Thursday, March 17, 2011

Yakuza 4 Review

For the last half-decade, Sega's Yakuza series has defied the odds. It's a critically-acclaimed franchise amongst the publisher's half-dead and completely-flogged properties. It's one of the few open-world sandbox action games to carve out a section of the marketplace without being an outright Grand Theft Auto clone. Most notably, in an industry that doesn't take risks, Sega has consistently published a franchise steeped in Japanese tradition for a U.S. marketplace inundated with samey shooters week after week. Sure, there have been missteps, like the English dub of the original game and the removal of key minigames in Yakuza 3, but the fact that Yakuza 4 can (and should) be purchased at your local video game store is a marvelous feat.

One sign that Sega is not Rockstar Games -- Yakuza 4's bustling metropolis filled with crime, punishment, and parlor games is largely the same tract of land that housed most of Yakuza 3. To the franchise's benefit, Sega has spruced up the land by adding new stores, minigames, as well as sections of the city's rooftops and underground areas to visit for the first time. The most drastic new addition, though, are three new playable characters who consume the first three quarters of the game.

Mariah OBrien Uma Thurman Alice Dodd Kate Walsh Autumn Reeser

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