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Author Topic: [PS2]Yakuza Impressions  (Read 3250 times)
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CeeKay
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« on: September 07, 2006, 04:04:43 AM »

Well, I was at EBGames today putting in my pre-order for Okami when I saw Yakuza sitting on the shelf and figured what the heck.  So far I've played for about 90 minutes and I have to say I'm liking it.  It starts off with a sequence of cut scenes, broken up by mostly tutorial fights, that lead up to the beginning of the story. 

The fighting is really easy to pick up, and you can upgrade 3 different stats for more moves as you gain XP.  There are combos, weapons that you can pick up, a basic hold and throw plus a hold and smash attack.  Like I said, the first few fights are basically tutorial teaching you what you can do with the basic moves.  There is kind of a lock on button, but it seems to act wonky at times.  If the lock on worked better I'd compare the combat to Jade Empire...

Graphics wise, it's a PS2 game.  They are decent, but in the beginning you are limited to a small section of the city so there may be some stunning views later on.  The city streets are fairly well populated, but not as much as the New Orleans level in the most recent Hitman game.  I'd like to see what they could have done if they went next gen with this one.   I haven't found the voice acting to be too bad, but only major scenes have VO.  if it's a simple encounter you get only text that you have to click through to finish the conversation.

So far the game seems pretty linear, but it looks like it should open up (at least according to the manual it should) after I get past the first few chapters.
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« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2006, 04:26:36 AM »

Awesome.  Very much looking forward to this game.  I know I read some comment on GAF about a reason that the lock-on is kind of loose, but I can't find it right now.

FWIW, evidently the game opens up in Chapter 4.   
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« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2006, 07:08:57 AM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on September 07, 2006, 04:26:36 AM

Awesome.  Very much looking forward to this game.  I know I read some comment on GAF about a reason that the lock-on is kind of loose, but I can't find it right now.

After some more experience with it I'd say it's almost non-existent.  You can have an enemy locked on, and then if you end up moving past him you won't really turn around.  I also encountered another annoyance:  an enemy who could duck under your hits and do a leg sweep that could not be blocked along with having a shotgun that cannot be knock out of it's hands.  Note:  you cannot duck and do not have such a move nor do you have a gun plus any weapon you pick up can be easily knocked out of your hand by it.
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« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2006, 01:34:43 PM »

SIGH

Have to pick this one up.  As a fan of the blending of cinema with video games, Yakuza seems right up my alley.  Gotta find some stuff to put up on eBay to justify it...
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« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2006, 01:35:52 AM »

Already plugged 2 hours into it...

Can't wait to put 2 more in tonight.  I'm really enjoying it!
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« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2006, 12:01:32 PM »

Okay, got to chapter 4, ran around a bit because the game really opens up at that point...

I really like it so far.  Yeah, there are camera issues...yeah, the controls are a little funky...the fighting isn't super slick, but it's weaving a really interesting story, the characters are all awesome and I love the setting.  And it's been fun exploring when I've gotten the chance.

Kazuma is such a badass.  biggrin  The heat attacks are vicious and they feel oooh so nice to pull off.  Slamming a guy's head into a wall has never felt so satisfying.

So far, so good!
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« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2006, 06:14:10 AM »

After reading the impressions on NeoGAF I picked this up earlier today and WOW this game is fun. Not at all a GTA clone like some reviews are bringing up. To me it's a beat em up with an engrossing story (so far). I have not really messed around with the distractions/side quests so I can't comment on those but I am really enjoying the combat and the HEAT attacks (think special meter) are way cool as TML mentioned. Voice acting is a mixed bag. Kazuma's voice seems natural but some of the other characters voices seemed forced or out of place. Also there seems to be a lot of loading ( cutscenes, fight encounters, area changes, etc. ) but I like the presentation for the fight encounters. You run into a guy named "punk ass Abe", he talks a little smack, you get a  "VS. punk ass Abe" loading screen and then you proceed to beat down punk ass Abe. Good stuff thumbsup
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« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2006, 01:39:35 PM »

Despite the annoyances (load times, occassionally clunky fighting, no really, I Wanted to turn away from the guy beating my ass!) the game is quite enjoyable.  I'm glad I pulled the ps2 out of storage on this one.
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« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2006, 03:53:39 PM »

The more I play it, the more I like it.

Decided to just run around the discover things in the city and I ran into about 3 really cool scenario's.  GOD I feel like a badass playing this game.
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« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2006, 04:03:57 PM »

Quote from: TheMissingLink on September 11, 2006, 03:53:39 PM

GOD I feel like a badass playing this game.
Unlike real life OH SNAP!
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« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2006, 04:08:01 PM »

Not after you help me cut my hair tonight...I will be badass incarnate.
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« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2006, 07:15:04 PM »

Quote from: TheMissingLink on September 11, 2006, 04:08:01 PM

Not after you help me cut my hair tonight...I will be badass incarnate.
When are we getting our video game tattoos?  That will only up our street cred!
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« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2006, 11:33:38 AM »

I don't know which of my three powers to increaes!!  I got like, 8,000 XP ready to use on them, but can't decide what I want!  More FOCUS!?  More health!?  TECHNIQUES!?

