The Yakuza Kiwami 2 went on sale last week. What's more, SEGA is going to completely port the Yakuza series to PC, which is good news. It is popularly called the Japanese GTA, but this comparison is far from the truth. Today we'll explain why.
Believe it or not, such things as advanced facial animation, non-linear plot, correct change of day and night are far from the merit of modern games, but quite worthy features of the game released in 1999 on the Dreamcast and its name is Shenmue. She at one time won the undying love of the public. It was a wonderful genre hybrid that combined an open world, RPG elements and interactive cinema. A phenomenal 70 million was spent on development. Alas, for SEGA, both parts of the game turned out to be a financial failure, and the third game was never released, postponing the idea until better times. Therefore, if you think that joking for 12 years about the third Half Life is a long time, for Shenmue fans such a joke stretched out for a good 20 years.
In 2005, game designer Toshihiro Nagoshi [who was involved in the development of Ryo Huzaki's story] decided to create a spiritual successor to Shenmue, who promised to revolutionize and take Japanese gaming far beyond the borders of the country. This Che Guevara from the world of games was supposed to be a project called Yakuza. Studio Toshihiro Ryu ga Gotoku Studio went from one major publisher to another for a very long time, but only SEGA decided to repeat its previous similar experiment, and allocated 21 million for development.
The first part of the future franchise sold well in Japan and soon acquired the status of a cult, but in the West, it did not find popularity. It was decided to release a sequel only in the Land of the Rising Sun. The problem was that the company invested too much in English localization [and according to the classics of Japanese game development, Yakuza had a lot of text], but almost no resources were poured into advertising for the West.
This continued until 2017, when the publisher decided to release in the west a prequel to the first part called Yakuza 0, but not only for adherents of the Orthodox console, but also to the delight of the PC boyars. Following her, the updated first part of Yakuza Kiwami was released on a completely new engine. After great sales, SEGA decided to re-release the entire series on PC. So, last week Yakuza Kiwami 2 was published. Therefore, now is the time to start your acquaintance with the series
Not Japanese GTA
Calling the game "GTA from Japan" is quite logical, but not entirely appropriate. For all their similarity, these are completely different games. Yes, they are both in the open world, both talk about crime, but if almost every part of GTA is a story of revenge, an action movie with shootings, cars, caricatured characters and a huge share of satire on American society, then Yakuza is a story about the fate of a member of the Japanese mafia, in which also contains elements of everyday life, a huge heap of local stories and a powder of grotesque.
According to the classics, each game is divided into two modes "adventure" and "battle". I would break it down by this ratio: 40% hand-to-hand combat, 40% talking and 20% side activities. In the game there is no transport as such [taxi, how fast travel is not counted], as well as a huge open world where we can create madness [give whores with a tank, as in principle, you cannot beat random passers-by]. Somewhere they talked with someone, somewhere they fought with someone, and these are the two main pillars on which the game rests. You may be intimidated by the percentage of conversation and gameplay itself, but everything just fits perfectly and does not leave you tired. Moreover, that fights, that dialogues are worked out to the smallest detail, and you are just interested in alternating one and the second.
In a way, Yakuza is more down-to-earth than GTA, but has an authentic Japanese anime flavor that contrasts with that down-to-earthness.
The main character of the entire series is Kazuma Kiryu. With him we will go the long way of a real yakuza, while adhering to certain moral principles of the hero. If you've ever looked at Goku, Naruto, Lufi or other famous shonen anime characters and thought, "Damn, I wish I had the same adventure," then this is your stop. Kiryu he is, you know, a real character of the shonen genre: he is strong, with a developed sense of justice, always ready to protect friends, help innocents and take grandmothers across the road [and a bit dull, just a little bit to add humor]. Although he is a criminal, Kiryu constantly contrasts with other Yakuz people who commit crimes for money, power, sex, greed and other vices that stimulate crime.
In the zero part, he is only 20. He is embroiled in the struggle for an "empty piece" of land in the Kamurote region. Also in the prequel we are given a second character, 24-year-old Majimo Goro, who was kicked out of the Yakuza. He also finds himself embroiled in a struggle for territory.
