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They keep making these game and oddly them keep being very good. Anyone else very interested.
Easy Allies Review
Whatever we may think about this moment, our practice is just to return to it. This moment is where all beings exist.
"You Have to Say Something" Dainin Katagiri p. 9
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Me too, I wanna play Judgement.
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There's an interesting story out that Lost Judgement may be the last in the Judgement series because SEGA wants to release the games on PC, while the talent agency representing Takuya Kimura does not. I'm not too familiar with how celebrity talent agencies work over there but it seems like an odd situation that I hope they're able to resolve.
The music industry is considered pretty "behind the times" compared to the Western way of doing things, so it's not a surprise that a company like Johnny's is so against having his likeness on PC or the Internet at all. There's a fine line between that person themselves being considered the company's "property", as they're definitely part of the brand. As a result, when you consider the photoshop heavy nature of the Internet, any meme or something would be "damaging to the brand". When you consider how much easier it is to rip assets – and therefore character models – from a PC game compared to consoles, there's probably fear of how that stuff could be used in, say, Gary's Mod.
It's kind of funny how moments like this go a long way of showing how, even when they're making out-of-touch decisions like Atlus or Nintendo, how much more progressive the Japanese games industry as a whole is compared to many other industries in that nation.
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So I ended up pre-ordering the super digital deluxe edition of the game so I could play early, but put only a "bit" of time into Lost Judgment. I completed the first two chapters and am honestly really digging it so far.
I don't know if the comparison works, but in terms of the early parts of the game it feels to Yakuza what Bully might have felt like to GTA. It makes me want a game like Bully where you play as a student, but in the Yakuza style. This has also reduced the amount of random brawls in the streets, which already seem to be a bit less frequent than prior entries in the series. At the very least, no constant gang on the hunt for Yagami what feels like every half hour.
Really, though, the shift to the school has allowed for a lot of classic Yakuza goofiness (like a rhythm game based around teaching a dance class choreography based on made up Kung Fu) without going the standard route of grown men in diapers and stuff. In other words, what made the first Judgment stand out was Yagami being a detective, not a criminal, and therefore his involvement with Kamurocho was different from Kazuma's. But, for the first two chapters of Lost Judgment, at least, the tone and characters manage to stand apart by having no real focus to the Yakuza at all, but instead by beginning with an examination of bullying, potential causes, what allows it to happen, and presenting a (fantastic, unrealistic) "solution". This likely will feed into whatever the greater themes are, but it's still refreshing to get a game like this.
Also: all Yakuza games now need a skateboard.
So I am digging it so far, but am also only just beginning. We'll see how things turn out.
One more post in a row and I get bingo?
Toshihiro Nagoshi and Daisuke Sato leave SEGA, Ryu Ga Gotoku Studios restructuring.
This does not really worry me, as you can tell with both Lost Judgment and Like a Dragon that the talents working on them have a good handle on what makes a Yakuza game what it is, while simultaneously trying new things. I look forward to seeing where the studio goes from here.
Toshihiro Nagoshi is Yakuza, so it'll be hard to see him elsewhere.
How did I live before digital distribution of old, cheap games?
You did live before digital distribution of old, cheap games. Now you just play games.
So I've plugged 45 hours into Lost Judgment at this point, and am pretty sure I'm nearly finished chapter 9 of 13. So even though it seems as if I'm the only one currently playing this (and surprised at that, too!), I figured I'd give some additional thoughts now that I'm further into the game.
Mechanically and quality-of-life speaking, I still feel that this is the best that the Yakuza series has had to offer. Exception made for Like a Dragon, since it did a genre change. However, as I said before, that skateboard allows you to not only make your way through the city of Ijincho swiftly, but to avoid combat with thugs altogether. Less so when you're in Kamurocho as half the city is either tight alleys or counts as sidewalk, but Kamurocho is also littered with back doors and alleyways to use as shortcuts or workarounds that Ijincho does not have.