I think I go focus + health.

I just spent like, half an hour playing roulette and with the money I gained, I bought a nice gift for a stripper that I'm going to try to get with.  Uh huh, this game is awesome.
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« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2006, 02:23:18 PM »

I need to get back to this game.  I didn't get any console gaming in over the weekend and I just finished watching the Wire season 1, so while I'm waiting for S2 I can hopefully get in some playtime.  Or not, having just signed up for the Dungeons and Dragon Online trial.  Has anyone invented an 8th day in the week yet?
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« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2006, 11:43:31 PM »

Started this up yesteday and I'm currently in Chapter 4- Can someone explain Heat Attacks to me.  The only one I know of now is the one where you smash guys heads into a wall but that often isn't even available in some fight locations.  Do I have to learn more Heat techniques or do I automatically gain other bonuses or moves when in Heat mode?  Unfortunately, my manual has a rather large misprint where it repeats large sections from the end of the manul but is totally missing the middle portion that evidently explains how the Heat stuff works. 
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« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2006, 12:44:29 AM »

Early on when your heat meter is full grab opponents and take/drag them near a wall or car and you'll get the option to use the heat move. It sometimes takes a few tries against the heavier guys and you have to press the triangle button pretty quickly or they shake you off. As you gain exp. upgrade the "soul" option and you will get some more heat moves. Hope that helps.
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« Reply #16 on: September 17, 2006, 12:48:41 AM »

I was having trouble with Heat attacks as well until I started to level it up biggrin

Basically, if you grab a dude next to a wall, and you've got your Heat gauge high enough, it'll give you an option to slam him into a wall.  So that's basically just positioning and having your gauge high enough.

If you have a weapon equipped, the triangle'll flash when you've got the heat gauge blinking and when the enemy is in the correct position to use the attack.  The large cones, I've found, can be used on a normal enemy...I've only had the heat attack show up using the oak sword when I've got the enemy doubled-up in pain.

I was sort of freaking out, not understanding the system, but once you level up your heat skill, you'll have the abillity to keep it blinking longer and you won't feel rushed.  Plus you get a neat heat skill that you can use whenever an enemy is lying down biggrin
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« Reply #17 on: September 17, 2006, 12:51:56 AM »

Quote from: TheMissingLink on September 17, 2006, 12:48:41 AM

 Plus you get a neat heat skill that you can use whenever an enemy is lying down biggrin
I really abused that heat move...because it was AWESOME!! icon_twisted
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« Reply #18 on: September 17, 2006, 01:09:28 AM »

Ah thanks.  Yeah, I knew about the wall smashing move but wasn't sure if I already had other stuff available.  Looks like I need to level up a few things. 
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« Reply #19 on: September 19, 2006, 12:41:01 PM »

So, I've made it to Chapter 8 and I'm having an absolute blast.  That said, I don't think I've ever seen such an obvious AAA game have so many polish issues.  Especially the camera and the character control as it relates to it- I thought we had licked this stuff by 2006. 

But man, this game gets so many other things right.  I *love* the fighting system.  I'm not much for fighters because I tend to rely too much on a couple of combos but the fighting in Yakuza actually feels slow enough that it's less about spamming out a few rote combo attacks and instead ends up being about using the correct combo for the situation (surrounded, trapped against a wall, one on one, figthing guys with weapons).  And, man, is Kazuma ever a total bad-ass once you start learning a few moves.

I love the environment as well- I don't think I've ever seen a city in a game feel so real and full of life.  And it's not a function really of the population density but more about population behavior.  The people in the game seem to serve a purpose whether it's chatting with their friends in front of a theater or drunks sneaking away to a back alley to take a piss or puke their guts out. 

Story has been highlighted and many of the reviews and, yeah, it's really damn good.  I love the cast of characters here and the game takes the time to flesh out everyone at least a little bit.

I'd say that the game reminds me most of Mafia with a bit of Ico.  The story line is certainly Mafia quality and, like that game, even though you play a gangster, you are essentially a "good" (or, more accurately, "honorable") gangster at war with rival, "dishonorable" gangsters.   

There is also a huge number of sidequests in this game (something like 75), and so far I've probably done about 2/3 of them and, in general, they are quite well done.  You can rush through the game if need be but it seems like doing it a disservice, especially since avoiding sidequests means you get less experience.  And less experience=fewer badass moves.
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« Reply #20 on: September 19, 2006, 02:49:16 PM »

Oh, I should add that HD Loader makes a *huge* difference in this game.  Load times are pretty darn quick.  Didn't realize how bad they are in the "normal" version until I had to switch over to the game disc last night to complete a sidequest that was borked when using HD Loader. 
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« Reply #21 on: September 19, 2006, 04:40:02 PM »

Yeah, I've really had a blast with this game.  I would have already finished it except for the distraction that is Lego Star Wars II, and class.

