Out on the street, running through Kamurocho. Not quite sure what I’ll do today. The sun is sparkling, no street punks in sight. The world is yours. Go for shopping at the nearby コンビニ or just head over to your Hostess Club to have a look what your girls are up to. Yakuza is an open world game and a great one to say the least.
Where is another portable Yakuza entry?
Home consoles are not selling well in Japan anymore. After the Ps2 era and the Wii it went downhill. A steady decline in sales and earthquake like decline for the current gen consoles. Which still brings up the question why there hasn’t been a new portable entry in the Yakuza series. I played the first one, クロヒョウ 龍が如く新章 (Yakuza Black Panther in the West) and loved it. Instead of a real tough criminal you’re playing a young delinquent. Very much in the tradition of Kenka Bancho and the whole bunch of school/fighting manga out there like Crows and Worst. The gameplay remains the same and is equally fun on a portable system. Considering the state of consoles in Japan today it really would make sense to bring the series to a portable platform again. Just imagine it on the Vita. Would look stunning, play great but probably not sell so well because of the abysmal install base of the Vita.
Next gen Yakuza and the upcoming Yakuza Zero 竜が如くZero.
Are there any great current gen games worth importing? The only titles that come to mind on the PS4 are Yakuza Ishin and the upcoming Yakuza Zero竜が如くZero. I played a little bit of Kenzan a couple of years back which marked the first Samurai spin-off in the Yakuza series. But the setting just didn’t do anything for me. Really prefer the raw streets of Tokyo and Neon lights instead of swords and feudal intrigues. Maybe because it reminds me so much of Tokyo Drifter. The classic film by Japanese director Seijun Suzuki pretty much captures the whole essence of the Yakuza series in it’s heiday for me. Set in the 80’s, a hard boiled movie with outlaws out for trouble. A film between gritty gangster movie and concrete and poetic fever driven visuals.
Set before the first entry of the series which once released for the PS2, Yakuza Zero will take us back to Kamurocho when all the characters were still young and full of energy. I think it’s a pretty smart choice to locate the new entry of the series before the whole Yakuza saga. You can start out fresh. There are no boundaries story wise. Sure you have to include the main characters but otherwise you can pretty much do whatever you want. After all the story doesn’t have to connect end to end with Yakuza 1.
Every girls dream, become a hostess in a Yakuza game.
Let’s call it a yearly tradition. The casting for the girls who’ll later be “scanned” and then become a part of the game inside the hostess clubs is a big event. Or at least I think it’s a big event. Or better the Sega marketing team makes us believe that it’s a big event. Girls from all over the country gather for an interview to become par of the game. And it’s understandable. Just think how awesome it might be if you become a part of an video game. A character the players can interact with.
If I were a Japanese girl (and a good dancer which was one of the necessary features) I’d instantly hop on the hype train and take part in that casting. If you guys have seen the creator of the Yakuza series you might wonder how easily the casting votes may be pushed to a specific choice. He definitely looks a bit “mysterious” to say the last. There are probably several ways for a participating girl to stand out. Just think about it which video game is hosting a casting event. A big public one solely to choose the girls who will later be part of the game. It’s a little sketchy on one hand on the other it’s pretty cool and on a totally different hand it’s very Yakuza.
That just reminds me how English speaking players were complaining when they took out the Hostess Clubs in Yakuza 3. Some people were furious. It’s always been a gamble if Yakuza games were localized in the Ps3 era (and the struggle continues). But even if we finally got a translation there were still enough complainers around. Seriously, the voiced minority of the gaming community can be a pain in the ass.
Play Yakuza Zero even if you don’t know Japanese.
The game isn’t even released yet but as soon as it does I will gather all the available guides no matter if English or Japanese and include them here. Everything that helps people who don’t speak Japanese to play Yakuza Zero will be included in this place. After all the game is very story heavy and only the cutscenes are voiced (which is really annoying). Just remember that “brrrr”, “brrrr” whenever you hit the ok button in a dialogue. Horrible. Or charming, your choice. There is always the possibility to sweet talk a games flaws. Because of all the Yakuza slang and just the sheer amount of dialogue Yakuza Zero will be a tough one for us Japanese leaners. Again, the guides will come in very handy for us as well.
No English released date for Yakuza Zero in sight.
We did wait years for Yakuza 5 to finally be announced for the West. 2.5 whole years did it take for the title to be translated and distributed for English speakers. Digital only, coming this summer. The chances are pretty slim for Yakuza Zero to make it down to Western communities within the foreseeable future. Sega is pretty much bankrupt and the whole series was never a good seller over here. They probably won’t bother. If you want to pay the game your best chance is to import.
Buy Yakuza Zero at cdjapan PS4 / PS3 (pre-order bonus included)
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What are your thoughts on the Yakuza series in general. More fans around here? And are you having plans to pick up Yakuza Zero as well?