Nonetheless, you can avoid the random combat pretty regularly and still not feel under-powered so long as you're doing side quests. They're pretty generous with money and SP, and with one exception, there's really nothing in the game that will drain your finances to the point of worry or concern. I've managed to max all health upgrades and just maxed out my strength, and still have plenty of game left, so there's plenty of SP to go around.
In regards to combat, I don't recall if this was true of the prior game or not, but I have found this one a lot more easier to work with once I began playing more defensively. I barely use blocks, admittedly, which is also likely why I end up using Crane and Tiger stances more. Quickstep dodge has most benefits with those, especially the former. Crane is still good for big sweeping kicks that strike several mooks at once, while Tiger is better for getting some quick hits or charged punches in to singular targets. Snake stance is new, and is more about parries, disarming, and intimidation. Depending on how well you perform, you can frighten mooks before dealing any damage and use an EX action to frighten them off or lead them to passing out in terror. While many of Yagami's more acrobatic moves are still in play (dash towards a wall to kick off it and strike someone, or leapfrog over them to provide an EX action opportunity), I feel like the evasive mode of combat is most rewarding. As a result, this is probably the Yakuza game I've felt the need to stock up on and use healing items for bosses least. This is also probably in part due to a counter to their super-charged heat moves, where doing a quick step before they strike opens an opportunity to counter and deal a heavy blow. Enemies aren't nearly so invincible to flinching, either. As a result, it's the first time I feel like I've had a solid handle on the combat and am actually doing pretty well, rather than just button mashing my way to victory.
Naturally I'm not finished with the story, but it's possible this is overall on the weaker end of the spectrum. Not that it's bad, I'm certainly enjoying it, and I still believe the switch to a school setting and the evolution of gang warfare in Kamurocho and Ijincho now that the two biggest Yakuza factions are disbanded is a fresh new step for things. At the same time, there's just something missing that I can't quite put my finger on. At the same time, it was the conclusion of Judgment that really had me singing that one's praises, so I'll wait until I can see more.
Now, as for the primary cause I'm at 45 hours rather than being done already: School Stories. I started to do exclusively School Stories content somewhere between the 30-33 hour mark, and over ten hours later I've completed all but two of the ones necessary to bring the overall arc to a close. The general idea is you're helping the school's Mystery Research Club investigate the involvement of a mysterious mastermind known as "The Professor" in instigating students to perform delinquent activities. Some of these are simple and short, such as the Photo Club or tracking a student that's been posing as a boy and using a fake ID to head to a secret casino. Others are far more involved, such as the Dance Club, Robotics Club, Biker Gang, and Boxing Gym.
What is most impressive is the sheer quantity of unique mini-games loaded into all of these side quests, and how enjoyable they are. Dance Club is the first you'll be a part of and puts the goofiness front-and-center, with Yagami doing these dance routines with a grin that feels uncharacteristic even for a civie such as himself. Nonetheless, this was also the only mini-game that had a difficulty setting. You could play on four different difficulties of your choosing, and so long as you succeeded, you were able to progress forward with the narrative.
Honestly? More of the different school stories could use this. Right now, the only two I have left are Robotics Club and the girl working at a Girl's Bar, which naturally requires a flirtation mini-game because of course it does. The Robotics Club has me the most frustrated, as I am at a point where I am pretty much stuck due to not having access to high enough quality resources with which to defeat my opponents with. I cannot upgrade my robots enough to properly combat the stronger, faster enemy. Even if I wanted to try changing up the armor and AI on my bots, they'd still all be behind. It's an in-game pay-to-win and it has led me to just push on with the story for now. It was one of the more enjoyable games, being a sort of territory-acquiring game where you Tetris'd pieces across the board with some Robot Wars going on, but once progress is blocked not by skill but a wall of "Buy materials (that aren't even available to buy or win in the fight) if you wish to continue", then I just ...don't care anymore.
