Yakuza Games Catch All

The Yakuza series have been RPGs all along. This just confirms it.

Glad to see them trying something a bit different TBH. If they go turn based though, they better tone down the frequency of random street battles.

I'm all for this, I'm not the biggest fan of the combat in the Yakuza games, they're often easy enough to get through with a lot of button mashing until the last few bosses. Agree with ComfortZone too, the people chasing after you in the streets can be a bit frustrating, especially when you just want to get on with the story. They're not really hard, so they're just a distraction.

Also, any way this thread can be changed to a Yakuza Catch-All rather than just 0? Seems like the go to place for the series.

I asked farley to change the thread title and he was kind enough to do so.

I even found a nice banner image.

farley3k wrote:

I even found a nice banner image.

That's damn sexy.

merphle wrote:
farley3k wrote:

I even found a nice banner image.

That's damn sexy.

It would be even sexier if the image was from Kiryu's shower scene in Yakuza 0 though. *hint hint*

I guess this is the closest we're going to get to a thread for Judgement? I'm playing Judgement now. I like it. I have never played a Yakuza game, they didn't really appeal to me on paper, but this one did.

I don't really have a lot to say yet but this is interesting. I wish I knew what the Japanese translation was like during some of the weirder moments. I keep expecting to hear something that will make me cringe, but they're handling things like the panty-stealing pervert pretty acceptably in the (well-acted) English dub.

Judgment counts as a Yakuza game, I'd say.

The English localization goes for the same tone of accuracy, but tries to match the lip-sync as best as they can so there end up being minor differences. I think Judgment is just probably the most toned down in regards to that sort of content and therefore is less likely to offend someone. It still enters that sort of territory, but not as blatantly as the other Yakuza games.

So I've dipped back into Judgment now that I've finished Control, a little past halfway through. It still amazes me how unique many of these side missions are that I never get tired of them. I want to beat the game sooner rather than later, but at the same time I want to see all I can despite knowing I won't possibly be able to 100% it (you have to do Mahjong or Shogi quests as well and there's no way I'll be learning those games well enough to complete those missions).

However, there's one gripe I need to make, and I feel like it's even more strongly present in Judgment than it ever was in the prior Yakuza games. In Zero and Kiwami, you have thugs all over Kamurocho that want to fight as soon as they spot you. Okay, annoying, but you can just run away from 'em easy enough in Judgment and avoid battle. Zero also has the Huge Dudes that will take half of your cash should you get into a fight and lose. In Kiwami, there are occasional missions to take down Majima.

Both of these feel pretty optional. I was able to avoid the Huge Dudes fine enough in Zero and found them to be little more than a decent enough threat. Something to always be on the look-out for and remind me there's some serious muscle on the streets. Majima was also a rather optional sort of fellow, as I believe you had to actively seek out his fights most of the time (I've already forgotten some of the specifics. I know I didn't fight him nearly as often as expected).

But Judgment has the Kaihei Gang, and they go out on alert constantly. Basically, you get a text from a buddy saying the Gang is out on the lookout for you, their numbers increase, and the current leaders are all placed throughout the city. You can get pyroxene as a prize for defeating the leaders, which is good for some of the mixtures you can make, but otherwise it just feels like doing two or three tough fights in a row way too often. It halts your current progress, and should you choose to ignore it you get a text from your friend guilting you for doing nothing.

So the game basically says "We're going to throw this at you ever X minutes, and if you ignore it we're going to make you feel bad about it".

I believe it's tied to a quest, but I'd rather it just... well, be a quest rather than this constantly happening thing.

Regardless, still having a good time with the game. It's probably just the worst execution of this sort of optional content I've seen in the three different Yakuza style games I've played this year, in an otherwise generally improved title.

I finished Kiwami's story recently and only did the Majima Everywhere fights that were required, so three I believe. Yes, def optional.

I haven't picked up Judgement yet and likely won't for a long time, I'd rather get the re-releases so I can have everything on PS4. Your comments edge me towards "never", honestly.

Oof, that's a shame because it's otherwise a great game. I didn't do much of the RC car racing in Yakuza 0 or Kiwami, for example, but the drone racing in Judgment is a favorite little aside of mine when I can get to it. The combat system overall feels more forgiving than the Yakuza games had as well, though possibly because it also feels less complex. I prefer Crane style fighting for crowds since the strikes are wide and sweeping, but you don't really need to master techniques in Tiger style to survive the tougher one-on-one fights. Just time your dodges and be patient rather than trying to rush the enemy's health bar down.

