Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Sep 132021
 

In July, I wanted to play a game that would make me smile, so I turned once again to the Yakuza Remastered Collection and moved on to Yakuza 4.

While the past few games focused mostly on Kiryu, Yakuza 4 switches things up in a big way by having four playable characters.

Unlike Yakuza 0, which alternated between its two protagonists, Yakuza 4 has you play through each character’s story before it all comes together at the end.

This has the effect of feeling almost like four miniature Yakuza games, although each story follows the previous one instead of taking place at the same time like I originally thought they might.

Anyway, I liked all of the characters story-wise and enjoyed the change of pace.

(Gameplay-wise, each character has his own combat style, which means that as someone who prefers faster styles, Saejima’s combat was agony for me. But I still love him.)

I liked seeing how the different characters’ stories all came together, and there were definitely some exciting points in the plot as it unfolded. Unfortunately, there were also some goofy moments, and not necessarily in a comedic way. I can stretch my suspension of disbelief, but Yakuza 4 requires a bit more of that than any other entry in the series I’ve played so far.

Click for major Yakuza 4 spoilers
Rubber bullets. Everyone complains about the rubber bullets. And you know, I can accept this Layton-esque twist of all of Saejima’s bullets being secretly replaced with experimental rubber bullets that non-lethally knock everyone out so that the antagonist can regain consciousness and shoot everyone else to survive while placing the blame on Saejima, sure. It’s convoluted, but sure.

But how did Arai not notice that the man he shot in the head at point-blank range wasn’t actually SHOT?

Also, Akiyama keeps literally all of his money in a gigantic unlocked safe in his office. Unlocked. It’s protected by a button hidden behind a book. The bad guys find it by accident. Giant unlocked safe. Giant unlocked safe.

Still, the rest of the game is full of Yakuza goodness like entertaining substories and wacky Revelations to learn new moves. Several substories also follow up on substories from previous games, which I really liked. The Yakuza series might not exactly have an overarching story (although Yakuza 4 drew on knowledge of the previous games more than ever), but I love that side characters and even minor substory characters develop over time.

And why did the series ever drop Revelations? They’re great!

I probably spent less time on the mini-games than in the past, but that’s partly because none especially stood out to me and partly because Lost Judgment is practically knocking on the door.

Anyway, Yakuza 4 comes in at the lower end of my Yakuza rankings, but a weak Yakuza game is still a great game. I enjoyed my time with these four characters and their questionable plot, and I look forward to reaching the final part of the Yakuza Remastered Collection in the future!

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