Yakuza 3 had some rough gameplay, clunky controls, and an upgrade system that did not feel rewarding, but it did provide a solid experience overall. Yakuza 4 improves on everything that the previous entry lacked, with some new features added in as well. This time you will be playing as four characters, each divided into their own segments in the story.
Pros and Cons
-A gripping story with many twists and turns
-An improved combat system with four characters to play as with their own unique fighting styles
-The upgrade system has also been improved with moves that I actually want to learn and utilize
-Chase battles are vastly improved and are fun to be in
-Improved graphics that look much nicer
-An awesome soundtrack, filled with catchy songs that fit the theme of the game
-Masayoshi Tanimura has a slow attack combo which may not be everyone's jam
-Gameplay is rather easy, never feeling like anything was challenging
-Inputs do not always register during quick-time events
The story for Yakuza 4 takes place in four main segments and a final act, with four of them having their own separate characters to play as. There is Shun Akiyama, a successful entrepreneur who runs Sky Finance and will lend money to anyone who needs it. Taiga Saejima, who is on death row for murdering 18 members of the Ueno Seiwa Clan. Masayoshi Tanimura, who is a corrupt cop who is trying to avenge the death of his father, and Kazuma Kiryu runs Sunshine orphanage and is trying to live in peace with the children he takes care of.
What do all four of these characters have in common you may ask? Well, I can’t exactly say much as they are in their own perspectives, so you will have to find out yourself while playing the game. It’s really good, just like any Yakuza game, the story is what will keep you invested and have you wanting more.
The gameplay is a huge improvement over the previous entry. When you get a certain amount of EXP, you will level up, increasing your health and heat to do more special moves. The new moves you can learn in the game are moves you want to use and they feel very satisfying to pull off, it’s a big improvement. There are objects for you to pick up and utilize that offer more variety in your attacks as well, pulling off a heat action with them sometimes. However, there are four characters for you to play as and they have their very own unique play styles.
Yakuza 4 has an easier difficulty overall. I rarely felt challenged throughout my playthrough, and the few times that I did feel challenged I could just sweep the fight on the next life that I got.
I did not experience any bugs outside of a few occurrences during the quick-time events where the game did not recognize my inputs causing me to fail the event. This didn't happen often, but it was very annoying when it did.
Shun Akiyama’s fighting style mainly consists of kicks, which reminds me of Sanji from One Piece as he only uses kicks to attack. Shun does use his fists when it comes to his grab attacks but they are weak to use. He is my favorite out of the four to play as his attacks just feel so fluid and fun to use.
Kazuma Kiryu does not have any of the super finishers in this title, but he still has his red heat gauge. When you start the game he will have most of his abilities from Yakuza 3 with the rest needing to be unlocked. He will also embellish some of the abilities learned from the other three characters as well. Kiryu is pretty much the same as ever, nothing’s really changed, despite losing some of his abilities like Hell’s Floor.
Masayoshi Tanimura's fighting style is based on Taiho-Jutsu and he relies mainly on parry’s and submissions. However, he is my least favorite to play as, simply because he is the slowest character with his attack combos, still feeling sluggish even after you getting the combo speed boost. He also has the lowest health out of everyone. It also does not help that most enemies will not really come up and pull off attacks making his parry move niche in usage. I like Tanimura's character, but his gameplay didn't suit my taste.
Taiga Saejima uses his brute force in combat and will not flinch when charging up his attacks. He is a beast and has the most health and defense out of all the characters. He is pretty slow when recovering from the ground and instead of sidestepping he will roll. Taiga is a little hard to get used to but I enjoyed playing as him, he does the most damage out of everyone and can get the job done rather fast.
From left to right (Shun Akiyama, Kazuma Kiryu, Masayoshi Tanimura, Taiga Saejima)
Chase Battles are much better than they were in the previous title as they feel smoother and you don’t have to deal with much this time around. Your objective is to chase someone and take out their health bar, if you do that you will successfully catch them. Sometimes you may have to run away from someone chasing you. However, you should be careful because if you go down you will have to redo the mission all over again.
Graphics and Performance
The graphics have also been improved and look much nicer. I liked the way Kamurocho looks and it feels more alive than ever. I tested the game on an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB, AMD Ryzen 5 1500X Quad-Core Processor 3.50, and 16 GB of RAM. The game runs at 60 FPS no problem and I did not experience any issues during my playthrough.
I love the soundtrack! There are so many songs worth mentioning that I could make a long list on them. Material Delights makes you feel like you are in a fight and also making sure you are ready to beat down some enemies. All My Pride is one of the best boss themes in the game as it really captures the feel for the boss and tells you who you are dealing with. However, my favorite would have to be Underground Dazzling Star Mashup, as it’s just so damn catchy and it feels as though I'm in a nightclub.
Yakuza 4 is a great entry in the series as it improves on everything that Yakuza 3 suffered from. If you are a fan of the Yakuza series then this is a must-play no doubt about it. There is so much I love about this game that I just want more of it. The improved gameplay and soundtrack really helped to bring me into the experience. It may be on the easier side, but being easy doesn't prevent this latest entry from being a blast.