I also feel like Yagami is a bit more ...I dunno. Like, Kazuma Kiryu is certainly a character, but his character also seems rooted simply in his masculinity in a way that Yagami is not. I thought Yagami's Ex-Yakuza pal Kaito was effectively going to be Kiryu 2.0, but he is far more expressive and light-hearted. Seems more like a character that would have been Kiryu's understudy or protege rather than a second Kiryu.

Basically, those Kaihei Gang segments are the only things preventing Judgment from being my favorite Yakuza team game I've played this year. It doesn't have moments like Kiryu singing Karaoke, no, though part of what makes that so fun and funny is, again, the rooting of the characters in raw masculinity. But it certainly has plenty of silly moments of its own, and I think Yagami is an easily likeable character that can easily be the star of a new spin-off franchise.

So hopefully you'll be able to find time to play it eventually, rather than never. I don't want to oversell how inconvenient the Kaihei Gang stuff is.

I have to imagine there's an item that lessens that part, or they go away after a story segment.

Frankly, I was hyped for a non-Kiryu Yakuza game that was less beat em up left and right, but it didn't turn out that way. I think the next Yakuza game with turn based combat is what I'm most interested in because it sounds so different.

I've grown tired of the standard Yakuza games after so many of them. I enjoy them, quite a lot, but at this point I'd almost rather they be more like Shenmue and less perpetual battle systems. I love the settings and stories, campy as they can be, but tire of smashing people with motorcycles.

FWIW, a lot of those Mazuma battles in Kiwami are unavoidable. He comes up from manholes, sneaks up on you, etc. I don't think they stop even when you've completed that whole skill tree/quest tree.

I usually like playing games in order so after playing 0, 1 and 2 I'm waiting on the p.c. release of 3.

garion333 wrote:

I have to imagine there's an item that lessens that part, or they go away after a story segment.

Frankly, I was hyped for a non-Kiryu Yakuza game that was less beat em up left and right, but it didn't turn out that way. I think the next Yakuza game with turn based combat is what I'm most interested in because it sounds so different.

I've grown tired of the standard Yakuza games after so many of them. I enjoy them, quite a lot, but at this point I'd almost rather they be more like Shenmue and less perpetual battle systems. I love the settings and stories, campy as they can be, but tire of smashing people with motorcycles.

Now that I can definitely see. Despite not having played all 7 of the base series, I was surprised that Judgment not only retained so much beat-em-up, but also was so heavily invested in the Yakuza in its story. Even Yagami has Yakuza ties. It felt like this was their chance to do something different, and... it's mostly the same, just from the perspective of someone that's not an actual Yakuza themselves despite their connections.

Of course, there are slight differences. Yagami doesn't wield knives, guns, or swords, and while he can pick up and smash someone with a bike, he's not about to do some of the crazier stuff Kiryu will. They definitely tried to make sure there were some notable differences between the protagonists.

And yeah, I have a feeling there's a point where you can finally put an end to the Keihin gang's activities. There's a quest that won't unlock until you've defeated all the gang leaders, and I believe there's a total of four. I've got three out of four right now. Of course, another requirement is to be level fifty, and I'm only somewhere around the 25 or 26 range after 30-some hours of gameplay on chapter 8 out of... 14 I think? So...

kazooka wrote:

FWIW, a lot of those Mazuma battles in Kiwami are unavoidable. He comes up from manholes, sneaks up on you, etc. I don't think they stop even when you've completed that whole skill tree/quest tree.

Well, I avoided the heck out of them somehow. Literally did the first couple and that's all.

Ah, I see, by going through battles with him you rank up different types of encounters with him. I didn't unlock any different types of encounters outside of Hidden Majima, so the only way for me to encounter him was to find him hiding in, say, a giant cone and actively engage him. Once you up your ranks a bit more he jumps into fights and shows up out of nowhere and you have no control over those.

ccesarano wrote:

But Judgment has the Kaihei Gang, and they go out on alert constantly. Basically, you get a text from a buddy saying the Gang is out on the lookout for you, their numbers increase, and the current leaders are all placed throughout the city. You can get pyroxene as a prize for defeating the leaders, which is good for some of the mixtures you can make, but otherwise it just feels like doing two or three tough fights in a row way too often. It halts your current progress, and should you choose to ignore it you get a text from your friend guilting you for doing nothing.

So the game basically says "We're going to throw this at you ever X minutes, and if you ignore it we're going to make you feel bad about it".

I believe it's tied to a quest, but I'd rather it just... well, be a quest rather than this constantly happening thing.

