TGS 2008: Yakuza 3 Impressions

The Yakuza series is returning for a true sequel, and we've got impressions of the game from the TGS stage show demo.

TOKYO--One of Sega's anticipated titles at the Tokyo Game Show was Yakuza 3. Don't let the name fool you: Despite its numbering, the game actually marks the fourth installment in the series. Yakuza 1 and 2 took place in modern Japan and told the story of a former yakuza named Kiryu Kazuma, who fought for his loved ones, loyalty, and friendship. Then came the third installment, which was titled Ryu Ga Gotoku: Kenzan in Japan (it hasn't come out in English yet). The game took place in the Edo period in Japan, and though it shared a similar atmosphere with the previous two games, it felt more like a side story.

With the series going into its fourth release, Sega decided to bring it back to the modern era. In Yakuza 3, you will once again take the role of the protagonist, former yakuza Kiryu Kazuma. This time, the game takes place in two locations: the subtropical island of Okinawa and the red-light district of Kamurocho, which fans should be familiar with.

As the story goes, Kiryu and the little girl Haruka from the first installment left the dangerous streets of Kamurochou in 2007 and have started a new life in Okinawa. There, they have opened an orphanage and have lived a quiet but peaceful life. But Kiryu and Haruka soon find themselves in trouble regarding land acquisition, and plans for a military base expansion and resort development hit them hard. To save his orphanage from politics and local underground organizations, Kiryu stands up to fight. But little does Kiryu know that his small personal battle in the outskirts of Okinawa will connect to the Toujoukai clan from previous Yakuza installments and eventually to a national-scale incident. Two years later, in 2009, gunshot incidents in Okinawa and Tokyo further propel the dirty affairs. Having his loved ones and trusted ones attacked, Kiryu returns to Kamurochou to uncover the truth.

At Yakuza 3's stage presentation, producer Nagoshi commented that the game will feature a lot of human drama, and as expected, it's oriented toward adults. He showed off an action-packed trailer that featured various scenes, including a Stealth bomber flying in the sky, Okinawa civilians protesting against military base expansion, Yakuzas holding property-rights documents, CIA agents attacking Kiryu with double handguns, and Kiryu getting assaulted in a building by a flying helicopter, which peppers him with bullets from a Gatling gun through the glass windows.

Nagoshi took some time to run some extra clips that showed what's new in Yakuza 3. First and foremost, because the game is on the PlayStation 3, Kamurochou looks more realistic than ever. In fact, it looks almost identical to the real-life district of Kabukicho in Tokyo, which the fictitious town was modeled after. Sega has collaborated with more than 20 different companies to make the stores and environment feel as real as possible. The developers worked hard on Okinawa as well to give it a distinct atmosphere that's different from mainland Japan.

Minigames in Yakuza 3 have also been buffed up. For example, Kiryu can go into a karaoke store, and you can play a minigame where he sings. You can also play billiards, darts, bowling, blackjack, and roulette. And there's also golf, which, according to Nagoshi, can be played as a complete game of its own. There's also a fully featured hostess club system where you can scout new hostesses and customize their looks. The developers wanted to give detail to the system, so they collaborated with the Japanese hostess magazine Koakuma Ageha to take facial renderings and voice recordings of their top models.

Nagoshi then went on to talk about the fights in Yakuza 3. One key aspect of the battle system that has been changed is the load time. While previous installments in the Yakuza series had a short gap when switching between the adventure phase and the battle phase, transitions have become smooth and seamless in Yakuza 3.

Needless to say, there are new heat actions, moves, and weapons. In one clip, we saw Kiryu spitting a cigarette into an opponent's face to stun him and then jumping into the air to land a power-packed punch. In another scene, he was swinging a man around as a weapon. He was also seen using nunchakus as well as cigarette disposals to whack on enemies.

It seems that Kiryu still has interesting ways of finding inspiration for new moves. One clip showed a girl getting her chest groped by a man behind, and she made a comeback by elbowing his nose and throwing him into an ally of garbage. After witnessing the whole scene, Kiryu quickly tapped down some notes about it on his cell phone and acquired it as a move.

While details weren't revealed, Yakuza 3 also features some form of tag tournament, and we saw men fighting in a UFC-like caged ring.

Closing off his stage presentation, Nagoshi talked about the voice actors in the game. The Yakuza series has always featured famous Japanese actors that have lent their rough masculine voices to give the game a distinct feel, and the tradition has been followed with Yakuza 3. What's more, Sega has had the popular Japanese rock singer Eikichi Yazawa perform a fresh new theme song for Yakuza 3, which will be titled "Loser."

