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Four Playable Characters
For the first time in the Yakuza series, you will be playing as more than one character. In addition to the series’ protagonist Kazuma Kiryu, you have three other characters to play as: Masayoshi Tanimura, Shun Akiyama and Taiga Saejima. The fates of these characters are tied to a mysterious woman. The multiple main characters should add plenty of depth as the story of Yakuza 4 unravels.
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Deeper Combat System
Although the combat system in the Yakuza series remains fun, it was also getting a little bit stale. Fortunately, Yakuza 4 added some much needed variety to the mix with the three new playable characters that compliments Kazuma Kiryu. The cop, Masayoshi Tanimura, focuses more on grappling moves. The businessman, Shun Akiyama, uses his swift legs to dispose of his enemies. Finally, former Yakuza Taiga Saejima uses slow but powerful attacks to take car of business.
While the base brawler elements of the combat system remain the samethe multiple playable characters add more depth to it.
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Rooftop, Backstreet and Underground
The Yakuza series is set mainly in the fictional Kamurocho red-light district of Tokyo. After three games in the same setting, visiting the place once again for the fourth time seems like overkill. Sega, who develops and publishes the Yakuza series, were able to remedy this by adding more accessible areas to the crime-ridden district.
Several backstreet areas have been added for the latest Yakuza title. Furthermore, the district got more vertical thanks to the new rooftops and underground segments. Being an open-world game, Yakuza 4 needed an interesting area to explore. The new additions made sure that the latest iteration of Kamurocho is the best the series has to offer.
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New and Improved Mini-Games
Some of the best features about the Yakuza series are the numerous mini-games as they let you experienced a part of the Japanese culture without having to actually be there. Yakuza 4 adds several new mini-games to an already impressive collection. You can play table tennis in a hot spring. Moreover, a sequel is now available for the addicting side-scrolling shooting arcade game from Yakuza 3, Boxcelios.
With several improvements made to existing mini-games as well, Yakuza 4 has more than enough side-attractions to keep you occupied if you choose to stray from the main story path.
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Minimal Cut Content
Fans were outraged to learn that Sega chose not to localize a big portion of Yakuza 3 when they published the game in North America last year. The publisher learned their lesson this time around. Hostess clubs make their triumphant return and has been marketed has a big bullet point. Sega has also disclosed that the cuts will be small and that the localized version of Yakuza 4 will remain largely the same as when the game launched in Japan.
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The Yakuza series don’t sell all too well in the west compared to the numbers it pulls in from Japan. With all the improvements with Yakuza 4, however, the sequel looks like it will be the best in the series yet and one title you want to keep an eye on when it launches for the Playstation 3 in North America.