I’m going to be frank with you, readers. I never really appreciated Yakuza’s “Japanese GTA” style. In fact, I am not a hardcore fan of Grand Theft Auto in general. The basic concept of the game just loses its fun after awhile. But, after playing the demo to Yakuza 4, I can say I am definitely interested. It is very possible that I will, at least, rent this title for my own purposes.
The demo is definitely not story related and just has you battling it out against a bunch of thugs while playing as the main characters. You’ll end up controlling Shun Akiyama, Masayoshi Tanimura, Taiga Saejima, and classic Kaz. Not at the same time mind you, as you face a set of enemies as each character in a “battle arena” type mode. The environments do change, along with the characters, and the visuals are above average but it won’t blow anyone away.
The gameplay can be fun…when you know what you are doing and if the game decides to be your friend. A simple 10 second cut scene will be shown detailing the environment, opponents, and your health & stamina once you start a level. The first grief you’ll run into is the redundant ability to lie down, excessively, once knocked over. You don’t stay on the ground for 5 seconds while multiple thugs, that want to hurt you, approach your position. The last inconvenience is the targeting. To target an enemy requires you to face a person and press attack. As guessed that can lead to many missed kicks and punches. It’s sad that this problem occurs because the camera is very smooth. Though these problems are forgivable, they can be downright annoying.
The attacks and abilities you have are limited (because of the demo status) and I found myself spamming the same moves over and over again. That doesn’t, however, impede the fun. You can punch, kick, grapple, and pick up weapons to harm those random thugs. Once the attacks land…the gameplay is seamless and graceful. Not to mention the quick time events that can happen once triggered. Once your stamina is maxed out (you’ll be able to tell because your character will be glowing with energy) you can grapple or approach an enemy for a cool battle QTE. This can lead to things like punching someone straight in the face while they are on the ground, spinning a man in mid-air and round house kicking him in the face, and lifting a thug up and smashing him back down.
As said before, I will at least rent this game. What’s stopping me from going any further is the annoying gameplay problems and lack of any story driven mission in this demo. If you are a big Yakuza fan on the PS3 (and not a PlayStation Plus member) be sure to download this demo on February 22nd. Also be sure to let me know if this game is worth buying, so I can experience a potentially great game’s contribution to gaming.