PS3 Previews: Yakuza 4 Preview

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Yakuza 4 Preview

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Scheduled release date:

March 15, 2011

Publisher:

Sega

Developer:

Sega

Number Of Players:

1

Genre:

Action/Adventure

Yakuza is one of the most under-appreciated franchises of the last two generations, and we should probably be thankful that Sega continues to localize the entries. Granted, there’s usually about a one-year gap between the Japanese and US release dates for each title, but that’s okay. While Yakuza: Of The End is currently on the Japanese radar, we’re just getting ready to receive Yakuza 4 here in North America, and a demo dropped onto the PSN last week. I’ve been itching to get a look at the game and although I’m a bit disappointed that it’s only a combat demo – just four separate battles with four characters; no wandering around or anything like that – the sample proves Yakuza remains a class act in terms of hand-to-hand battle. It was also clear that Kazuma Kiryu is a bona fide bad-ass; you play as him last, and to me, he seems to be the fastest and most powerful.

The biggest change in this new installment is that we won’t always be in control of Kazuma. That is highlighted by this demo, where we take control of each of the four available characters; each boasts his own distinct fighting style. You really have to dive into the mechanic and take full advantage of what Yakuza 4 has to offer, because that’s the best way of seeing those differences. Even some basic attacks are a little different, though; one of them unleashes a flurry of kicks towards the end of a basic combo. They can also execute various Heat moves, although each character can interact with the same aspects of the environment. For instance, you can always grab something nasty to assist in your relentless beatdown, and when near a wall or a car, you can take a foe and do something extra brutal. To finish off the main opponent, there’s a quick QTE that takes place, but it's well-implemented and isn’t intrusive.

At first glance, it seems like you just jam on the Square button, and maybe throw a few more powerful attacks in with Triangle. But there’s more depth than you might expect: you can take your fighting stance with R1, which is essential for staying focused on a certain opponent, block with L1, and grab with the Circle button. You can’t get a hold of certain enemies (especially the bigger ones), and some may attempt to grab you from behind. When that happens, you just press the X button repeatedly to break free. By grabbing an enemy when in Heat mode and pressing Triangle near an environmental object – like a wall – the character will execute a particularly horrid assault. You can also perform a certain attack when running towards an enemy, and you’ll sometimes have the opportunity to slam on a downed victim. The camera keeps up, for the most part, although I’d still want the view to be a little further back.

It’s just too bad that we can’t get a glimpse of the city we’ll be exploring, and there’s no peek at the story element. It’s just four consecutive battles in a row and that’s it. And while the focus of Yakuza 4 is most certainly centered on the combat, I think it might give those unfamiliar with the series the wrong impression. Heck, some might even think it’s an interesting fighting game of some kind. They may not realize that there’s actually a borderline GTA aspect to these games, and that we can usually expect a surprisingly in-depth and satisfying story. Therefore, download the demo so you can get a good idea of the combat – which is both solid and entertaining – but if you haven’t played other Yakuza games just yet, let it be known that the final product will offer lots more. It’ll be on store shelves on March 15.

2/28/2011 Ben Dutka

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Comments (23 posts)

Lawless SXE
Monday, February 28, 2011 @ 9:46:37 PM
Reply

Tell me, does anyone (Kiryu) know if knowledge of the rest of the series is required to get into Yakuza 4, or will someone be able to pick it straight away and get into the story, without necessarily knowing what happened before. That's the only thing I'm worried about with this title. But the combat sounds similar to what it was in GTA IV with environmental interaction. Please tell me that it feels more impactful and rewarding. I may pick this up at the same time as KZ3 later this month.
Peace.

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JSwayze
Monday, February 28, 2011 @ 10:31:13 PM

Yakuza 3 had a option to see the story in Y1 and Y2...so this may be in Yakuza 4.

No you don't have to know the story to play this game.

Disappointed in the demo because it wasn't focused on Kazuma

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johnld
Monday, February 28, 2011 @ 10:37:52 PM

if you want yakuza 3 too, kmart has an offer. buy yakuza 4 get $10 in reward points plus yakuza 3.

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cLoudou
Monday, February 28, 2011 @ 11:30:15 PM

I always wanted to know that too. I was afraid to get Yakuza 3 because I had no prior knowledge of the series.

@johnld
That's a good deal. Wasn't planning on getting any games this month, but that deal is just too good to pass up. Likely will buy it there unless amazon can match that offer.

Last edited by cLoudou on 2/28/2011 11:30:37 PM

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Oxvial
Monday, February 28, 2011 @ 11:41:37 PM

Yakuza games always have optional movies relating what happened in the past games.

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Kiryu
Tuesday, March 01, 2011 @ 12:20:10 AM

AS a true fan whose played all the games from 2005!
Those 20 min preview videos in yakuza 3 for yakuza 1 and yakuza 2.Don't do the first 2 games justice!
Go grab a ps2 and play yakuza 2 and Yakuza 1(in Japanese)there are so many things in yakuza 1 and 2 that weren't even in the japanese version of yakuza 3.
Stories of yakuza 1 and 2 are the best stories i'm going to say even better than uncharted 1 and 2 and god of war or another.
Kiryu Kazuma is such a badass.Too bad they changed his face in Yakuza 3 but he's still awesome.
Yakuza 3 is just in my opinion yakuza 2's combat with little tweaks.I like the special moves in Yakuza 2 better.They used some of the finishing moves for kiryu in yakuza 2 for other characters in yakuza 4.
did u know u could keep a weapon in the random fights which take place in the streets in yakuza 2.Yakuza 3 and yakuza 4 u cannot.

