Summary: Parents need to know that gangster life is gangster life, regardless of the setting. This game's depiction of the Tokyo criminal underworld is as violent, explicit, and morally rudderless as anything we've seen. The content is graphic and intense, showing brutality and blood, seedy sexuality, and unrestrained foul language, all with a child character looking on.
Excerpt: Yakuza may be set in the criminal underworld, and allows you to wander the streets involving yourself in many tasks besides the captivating main storyline, but where the GTA comparisons start is exactly where they end. It’s totally unfair for such a different game to be constantly mentioned in the same breath of Rockstar’s mega popular franchise. The living city is now part of our gaming landscape, be it Grand Theft Auto or not.
Excerpt: Poor old Kazuma Kiryu hasn’t had the best luck of late. Feared by his enemies, respected by his peers and poised to start up his own Yakuza family, he took the fall for his best friend’s murder of one of Japan’s top gang bosses and was sent down for ten long years. Now, finally released from incarceration, every big- and small-time crook and thug in the Far East wants him dead, and there’s almost nowhere safe to hide.
Excerpt: Yakuza comes to us from long time industry powerhouse SEGA, and veteran developer Amusement Vision, makers of Shining Tears for the PS2, but may be better remembered for their wacky Super Monkey Ball series on the Gamecube. Interestingly enough, they also made the Virtua Striker and Virtua NBA arcade games of mid to late 90's. Visually, this title is pretty sharp looking.
Summary: Yakuza is not a bad game at all, the trouble is it's stuck in the above-average region without being great, which is a shame as it has huge potential to be a great franchise. It's got a great storyline, good characters and the basis of a really enjoyable game, however, it's problem comes with the repetitive nature of the random fights and the repetitive missions that require you to pick something up from point A to take it to point B on the other side of the map which...
Conclusion: While the voice work is touch and go, there is a lot to like about the aesthetic of the game. The quality of the visuals is above average, with good detail, but it’s how the game’s developers made the game look like a living, breathing part of Tokyo that is quite amazing. The game takes place in Kamurocho ward, an imaginary district inspired by Shinjuku ward in Tokyo.