I've finished the game, and made no attempt to 100% it, but as far as I know there's no quest to end the gang activity.

However, once you get over the guilt (which mechanically means nothing, but there is some guilt in those texts) it's pretty easy to avoid the fights. You can still run from most gang members, avoid the bosses, and you can even start a story event or a date to pass the time (and end the "high alert" status) without being harassed by the gang. Yep, they disappear during story events and dates, but the timer is still counting down!

In hindsight, knowing I wasn't going to 100% the game, I wish I'd either played on easy mode or paid for the DLC that can make fights trivial. The latter being a good choice if you enjoy the beat-em-up aspects generally, but occasionally want to blow through annoying fights.

So I'm probably in the final steps of chapter twelve and am nearing the end. I did a bit of Googling for some stuff and found that, yeah, the Keihei Gang stuff is the entire game and you cannot get rid of it. It is also universally viewed as the weakest aspect of the game.

There's something I kind of want to write about for my blog, though, but it's tough to consider how to write about it considering it's due to a sort of "game layer" and "immersive narrative layer" and how the two clash, and in chasing the game layer I now feel dirty and scummy and like I haven't showered in days.

On one hand, I think the "dating" side quests in this game are worthwhile. They're unique quests, and even characters that seem to have surface level elements ultimately are given more depth. I decided I'd try and get the PSN Trophies for all four of the girlfriend options confessing their feelings to you.

For some reason I assumed this meant you also had to accept being their boyfriend.

You don't. You just need them to open up, and then you can reject them if you want.

If you want this trophy, you basically need to be a jerk of some sort. You either just date multiple girls or you lead them on just so they bare their soul to you and then you reject them. If you date multiple girls, Yagami will make his own guilt known, which in turn can cause the player to feel guilty unless you are good enough at separating reality from fiction that you don't empathize with the characters at all.

Or you're just lacking in empathy.

I feel like the "in-character" thing to do is choose just one girl, but the game layer encourages completionism, be it with bonus SP granted for the dates, additional quests and story content, or other factors at play. After all, you never know what side quests will lead to new side quests later on. Plus, as I said, some of these stories are actually quite good.

My advice would be to go after Nanami (whose background is emotional damage caused by being cheated on oh you stupid game what is wrong with you) or Amane. Aside from, y'know, being actual adults (Nana is 19 and Saotome is old enough to drink but still in College, so 20 or 21, whereas Nanami and Amane are both mid-to-late twenties professionals), each of them honestly have the better stories and conundrums.

The funny thing is that this is still better than the hostess club stuff from Yakuza Kiwami on the whole. Kiryu is not the sort to feel guilt over dating multiple hostesses (largely because the hostesses themselves don't go for actual boyfriend commitment? It's a bit weird), but Yagami is. The game let's you know you're doing something that breaks character. But then you can't make the tough choice of breaking up with someone, and because I'm l33t-g4m3r-br0 I'm gonna go all the way and get the stupid trophy.

But I certainly won't feel good about it.

Of course, I'm also sad pathetic single man, so it wouldn't surprise me if most folks here skip these side quests altogether (though, really, do Amane or Nanami, they're both good, with Nanami's probably being the best for actual drama and stuff. Amane's made me laugh and she's quirky while also having it's own dramatics, but it's less down-to-Earth and therefore less impactful than Nanami's. Saotome's is a cute and charming love triangle that would work a lot better if Yagami weren't 35 flippin' years old but sees the character come into her own (and, well, become a character outside of her place in the Twisted Trio storyline), and Nana's is... pandering otaku trash. Kinda cute but really it's there for sweaty idol lovers).

Now that I've got all that out of my system, I've hopefully saved other potential players of Judgment from experiencing the same ick that I have while still pointing out the positive aspects. I feel like that juxtaposition of gamer completionism and narrative adherence is worth examining, though.

I'll probably have more to say regarding the game once I've beaten it, likely this week. As I said either here or somewhere on Discord, I guess Yakuza games need maybe three months between for me to get back into them. The story is especially catching up, and I'm... really hoping it delivers emotionally. I've been wanting to write about how the Yakuza games sort of present a philosophy of masculinity, and Judgment might actually be one of the best representations of that philosophy due to Yagami's more direct confrontation not just with authority, but his former profession. It's definitely a good starting point if a 7 game series is intimidating to you, or you want something that's a bit more toned down in terms of the sexual stuff (though that stuff is still present, because Kamurocho gonna Kamurocho). I think I like this game better than Yakuza 0 or Yakuza Kiwami, and both of those games still put a smile on my face.