Yakuza 3 wasn't available for play at the Tokyo Game Show, but it seems to be progressing well. Nagoshi announced that the game is slated for release in Japan during spring 2009. Expect more information on the game, hopefully including news on a US release date, in the coming months.

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Discussion

26 comments
Castlevania1986
Castlevania1986

This is pointless news. A game that isn;t even being released in the US. Why do they even bother having these Jap only games on Gamespot? IGN tends to ignore this stuff because no one cares about owning a Jap PS3 in the first place. Let alone modding their American version.

chito2800
chito2800

I already order the game from play-Asia.com,and the white ps3 controller.Do yaw think it will be a update for English subtitles on this game in the feature.What i mean by that is, when you put the game in and it tells you theirs a update for this game.Also i f u want to play the trial, create a new user and u don't have to create a ps3 screen name just a new user,then you go to your ps3 store and click japan as your country,and you ken download it.but i did create a screen name for that user and activated on my ps3 so i ken play it with my other screen name,but try not creating one if your going to play while not using a screen name just the user.

chito2800
chito2800

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Aka_Oni
Aka_Oni

I plan on getting this game for sure. Hopefully it gets released with english subtitles such as it did in the second installment.

billyjunxix
billyjunxix

Yakuza 3 is another PS3 exclusive that will rock the gaming industry..again. I cants wait for Yakuza 3.

rikhan_z
rikhan_z

I think I'll use my cell phone and scout around for new moves Anyways, I can wait for Yakuza 3

wonzan
wonzan

if the graphics are truly going to be like those screen shots and if the game isnt just a bunch of text reading events then I will definitely buy this game.

Aka_Oni
Aka_Oni

I love the yakuza series and can't wait for this to come out. Hopefully the second one can be released in the states.

EnaVRi
EnaVRi

superb... now Shenmue III please...

dark_angel_sg5
dark_angel_sg5

Ryu ga Gotoku: Kenzan is an amazing title; easily one of the most fun games I've played on the PS3. There's NO WAY it'll get an English release (due to American censorship *cough* child prostitution *cough). If 4 is as good as 3 was, it'll be well worth getting!!

cube-gage
cube-gage

Yeah, a damn lot mor epeople would buy shenmue 3 than yakuza. Sega is awful at marketing, to my friends im like "oh have seen that yakuza game" and they are like what is yakuza. Sega got your act together and make shenmue 3, it would cost anywhaere near as much as it used to. damnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn you SEGA.

in2DarKneSs
in2DarKneSs

Hooray! Yakuza 3, mebbe now sega can make Shenmue 3! I mean really come on.

Pfilosophy
Pfilosophy

"While details weren't revealed, Yakuza 3 also features some form of tag tournament, and we saw men fighting in an UFC-like, caged ring." Tag tournament? That's the arena in Purgatory from the first two. Honestly, GS. God, I'm so excited for this.

Pfilosophy
Pfilosophy

"While details weren't revealed, Yakuza 3 also features some form of tag tournament, and we saw men fighting in an UFC-like, caged ring." Tag tournament? That's the arena in Purgatory from the first two. Honestly, GS. God, I'm so excited for this.

Kokoyasu
Kokoyasu

this looks amazing, i think i am going to go back to replay the first one, start the second one and then wait for the third one. good move on part of sega, love the series!

Meko_Gear_Solid
Meko_Gear_Solid

Yakuza is like my 3rd 4th favorite ps2 series and thats one hell of a compliment with mgs dmc ff n many many others i love im sooo anticipating #3 and Kenzan Sega is really redeeming themselves personally ive thought of them to be stagnent lately... at least with console sonics... i deeply loved adventure 2 but heroes was terrible and im not going to even mention the unspeakable horror which was sonic the hedgehog(2) i guess omg :'( but with jems like yakuza valkyria chronicles and well many sweet handheld games sega is really shining once again!!! YATA BANZAI!

hxcpride
hxcpride

i cant wait for this game to be released!

other44
other44

sweet! hope we get it in english!

Zero_Beat
Zero_Beat

My most anticipated game alongside Uncharted 2.

Blaiyze1
Blaiyze1

Well a 2009 relesease date but looking good... Heard alot of good things about the first one but seriously... this seems to be packing ALOT!... btw i'm not sure how they fitted GTA4 on one 360 disc but i think i see why they're going exclusive for this...

The_Weekend
The_Weekend

Awesome news. I knew they couldn't just stop there at part 2 and not do anything!!

snake2215449
snake2215449

SERIOUSLY YAKUZA 2 JUST CAME OUT FOR PS2 NOW THEY ANNOUNCED ANOTHER ONE?! SWEEEEEEEEET!!!!!!!