Summer Time: Yakuza 3

Hi hi, I’m back for another game review. Anime reviews gonna take a break for now.

If you guys didn’t know, Sega announced that Yakuza 3, 4 and 5, the 3 Yakuza games that were on the PS3, are now remastered to the PS4. They are selling all 3 games under one package, 3 and 4 is currently available at the point of this writing. 5 will come in February 2020. For now only digital is available, but if you want to get the physical set, you have to wait till Feb 2020 after Yakuza 5’s release. But the physical set does give a lot of little freebies that piques my interest.

Actually the games have been remastered for awhile, but they were only available in Asia with no English localization. But I’m glad Sega finally did this. Never too late for more Yakuza. Oh yeah, if you have any prior Yakuza or Judgment games history in your PSN account, you will get a couple of in-game bonuses. Nothing really flashy, but its still a nice touch to reward old customers.

Let’s get this game review on the road.

Story

The game story is considered to be pretty chill compared to the prior games. It’s a nice change of pace. Most of the time now is spent in Okinawa, an orphanage by the beach. This game is going to be so easy… but nope.

The developments were pretty slow, until halfway into the game, that’s when the game suddenly changes its tone. The buildup is a form of slow acceleration. Climax impact felt pretty nice, but rather short. I wish the climax was a little more, with the antagonist behind another antagonist, until we got to the mastermind, like the old games.

But overall, still a great game inside out, maybe it lacks the modern elements compared to 0 and Kiwami, but the game holds up on its own despite the ageing story telling.

Graphics

This game is from the PS3, with an upscale to 1080p and 60FPS, so don’t expect anything as mindblowing as the new games running the Dragon Engine.

This is probably Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio’s first PS3 game so they couldn’t use the PS3’s full potential, as games were extremely difficult to develop for the PS3 back then.

The game has the geometry and polygon that the latest games offer, but the textures were extremely bad, due to PS3’s VRAM being extremely little. I think the textures is going to look pretty bad for these 3 games. This game also have that awkward depth of field that is mainly used in the PS3/X360 era, that I really hate. This game also lacks interaction with water puddle effects and also lacks reflection quality. Shadow maps look like they are using a generic CGI dummy render, but they are sharp and crisp.

This game also have a lot of FMV cutscenes as opposed to real-time rendered cutscenes of the modern era. This makes the game take less space, but the cutscenes were render at 720p30 so they looked extremely bad. The pop in is pretty drastic and the random NPC spawns feels like a zombie apocalypse.

But despite the flaws, the game actually holds up. It aged pretty well, especially since this game is their first game on the PS3. Like the motion capture is pretty nicely done, the lipsync is also pretty on-point to the Japanese speech, but only during cut scenes, gameplay pretty much dulls it out. This game also feature a lot of blood during combat and this is why I love playing games from the old ages as they are not bound to our current generation of “rules” in censorship. It may be a little excessive, but I really like the touch of violence.

I played this game on the PS4 Pro and this remaster didn’t offer any 4K modes, so whichever console you play, it’s going to be 1080p60. Because of the rather last-gen visuals don’t need to worry for any bad performance. During extreme combat moves, my PS4 Pro hold up pretty nicely, but I don’t know about the OG ones.

Gameplay and Mechanics

This game is oddly frustrating to play even in Easy. The bosses are OP with their chain combos with near-zero way to break the chain, and your moves are constantly blocked without a possibility to break that block.

The sidequests does help in gaining EXP and then unlock skills, but basic attacks damage are pretty much still pretty weak against the bosses. I find myself retrying like crazy or stockpiling myself with health potions just to clear a boss. Heat Actions are also very hard to trigger, they need to pinpoint down to a certain angle and the angle window is very small.

The attack moves were very basic too, pretty repetitive and it pretty much became a button smashing game, instead of tactically pressing the buttons to pull off moves that can break blocks and inflict damage like the newer games. I guess this is the first time they created the combat mechanic on the PS3, and it does evolve in future games.

The character movement is the traditional 8-axis-type unlike the smooth ones in later games. This game has pretty glaring flaws, so get ready to have a sweaty round with your Dualshock 4s. One thing I really like Yakuza games before the Dragon Engine comes in, is the near-zero loading times. Expect little to no loading times here too.

Audio

This game’s audio is a little on the fuzzy side on the voice acting, but the music is as clear as day.

I still love the OST even till this day and it never gets old. The voice cast is also pretty epic. Actually it has such a long list that I am lazy to write it out. But everyone did their jobs nicely.

Score: 8/10

I really recommend this game if you guys played most of the Yakuza games so far, I think I don’t really need to say this as fans of the series will just play it.

If you are new to the Yakuza universe, best for you to start from 0.

That’s all for me for now. Yakuza 4’s review will come next week! I will see you guys then!

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