The bike races are the closest to reaching that same degree of frustration. It is also the only side activity that seems to just devour your money so badly. Granted, I also paid for the super digital edition that will grant me all DLC and the Kaito expansion in 2022, so I got a special DLC bike that, once upgrade, beats everything else out. This... cost me nearly all of my 1.75 million yen I'd saved up. It was worth it to help me get through the races, but by the end I was struggling with the final race due to the sheer volume of enemies attacking, the power of the final racer, and the need to make zero mistakes while accounting for their own insane quantity of boosts. I wish I knew a game to compare with, but generally you have to knock down all the lead racer's mooks before you have a one-on-one against them. Once you've taken all the mooks out, the finish line is drawn where you are and you have one lap to surpass and beat them. You'll need to store boosts up through drifting around corners, block incoming attacks from fireworks, feedback shrieking speakers, or straight up kicks or tire irons to your bike. Boosts will need to be timed carefully to make sure you surpass your opponent.
As stated, you have to make no mistakes on the last guy, who is the only one that can crash his bike into you as you can into others. If you ram each other simultaneously, you'll take all the damage and he'll take none. So basically, you have to keep up with him the entire race. What happens if he gets ahead through his boosts? Well, that's a good question, because you'll definitely need those for the last stretch. You can catch up, but, again, make the slightest mistake and the race may as well be lost. Oh, did I mention you can't restart mid-race? You can only just wait until you've officially lost to restart, and you have to cycle back through all those mooks again? Even with losses, each race cost me between six-to-seven minutes, and while it was nice to win 10,000 yen as a consolation prize, it was nothing compared to the roughly 1.5 million those bike upgrades cost (and let's be honest, because I got the DLC, I effectively had a "pay-to-win" bike. I can't imagine if you don't even use the DLC bike, unless I was stupid and didn't realize the other bikes were ultimately better once you bought all their upgrades. Which is possible).
Thus far, my favorite school story (aside from Dance Club) was the Boxing one, but it's also in my element of learning an action combat system. Heck, I didn't even have to properly master it. I just learned to time my dodges and mash buttons with a logical fervor of "hit low, hit high, hook, hit low again, back up". Sometimes it resulted in nothing. Other times I got a ton of hits in. Learn to spot when an enemy is winding up a tough attack to counter your own so you can dodge or block in time. I was worried this one would become a real trial by the end, but I don't think I lost a single match. No doubt this is part of the reason it was a favorite activity for me, but honestly, from start to finish I had a blast. Looking forward to Kaito being added as a sparring partner.
E-Sports and Skateboarding were simple and easy themselves, with the former just being a few matches of Virtua Fighter 5 on Easier modes of difficulty. Burned through that easy. The skateboarding one was also pretty easy, but once more I had the hoverboard DLC that gave good speed and good maneuvering. So, pay to win again? I think this one wouldn't be too tough even with a basic board, though. It's a stripped-down Tony Hawk with some easy quick time button presses.
On the whole, I like most of the school stories, but I also decided to just burn through them and ignore the main story because... well, I was more than halfway through the main story and I have done roughly 12-15 hours of the side stories and am still not finished. If I had any complaint, it's that there's simply too many and, if you want to get through them, you have to break through your suspension of disbelief that these are supposed to be all on separate days. There's not much monetary gain from the school stories, either, which is why the bike gang series hurt the wallet so bad.
My advice to others would be, if you're aiming for full completion, save the bike gang for near the end. I'm assuming that a lot of the high quality parts necessary for the Robotics Club will also be more widely available as the story goes on. I'll also leave a note if the game allows you to keep playing post-credits for full completion, as I've barely touched the "girlfriends" (of which it looks like three are DLC?! Criminy).
Which, I suppose, brings me to the final point. I'm actually surprised at how much DLC I got that wasn't purely cosmetic, and it... honestly kind of stinks. I wouldn't begrudge folks waiting for sales on this just so they could get the content at a more reasonable price.
