The Yakuza games were once called the Japanese answer to GTA”. Although it is impossible to describe them unequivocally, touching, funny and epic stories from the life of Japanese Mafiosi have won the hearts of not only Japanese but also Western gamers over time. The seventh part of the Yakuza Like a Dragon, series is an attempt to reboot the series. About how she succeeded, says.
Pervak got out of prison, knowing that the godfather would meet him with open arms at the gate. At his request, Pervak confessed to the murder, which he did not commit, for which he served 18 years. The godfather even once wrote him a letter, they say, so and so, I consider you almost a son and I can’t wait. In the meantime – an hour in joy, chair in sweetness.
Pervak stepped free into the rays of the dazzling sun to find that no one was meeting him, except for the battered cop, who, judging by his age, is about to retire. And the cop said to him You shouldn’t, Pervak, count on something. Your father figure has long gone over to your competitors, and, you know, he doesn’t care about you from the high bell tower.
In fact, of course, Pervak is not Pervak at all, but Ichiban, but for the Japanese ear this name sounds as stupid as Pervak for the Russian one because Ichiban simply means first. This is the basis of many jokes in the seventh part of the game about the Japanese mafia – the yakuza, whose name was translated for stupid foreigners as Yakuza Like a Dragon, although in Japanese the series is called Like a dragon Ryu gotoku” and the seventh game Where there are darkness and light Hikari to Yami no yukue.
One way or another, but the time of the protagonist of the first six games Kazuma Kiryu is over, and now this is no longer his story. Unlike him, Ichiban Kasuga, who also goes to prison at a fairly young age, is a completely different character. If Kiryu is a silent lump, whose emotions are limited to a slightly raised eyebrow and a few words, then Kasuga is like a big child who never ceases to be amazed at everything that happens around him and enthusiastically takes on any business.
The fates of the two heroes are different. By the end of the first game of the series, Kiryu already becomes the head of the Tokyo yakuza clan Tojo, and Kasuga is released from prison by almost no one. Even in the matter of taking money from the population, he did not succeed (as can be seen from the prologue), always preferring to let the debtors go and pay their debts himself.
And he became a mafioso by pure chance. Once he, a young thief, an orphan, who was raised in a Tokyo brothel of a prostitute, was rescued from the hands of other Mafiosi by the head of the Arakawa family, Masumi Arakawa, to whom Ichiban has been dog loyal ever since.
However, in Tokyo this time the player will have to stay for a short time. It won’t be long before Ichiban will find out that while he was in prison, Arakawa switched from the Tojo clan to the Omi alliance and, it turns out, betrayed all his ideals. After all, if in Tojo they honor the old code of honor of the yakuza, then in Omi they believe that it is possible to achieve success by the most villainous methods. Of course, the protagonist does not want to believe this and starts looking for a meeting with Arakawa. Ichiban gets his way and, having met with Arakawa, receives a bullet from him – almost in the heart.
Thus, the main character finds himself in another city – Yokohama, and a landfill and with terrible pain in his chest. And in the dump, of course, some homeless people came out of it. This is how a big story begins, during which Kasuga will have to make many epic achievements, but first, learn how to collect cans, beg and look for coins under vending machines with drinks. And then, you see, and there will be work.
Mom, I’m In An RPG
The seventh part of Yakuza in its gameplay is really very different from its predecessors, in which everything was built around a dynamic fighting game with colorful special moves. Now it is almost a classic JRPG with turn-based battles, a party consisting of four characters, and an often exhausting grind, without which you simply cannot go further through the story. If the boss is level 50 and the party is level 35, you can’t go anywhere. The difficulty cannot be reduced, dexterity will not help either, because the battles are turn-based. Sway for an hour or two, sir.
On the other hand, due to the new approach, the game has become even more insane (although much further). What are some cut-scenes of calling the soldiers for help? How do you, for example, the war lobster Nancy-chan, which Ichiban takes during one of the quests from a bum who is going to eat her? Or the head of a mafia family who prefers to wear diapers, whose main attack is wild crying?
Whereas in the past games in the series the gripping plot still had some signs of serious storytelling, now it’s complete kitsch. And, oddly enough, it benefits the game. The characters themselves comment on the change of tone and mechanics along the way. So, for example, Kasuga, a fan of the JRPG-series Dragon Quest, at some point begins to see, instead of the aggressive townspeople who attack him from time to time on the streets of Yokohama, outlandish monsters.
The team that will help him overcome all the difficulties encountered on the way includes completely different comrades with their own motivation, background, and bright personality. There will be a homeless person, a retired police officer already mentioned above, and a brothel mistress. Moreover, each of them will be able to get a certain job in an employment center, which is nothing more than a class that can be switched at any time (but only in an employment center). Even though they are called differently, they are all the same clerics, mages, fighters, and others like them.
So, in general, a player familiar with the classic parts of Final Fantasy or other similar JRPGs will not encounter surprises. There will be a bustle of shops to hand over the trash and buy new equipment for it, and a long pumping to the required level, and a fairly simple craft in the workshop, which is run by a pretty girl who does not disdain to tinker with the welding machine. Violent activityEverything else is painfully familiar. It will be possible to explore Yokohama almost indefinitely, passing through a huge number of side stories that, in a comical form, introduce the player to certain unexpected sides of Japanese life.
There are also a bunch of mini-games, each of which brings certain bonuses. So, for example, to earn a really large amount of money (which is needed not only to buy equipment but also will be required at a certain point in the plot), Kasuga and his friends do not have to knock them out a penny from passers-by. At some point, the protagonist will become the president of the company and will manage the business, from which he will be able to receive dividends – of course, if he is successful in managing it.
This, however, is one of the most serious ways of spending time in the seventh Yakuza. Here you can sing in karaoke, and collect garbage on a bicycle with a trailer, simultaneously competing for it with local garbage dumpsters, and even try not to fall asleep on a boring classic movie in an old cinema. Yakuza Like a Dragon, of course, is far from perfect, and not everyone can fall in love with it half a kick although fans of the series will undoubtedly visit it right away. However, with the epic scale of the plot, it is still not easy to enter it, and this time, perhaps, even more, difficult than in the same Yakuza 0 or 6.
The fact is that there are not enough dynamic cut-scenes in the game once or twice, and there are significantly fewer of them compared to their predecessors. Most of the plot is endlessly long conversations between the characters (and this is still good if they are voiced), in which they stand in a pillar and only open their mouths. Still, in the courtyard of 2020, the series has recently received massive recognition in the West – it’s time to spend some money on directing and voice acting.
It is also discouraging that the game is still running in HD resolution on the same PlayStation Pro, although there is definitely nothing resource-intensive in it. And the engine, which seems to have been recently updated, now looks terribly outdated. In the meantime, Yakuza remains what it was: an oriental curiosity to dive into. Only then will it give the player an incomparable feeling, transferring it to the streets of Japanese cities, where pugnacious punks stagger and fantastic, funny, and sometimes very touching events take place.
In the seventh part, you can see that the developers perfectly understand who plays Yakuza, and therefore the game has a lot of frank, overt fan service – which was not so noticeable in the previous parts. However, all this looks quite organic and only adds to the general atmosphere of the crazy Japanese holiday, in which the stupid gaijin tries to participate on an equal footing. He, of course, will not succeed, but it is worth trying.