Got to get back to it soon.
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« Reply #22 on: September 19, 2006, 10:05:08 PM »

Reviewers are being waaaaay too harsh, imo, and I'm not entirely sure why.
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« Reply #23 on: September 19, 2006, 11:32:43 PM »

Quote from: TheMissingLink on September 19, 2006, 10:05:08 PM

Reviewers are being waaaaay too harsh, imo, and I'm not entirely sure why.

One thing that seems to be pretty consistent in impressions is that people who blazed through the game and did few sidequests have much more unfavorable opinions on the game itself, and the fighting system in particular, than those who put a bit more time into the sidequesting.  Now obviously part of that is that if you don't like the game to begin with then you aren't likely to feel like doing extra missions.  Still, I suspect that many reviewers felt compelled to stick to the main story to get the review done ASAP and missed out on quite a bit.  I think Kasavin said that his final play time was only about 15 hours which isn't a whole lot more than the straight runthrough supposedly takes. 

I think the other thing is that some fell into the "Oh, this is GTA, but in Japan, right?" trap.  And the game really isn't much like GTA at all.
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« Reply #24 on: September 21, 2006, 12:31:58 PM »

Finished this up last night.  Very good ending.  Overall, I would give it a B or B+.  If the soon-to-be-released-in-Japan sequel can fix the technical issues then it should be really spectacular.

Also, there are some very nifty live action prequel short films to the game produced by the high profile Japanese director Takashi Miike on the Sega Yakuza website.  However I would caution against watching them since they indirectly spoil the whole
Spoiler for Hiden:
Yumi is Mizuchi
thing, though I thought it was pretty obvious all along anyway. 

And, amazingly enough, I really like Haruka and she never annoyed me. 
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« Reply #25 on: May 13, 2007, 09:33:30 PM »

& yet another great game from last fall that got past me. probably shouldn't've played the demo back then, which kinda showcased the weaknesses of the game (the fighting system & load times, neither of which is really that bad) without really being able to give you a sense of just how deep, involving, & extremely well-written the game is. very glad i thought to grab this - it looks like, from this thread, a lot of people didn't, & if you're one of'm, i strongly suggest you find a copy - this's one of those rare, genuinely mature games you just don't see all that often, & it's weaknesses are far outweighed by it's strengths...

also, i do believe a sequel's in the works...

(& yes, kevin g is right again!)...
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« Reply #26 on: May 14, 2007, 12:21:05 AM »

Interesting.  I wonder if I should pick this up when I go back home.  The sequel only has one review but it's significantly higher than the first game's reviews so that is good.
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« Reply #27 on: May 14, 2007, 12:29:15 AM »

I still find myself firing this one up every one in awhile.  I always feel super badass when I play it biggrin

It IS much better than people make it out to be.
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« Reply #28 on: June 11, 2008, 03:06:41 AM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on September 21, 2006, 12:31:58 PM

And, amazingly enough, I really like Haruka and she never annoyed me.

+1!!! - i mean, what higher praise can you give a game that features an adorable little girl as a central character?...

so glad i finally finished this game (a little over a year later, but whatever smile ). somewhat spastic fighting system aside, this's possibly the ps2's single most under-rated game, a sleeper of sleepers. a huge, intricate, cohesive story, great environment, great music, loads of memorable supporting characters / villains, & one of the best localized voice casts ever = how the hell is it that so few people have ever played this?!...

if anything, yakuza's almost too rich: trying to finish all the side missions is what i think was mainly responsible for me wearing down my first go-round. but once i got around to hopping back in last week (mainly because i read that the sequel's due this september), & went a little easier on the side-missions, i ended up having a blast all the way to the extremely cool end...

re: the conversations in other threads about backward compatibility & holding on to old games - yakuza's a perfect example of why some of us are into both. some games just age really well, & this's definitely one of'm...


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« Reply #29 on: June 11, 2008, 03:18:50 AM »

Keep the older game recommendations coming.  I missed out on a large chunk of PS2 games so I've been going back through them with my PS3.
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« Reply #30 on: June 11, 2008, 05:04:32 PM »

i have not seen a single copy of this on the shelves in any of the game stores i go to.  too bad as it sounds like the kind of game i would have loved to play.
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« Reply #31 on: June 11, 2008, 07:37:13 PM »

Quote from: Caine on June 11, 2008, 05:04:32 PM

i have not seen a single copy of this on the shelves in any of the game stores i go to.  too bad as it sounds like the kind of game i would have loved to play.

Quite a few for sale on ebay.
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« Reply #32 on: June 11, 2008, 07:53:05 PM »

I thought this was a thread dedicated to what the Yakuza thought about the PS2. Moving on... frown
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« Reply #33 on: May 25, 2009, 04:51:02 AM »

So I'm (again) late to the party and I just started this.  I'm on chapter 3 and loving it so far.

One question:  I see people talking about sidequests and I haven't found any yet.  I've wandered around the small section of the city and gotten into random fights but nothing besides the main quest.  Am I just too early in the game for all the sidequesty stuff?
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« Reply #34 on: May 25, 2009, 06:37:08 AM »

IIRC, you start getting sidequests somewhere around Chapter 4. 
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