Yakuza ps2 HD Collection is what i'm waiting for.with yakuza 1 having an option to switch to japanese voices.

Yakuza 4 story is as good as the first 2 not like 3 at all.
I do hope they release the Spin off's from next year.

Yakuza 2 has everything and more,did u know u urself could be a host,there's a new city,osaka to explore.
Please Sega to the HD collection.These games has to sell well all around the world.

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PharaohJR
Tuesday, March 01, 2011 @ 5:16:16 AM

do you need to play previous to know story?..... naw u dont at all like folk above said they might have a option in video section that recaps the previous entries.

personally if u have a 1st generation ps3(bckwrd compatibility) & money isnt a problem to ya i advise u buy all yakuzas. i dont have all of them myself but my friend who put me on this series when 3 released he let me borrow 1 & 2 although they were on the ps2 they were RAW. the only difference with 3 from 1 & 2 the 1st story was the best when you see what all takes place & graphics are no where as good as yakuza 3 but the gameplay story & environment u wont even worry bout wanting present graphics.......

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Oxvial
Monday, February 28, 2011 @ 10:37:06 PM
Reply

For me Taiga was the most powerful, he can lift those Sumo characters!...but hes also the slowest.

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Kiryu
Tuesday, March 01, 2011 @ 12:29:01 AM

That's y i like Kiryu,he's the fastest and also strong.

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SayWord
Monday, February 28, 2011 @ 11:17:01 PM
Reply

I cannot wait. I put 100 hours to platinum yakuza 3 and I will do the same for this game!

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JSwayze
Tuesday, March 01, 2011 @ 3:40:29 AM

I would have probably platinum too, if it wasn't for those damn mini games....I'm looking at you darts :meanface:

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Qubex
Tuesday, March 01, 2011 @ 1:53:06 AM
Reply

Hmm, Ben, I have tried the demo's a fair few times. Like with Oblivion, I too can't seem to get into this game. Really, not my cup of tea. I don't think I could ever really appreciate it... I guess you need to appreciate beat-em-ups first before trying to like this.

I will stick to my FPS's...

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

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Lotusflow3r
Tuesday, March 01, 2011 @ 5:55:22 AM

I don't like beat em ups. I adore Yakuza.

It isn't entirely focused on that. It's only a battle system. Imagine a full scale rpg with towns etc, etc...and then imagine it's demo only showing it's battle system, that's the equivalent of this Yakuza demo.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, March 01, 2011 @ 9:28:52 AM

Try the Yakuza 3 demo to get a better flavor

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___________
Tuesday, March 01, 2011 @ 3:06:26 AM
Reply

i was really looking forward to this, but crysis 2 and dragon age origins will have me occupied for more then a month so maybe in the drought months.
i just hope sega dont start bitching again and say were not releasing anymore yakuza games state side because 4 did not sell well.
yea........... I WONDER WHY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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PharaohJR
Tuesday, March 01, 2011 @ 5:32:07 AM
Reply

if you like or love brawlers i recommend this to anybody & the previous entries. i played 1 & 2 before 3 jus to get lost in this series & its TRILL. as much fighting there is in this series the story is also grade A if your looking into more than busting heads to the white meat.

i cant keep up with the games ps3 dropping. smh lbp2 kz3 soccom getting ready now yakuza..... man 2011 gotta be the takeover.

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Superman915
Tuesday, March 01, 2011 @ 7:23:57 AM
Reply

i wish the demo would have been more open world like Yakuza 3 was. But it was still pretty fun. I love brawlers like this.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, March 01, 2011 @ 9:29:08 AM
Reply

Hostesses here I come.

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Drake_RB3
Tuesday, March 01, 2011 @ 11:32:57 AM
Reply

I loved learning my favorite move in Yakuza 3 by watching an old lady that provides people with tissues.

Take down 4 guys consecutively with quick precision!

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Oxvial
Tuesday, March 01, 2011 @ 12:23:34 PM

Yes the persons that teach you those moves are very hilarious, and it looks like Y4 are moar funny.

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Oxvial
Tuesday, March 01, 2011 @ 1:56:48 PM
Reply

After playing the demo and watching some videos this is my personal top of the 4 badasses.

1 - Akiyama Shun - Pretty fast love his kick combos not the most powerful but strong enough I love his heat moves, he kinda remind me Guy of Final Fight when I use him.

2 - Kazuma Kiryuu - Typical balanced character in all areas minus strength...hes frigging strong! only Saejima beat him in that area but Kyryuu is also very fast and the grappling combos are da s***.

3 - Taiga Saejima - POWERHOUSE! yes you know it normal attacks that do lot of damage and frigging heats are like fatality's! sure this guy spend his time in jail lifting weighs, he can wrestle the fat characters with such ease...unfortunately hes the slowest.

3 - Masayoshi Tanimura : Dunno he seems to me like some kind of comic character...hes the weakest at doing dmg , hes fast but not the fastest.

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Vivi_Gamer
Tuesday, March 01, 2011 @ 5:48:17 PM
Reply

I tried Yakuza 4, I want to like this game, but I can't, The only thing i can think of is the combat is a bit slugglish, but its not that bad, i don't know why i can't enjoy this game, theres just always something missing, maybe just because it's not Shenmue and it never will be...

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hadouken
Wednesday, March 02, 2011 @ 10:06:39 PM
Reply

Day 1 purchase. Nuff said

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