion. Thankfully I don’t.

I have no interest in replaying this game, but I may check out Yakuza 5.

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