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Be a Japanese mobster

Explore the crime world and play as the mafia in this action role-playing game set in Kamurocho, Japan.

india Updated: Apr 26, 2011 15:03 IST
Murali Venukumar

For those starting off on the series, rest assured that there has never been a better time to do so. Just about everything has been improved upon in this fourth Yakuza iteration. Expect a deep, quasi-RPG that trades high fantasy for a baseball bat and an old-fashioned beat down on the streets of Kamurocho, Japan.

Yakuza 4 seems to have finally taken on and conquered the little niggles that kept the previous games from reaching their true potential. You’ll spend a lot of your time watching several beautifully directed and scored cut-scenes, and reading reams of conversational text boxes. The voice acting is still best of class, with every character done justice to. Don’t be surprised if you go more than an hour without actually throwing a punch. This is a game that demands patience and rewards you for it.

In Grand Theft Auto fashion, you have a mini-map at your disposable as well as a cellphone, with missions spread out across the district. You’ll do your fair share of running, while stopping to fight the random yakuza that stop you for often hilarious reasons. Unlike other RPGs, you’ll love these random events because the combat and combo system is rock solid, and because these fights always provide experience.

Realistic gaming
Yakuza 4 is as close to a slice-of-life experience as gaming can get. While the graphics may not hit the highs of Crysis, visuals look perfectly fine for what they try to do. There are improvements, as well, with better textures and load times than in the last game. The streets, rooftops and alleyways of Kamurocho are dense and detailed, with licensed stores selling licensed merchandise, arcades with working cabinets, pachinko parlours, hostess bars, pawn shops, restaurants, and lots more. The streets teem with crowds going about their lives and with enough sub-missions to make other games blush. There are also activities to partake in, such as bowling, golf, baseball, hostess management, dojo management, karaoke, and so much more.

What we like
Assortment of characters
Rock solid combo system
Engaging combat

What we don’t
Don’t expect all-out action as soon as the game starts
Graphics aren’t that great

With just the story alone clocking in at 30 hours (discounting side-quests and other sundry pastimes), this is a game that you don’t just play, but lose yourself in. With high profile titles such as Bulletstorm and Homefront striking out, there’s more than enough reason for everyone to sample this oft-forgotten jewel in Sega’s knuckle-duster.

Rating: ****