If Yakuza: The Year of the Dragon changes the gameplay more drastically, then hopefully Judgment can continue the more "traditional" gameplay in a separate spin-off franchise.

I do as little of the dating and hostess stuff as I possibly can. Of course I also feel the same way about shogi and things like that which I have no idea how to play.

Maybe I no longer know how to play the dating game?!?!? My wife would likely be happy to hear that.

I fired up Yakuza 0 yesterday. Haven't touched the series before, and have had this on the backlog for a while. It's made me laugh out loud several times, especially the Heat moves you can do with environmental objects.

I played maybe an hour and a half or two hours, then quit the game. When I came back later, I had no save file. Turns out there's no autosave! And the game hadn't explained that saves are done via phone booths.

Thankfully skipping all the cutscenes got me back to where I was in under 30 minutes. But that sure was an eye opener. But now I have more money than I did previously because I already was doing better at the combat.

The newest games have autosave. It's one of those anachronistic features that shows they're clearly still working with super old PS2 code underneath everything.

If you happen to play Yakuza Kiwami it allows you to save anywhere in the Options menu, thankfully. (I assume Yakuza 6 and Kiwami 2, the ones with autosave, also allow for this but can't recall offhand.)

ccesarano wrote:

If you want this trophy, you basically need to be a jerk of some sort. You either just date multiple girls or you lead them on just so they bare their soul to you and then you reject them. If you date multiple girls, Yagami will make his own guilt known, which in turn can cause the player to feel guilty unless you are good enough at separating reality from fiction that you don't empathize with the characters at all.

I don't know how much this is Japanese culture versus video games just always being bad at interactive/optional romance/dating, but... it is a shame the game offers you no "casual dating" options. A woman says "I love you," and your choices are either "I love you too" or "I never want to see you again." There's no "hey, we still barely no each other, let's date casually for a little while longer?" Or really anything with any subtlety. That, and you're occasionally railroaded into really stupid choices while initially pursuing the relationships.

Sometimes achievements can give you something to strive for, or encourage you to try different playstyles, or reward diligence/completionism. But when they're used to encourage unpleasant play... Judgement also has a secret achievement for being a perv at one point (thoroughly examining a woman's body during an investigation, yes like that) which was also cringey.

beeporama wrote:

I don't know how much this is Japanese culture versus video games just always being bad at interactive/optional romance/dating, but... it is a shame the game offers you no "casual dating" options. A woman says "I love you," and your choices are either "I love you too" or "I never want to see you again." There's no "hey, we still barely no each other, let's date casually for a little while longer?" Or really anything with any subtlety. That, and you're occasionally railroaded into really stupid choices while initially pursuing the relationships.

Ouch. Is that really how the second option goes down? I was hoping to reject Nanami as the game sort of provides a route of "See, I misled you, you can do better than me" or something, but was already skeptical it'd go that way. Best I can guess is the "I never want to see you again" is to avoid conflict in one another's lives kind of a deal, if we're looking from a cultural perspective.

I might just accept and be a jerk after all because at least in video games I can do the easier stupid jerk option and get away with feeling better about it.

Sometimes achievements can give you something to strive for, or encourage you to try different playstyles, or reward diligence/completionism. But when they're used to encourage unpleasant play... Judgement also has a secret achievement for being a perv at one point (thoroughly examining a woman's body during an investigation, yes like that) which was also cringey.

I got that one because I'm a filthy degenerate.

I think there's a conversation to be said about Judgment (and team Yakuza as a whole) and the philosophy on sex, what is okay, and what's not okay, but I'd probably get into hot water opening up that can of worms. I definitely think they want to push a perspective with their primary characters that sexual interest is okay but women are to be respected and consent is important, as the antagonists often objectify women in very blatant ways. However, a trophy like that certainly feels like a disrespectful and objectifying joke that goes against that core philosophy I believe is at the heart of the games.

Nor is it the only time they trip over themselves. It actually reminds me of something unfortunate about Nanami's dating quest, and that is Yukko. "Naturally", the attractive skinny woman you're trying to date has a best friend that's got a chunky body... and reacts to Yagami in an over-the-top "WOW BOY HE'S HOT" manner. I think even she develops more of a personality as the side narrative moves on, but the first impression is a very poor one and it lingers on. She clearly cares about her friend but her attitude towards Yagami and her idea of romantic actions are extreme or off base.

On the whole I think Judgment is better in how it handles a lot of this stuff, but clearly it's always going to come with gray areas or questionable decisions.