The plot of the game is very serious and dramatic, it wipes the nose of any GTA. It has everything: love, friendship, intrigue, violence, murder and unexpected turns that just make you open your mouth. You think that you are working for a serious organization, and in the future it turns out to be just a pawn in a huge multi-move of more powerful people. And so on from part to part.
With Kiryu we will experience a very long and exciting story in which they will constantly want to bring us to our knees, but we will get up from them every time, raising our fists to fight.
By its name, the latest numbered game best describes the plot of the Yakuza series: Song of Life.
Color from all cracks
What else the series can boast of is an accurate recreation of the central regions of Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuaoka, Okinawa and Ryukyu islands. Getting into them, you understand, yes, this is exactly the Japan that I saw on YouTube, on TV or in anime. And although often the map is not very large, games take just its elaboration.
Every district is full of life and there is always something to do. Side activities in Yakuza are a separate art form. Boring? Let's sing Japanese hits in karaoke! Hell, baseball, darts, pool, mahjong, casino, SEGA arcade club or disco bar! So that you understand, this is the only game in my memory where you can go to a video salon to watch light erotica, and your hero will do something indecent at this time. Breaking away from the beating of the next hooligans, you can arrange a gastro tour or a trip to bars, during which you will meet, for example, the chef, which will result in a quest. Speaking of them.
Each part of the series has a huge number of side quests scattered around the map. It is they who cause a sincere smile, and also plunge your face into a trough with a Japanese flavor, and you will not get out of it until you die of oversaturation. How do you like a quest where you need to teach a timid, shy girl who went to work in a sad-maza club to be a real mistress and humiliate her clients? Or help a schoolgirl who sells her underwear to perverts to get out of this business?
For all the Japanese trashness of some quests, others can be very touching. A guy who makes crosswords for work constantly asks his girlfriend to check them. But she refuses to test the last crossword puzzle, although the guy really insists. It so happens that we are helping this girl solve the crossword puzzle and it turns out that the young man encrypted a marriage proposal for his beloved in it. In fact, the whole quest is that we have to guess the crossword puzzle, but how beautiful it is presented!
And in such small local stories the whole Ykauza. The game really knows how to surprise and every time throws you something new in the most unusual way. Here I completed a quest, for example, where I helped a street boy band to become cool rockers [in fact, they are shy couch potatoes], and in the future you can send your memories of this story to the radio, where you can get a million yen prize for it.
All these side activities, business management [yes, there is also business management in the game], which at first glance overload the gameplay, on the contrary, immerse you in the atmosphere and relate to the hero, as they show him in different areas of life. The game is not overloaded - it is complex and there is always a possibility that this or that action in the past will somehow affect the future. It seems that the developers have created a game, and after that they sat down together and began to think of what else to add to them: "Oh, let the player go to the phone club and chat with unfamiliar girls?" or “Idea! Let the gamers be able to go and watch the female fights in the mud! ”,“ Let's add a stalker to the game? ” etc. And added, polished to a shine.
And now, finally, the second main thing is fights. They are just amazing in everything. From what is performed as in a classic Indian action movie, where you can take a motorcycle with one hand and beat opponents with it, ending with a huge number of techniques that are intuitive.
Kiryu [and other characters who may come under our control] have several fighting styles, each of which must be correctly applied to opponents. Someone can easily get nagged by swinging their legs and arms like a break dancer in a fast fighting style, and some fat mini boss needs to be "disassembled" with sweeping and slow blows.
Each style can be pumped with money. How to get them? Knock out bastards of course! The cooler and more effective you beat your opponent, the more Japanese yen will pour out of them. And some techniques can only be discovered by learning from special trainers.
At one point it may seem that you are just grind, but over time you get used to it and realize that the constant attacks on you by regular homeless people or hooligans is an opportunity to try new techniques or earn extra money to buy the most expensive sushi set in a nearby restaurant.
I want to go to Japan
You can only go through the plot, devote time to all side activities, memorize battles in the arena, enjoy oriental culture and dream of a quick trip to Japan - you can go to the Yakuza series of games and get everything you would like to see from high-quality action from third person in the Japanese setting. Everything in this game makes you fall in love. Characters, quests, situations and activities - all this gives, I'm not afraid of this expression, a real gaming orgasm. And it is because of him that you should already run and buy at least the zero part of the series. And don't be intimidated by the English localization.
The Topic of Article: Yakuza: The Episode That Falls in Love.