However, on its own, I'm still having a blast, and this could be my favorite of the more traditional Yakuza style games.
Started playing like a Dragon. After only a few minutes of English voice acting, I had to switch to Japanese and subtitles. I would not normally do this but I guess the 6 previous games have me conditioned.
A Rushed Waste of Time and Money
I like the English voices in the Yakuza games…I don’t get it. They put in more effort than translated movies on Netflix.
Playing Kiwami for the first time after finishing 0 and I've been trying to max out the Majima Everywhere rank. Only problem is it's starting to get tedious at Rank S. Is it worth it for the story bits or is the only reward just maxing out the Dragon style? I'm thinking of skipping it and powering through the rest of the main story since I'm at chapter 11.
"May those who accept their fate be granted happiness. May those who defy their fate be granted glory."Backloggery|MAL| Switch 7924-5010-1433
I unfortunately cannot answer that question, as I never got very far in the Majima Everywhere storyline.
I did stay up way too late beating Lost Judgment last night, however. I had heapings of praise last post, but hitting the 45 hour mark really drove me to just want to see the credits roll. I under-estimated how long the final chapter would be, seeing as the prior chapters weren't really all that long at all. So I will caution folks that you best have about three or so hours ready for the final chapter, if you're going to do it all in one go.
As usual, there are spots where you can save, create multiple saves, or stop and do side content before the final stretch, and they do warn you that it'll get intense and stuff, but I was not prepared for the long haul.
In the end, the game is still really good at delivering its narrative and moments with real impact, but I feel like the whole school setting got abandoned for nearly the whole latter half, and more than ever it felt like the two opposing sides were repeating themselves every time they came into contact with one another. So while the game starts out on a strong note for me, it sort of ended more weakly than your average Yakuza game, and especially compared to the first Judgment.
You do get the opportunity to do a "Premium Adventure", which is basically "roll your completed save file progress over and explore the city freely", which means "clean up all those school stories, side cases, and girlfriend routes if you desire". Now that I've rolled credits I may dabble in that when I have time. On the whole, though, seeing credits roll removed some pressure to keep playing so I could see the story's resolution.
Something I forgot: some of the fights have "quick-time events" that feel very different to how they're normally implemented in Yakuza games, and especially compared to how Quick Time Events are presented elsewhere in Lost Judgment itself. In the case of one fight, failing the Quick Time is an immediate death, and it's not even one of the final fights. So my advice is, if they ever cut to a mid-fight cut-scene, be ready, but don't panic. Study the prompts first and make sure you hit the right ones.
Similarly, I didn't really need Extracts much, but I did save one that was given early on that basically allows you to just mash B on a boss and deal tons of damage. I used it towards the end of second-to-last boss which then carried over into the final boss, and I gotta say, if you can, stock up on at least two or three of those. It's basically a cheat button. Just mash that B button (or Circle on PlayStation, I suppose) and watch the enemy health bar drop. Given how many health bars final bosses get in this series and how unflinching they are, I feel no guilt in resorting to such cheap tactics.
But yeah, I like the game, but while there's a lot of Quality of Life adjustments and changes that could make it the best Yakuza-style game, it kind of also just ...doesn't feel like that.
Still want a spin-off where you play as the high school Mystery Research Club, though.
I'm sad there probably won't be a PC version.
For some reason I can never hit the Y prompt at the right time. Any advice?
charming hassaku face!
steaming Onomichi ramen hat!
Cute fish pouch!
Cool boots, vital for any fisherman!
And his bold and trendy Ono shirt!
Ok. Many hours into Like a Dragon and I've only just discovered that you can tag other party members in and out of a fight.
I'm like 40 hours in and didn't know that.
Ok. Many hours into Like a Dragon and I've only just discovered that you can tag other party members in and out of a fight.
I'm like 40 hours in and didn't know that.