Whelp, stayed up late beating Judgment last night because it turns out it's only 13 chapters. I was expecting a whole other chapter! Turned out I didn't get that fourth girlfriend confession after all... and honestly I don't feel bad about it.

Really, though, I love how this game's story came together. I think it does a really good job of presenting the antagonists not as "bad guys" in the typical sense, save for maybe one, but instead is sort of a reflection of how the system can go astray. Having been reading about and even having spoken with a Japanese woman from my Church about the concept of Wa and such, it has me wondering what sort of resonance this game's narrative has given that it all comes down to what "the greater good" truly means. Combined with the search for global relevancy, I feel like there's a lot going on here that has additional layers than the standard Western perspective of corrupt officials and rebellious underdogs.

Moreso, I think that "fight against the system" perspective works a lot better in the aforementioned conversation regarding Team Yakuza's philosophy on things like masculinity, whether it's conscious or not. One of the funny things about some of the romance side-quests you have is that Yagami's tendency to forge his own path is often admired. That tenacity really is at the heart of the game and his character and his choice to be an independent detective free to seek out the truth rather than act as a lawyer, whose sole goal is to get a verdict.

It was rough at first, jumping into it fresh after back-to-back playthroughs of Yakuza Zero and Yakuza Kiwami. It felt too much like more of the same at the game's start, especially considering how swiftly you got caught up in Yakuza shenanigans. But the game really came into its own, and I think I like Yagami a lot more than Kiryu. If they announced a new Judgment game, I'd be really excited.

I think my biggest problem with the conclusion was the final antagonist you fight.

Spoiler:

It has less to do with the character, though Kuroiwa really was the least interesting antagonist of the bunch. The game does a decent job of narratively building him up as "we need a final boss to fight", giving just the right emotional stakes and making sure the player will enjoy pummeling his face in, but really, the true antagonist is Shono, who is far more interesting in part because he's so unlike your common antagonist (especially in a Yakuza game). From his demeanor to his motivations, he's not even a mad scientist. He's misguided and has compromised morals for what he calls the greater good. I loved that. A very fitting antagonist for a very different protagonist from Kiryu.

Nah, my issue with Kuroiwa is purely mechanical. Aside from being the last fight of Chapter 12, you then must fight him again at the end of Chapter 13 with a larger health bar.... and then you fight him a second time where he's charged up with the same larger health bar as before. I'm glad I stocked up on healing items, because I never found all the proper extract recipes and I found most of them to be less useful (I probably should have been guzzling down the SP growth ones so I could have gotten the third damage tier, but I got the third health and ex gauge boost at least). There's enough jank in the game that I never got good at wall-running, and Yagami seemed resistant to trying to leap over Kuroiwa's head, which was one of my favorite EX strikes to use. It was more reliable than grab or some of the other EX abilities, and I just couldn't get it working on this last fight. My best bet was to try and dodge him then hit him a couple times, making it more a war of attrition.

Basically a boss fight that runs a phase too long and fails to properly stand out from prior fights aside from how long it'll run.

Definitely one of my favorite games this year, and I think I prefer it over the Yakuza titles I've played so far. Really good.

Wow, Judgment over Yakuza? Never thought I'd see the day!

Boss fights in many Yakuza games are just downright stupid and annoying imho.

I've finished Chapter 4 of Yakuza 0, and while I find the game extremely entertaining at times, I'm also finding it hard to want to continue overall. I've heard this one is slow to start, and looking at HLTB it's noticeably longer than others in the series. I feel like there are just a lot of cutscenes to sit through, and I'm not really loving how the combat feels, even after putting it on easy. Right now Majima's story is a little more interesting than Kiryu's, but I'm not dying to know how either resolves. The side stories are pretty wacky, which I like. The minigames I can take or leave. On Steam I noticed only 35% of players have even finished Chapter 4, so I wonder if a lot of people lose interest pretty quickly. In articles about the game, everyone mentions the same set of side stories from the first few chapters, which makes me wonder if even the fans of the game haven't really gotten far in it.

Cutscenes are a huge part of the Yakuza games so if you’re not really digging them I can see it being hard to keep going.

I'd say Yakuza 0 is a bad one to start out on just because of how long it is. It was the first one I played and even though I enjoyed it, I found it a drag towards the end, despite finishing the game. The largest part of that was that I struggled to stumble across the great side stories. I'd say you have to just be in on all the whackiness, but after playing Kiwami last year, I wish I'd started with that one, as I enjoyed it more being a shorter game.

Yakuza 0 Vs Yakuza Kiwami: The Best Starting Point