Excerpt: Yakuza 4 aims for realism almost the whole way through, which often makes it come across as a sterile experience. It fails to impress visually, but given the gameplay experience, I'm not sure the developers were really trying for that. This game didn't exactly fall out of the ugly tree or anything; it just doesn't sport a creative look.
Excerpt: SEGA’s Yakuza series is one that has changed very little since the release of the first game back in 2005. Even the stories of the previous two games shared similarities with the original: big hearted ex-Yakuza Kazuma Kiryu is constantly being dragged back into the criminal underworld that he thought he had left behind. Yakuza 4 remains very much a part of the series, although there are some significant changes, making this the freshest game in the series yet.
Excerpt: Yakuza 4 is a PlayStation 3 exclusive that continues the story established by the first three Yakuza titles. Unique and massive, it’s a game that draws you in with its compelling depiction of a sprawling pleasure district in Toyko, Japan. The story is full of pathos and melodrama like its predecessors, but this time round it’s told in a much more clever and interesting way thanks to the intertwining narratives of the game’s four playable protagonists.
Excerpt: What do a loan shark, death row inmate, corrupt cop, and former gangster have in common? Not much, except a common destiny. Yakuza 4 tells the story of four different characters, weaving the narrative through the eyes of each as you battle your way towards the truth. Coming from the same company that brought us Shenmue, Yakuza 4 delivers an epic storyline with oddly addictive gameplay to make one of their better releases in recent memory.
Summary: Yakuza 4 is the thinking man's brawler. Grab a drink, preferably in a very large glass, settle down and immerse yourself in the violent neon-lit streets of Kamurocho. Give it a chance and you'll find it hard to put down.
Pros: The engrossing storyline and brilliant character building, The chance to play as four different characters, which adds combat variety and replay value, The immersive game world that charms with its odd side-quests, mini-games and brutal combat.
Cons: The familiar backdrop of Kamurocho is starting to look a little stale, Lots of combat animations taken straight from Yakuza 3