I'm like 40 hours in and didn't know that.
I only found out during an arena fight where it mentioned not swapping party members as an additional condition.
Like a dragon. If anyone is stuck searching for rare crafting materials. The main story eventually leads to an area where you can easily farm them.
FYI, Yakuza 0, Kiwami, and Kiwami 2 are all leaving Game Pass on/after the 31st of December.
The remaining games will still be on the service for the time being.
Oh, gee, my timing is great. Just downloaded Kiwami 2 on gamepass this morning since I want to play it soon and then saw later that it was leaving soon. I'm probably better off just picking it up during the steam winter sale since there's no way I'll beat it in time.
I’m like halfway through Kiwami 2 but took a break for other games. I guess I know what Im playing for the rest of the year.
”History is a long series of surprises that seem inevitable in retrospect.“
Finally wrapped up Yakuza 0 last night, though that ending starting from the "point of no return" ran about a half hour longer than I anticipated (and I already had my expectations padding it a bit after having played through Kiwami last year).
Really good stuff, I love the characters in these games as well as the city itself as its own character in a sense. Just a great sense of being in a real place.
The brawler gameplay of the combat is never going to really be my jam, but I've found a bit of a balance with it since you can somewhat just brute force through it with enough consumables. However, the over-the-top style (especially all the crazy heat actions) at least keeps it entertaining enough.
So that's 0 and 1 (Kiwami 1) down, and while I'm eager to continue Kiryu's saga, I'm also awfully tempted to switch tracks over to Like a Dragon since the siren song of turn-based combat is always calling to me. But no, I must not lose the path! I better start Kiwami 2 before my resolve crumbles.
I do find it interesting that in both of the games so far, my experience was similar enough to seem to form a pattern: The opening few chapters draw me in with the characters & story propelling me along, then the game opens up with all the sidegames and optional content and I wind up losing myself in some light OCD for far too long, then eventually I accomplish enough to feel like I've had my fill and start to dig into the main story again and then I get all caught up in the narrative.
Now, that middle section? That's my gameplay jam. But the problem is that I just get to feeling bogged down and losing momentum enough that both times I found myself setting Yakuza aside more often and spending time in other games. To clarify, rather than sitting down to the PC and impatiently firing up Yakuza because I can't wait to see what's next, I end up dabbling in a bunch of games including Yakuza but not feeling super compelled to mainline it since rather than it being a page-turning narrative in that middle section, it's just another solid gameplay option amongst other games I want to spend time with.
I haven't decided if that's a good or bad thing. I'm certainly the type to like to enjoy a variety rather than obsess long-term over one game at a time, but I end up being a little lost in the story in the back half since it's been so long since the story was the focus early on. And for that matter, I had to go read an in-depth retelling of Yakuza 1 after finishing 0 because it's been a whole dang year and I couldn't remember much, so I didn't want to jump into 2 without trying to prepare myself to catch all the connections.
I guess this was a pointless ramble, just wanted to bump the thread and share my joy in wrapping up Yakuza 0. I'll probably at least start 2 tonight.
Well, I started Kiwami 2 last night and it's pretty much all I can think about and all I want to play. Wow, it is a drastic upgrade over 0 and Kiwami 1 in so many ways, and in particular I love that so much of the "light" side content becomes pretty available so very early in the game too. Really digging the way that you earn XP from almost everything you do, it's a welcome change from 0's money-grinding to unlock ability nodes.
I didn't realize the opening would provide optional in-depth recaps, that is a huge bonus for me and helped me get mentally back into my headspace from the end of the first game. A little bummed that I didn't get to do any adopted dad stuff before getting pulled away from Haruka and right back into yakuza business, but otherwise the story got its hooks into me right off the bat.
Nice. Yeah, I believe Kiwami 2 uses the new engine from Yakuza 6. I haven't played Kiwami 2, but I really liked the new engine in 6 after having played 3-5.