Kickin' Yakuza Butt!
Presentation: Yakuza 3 is a game that is heavily story-driven. There are tons of cutscenes and most of them are lengthy. However, each cutscene uses amazing CG and Japanese voice-acting. Yes, the game is entirely in Japanese with English subtitles. Those of you that hate reading should take this into consideration. Also, some cutscenes don't use the impressive CG previously mentioned; they are simply text boxes with character animations. These pieces aren't bad but they do make the pacing slow down, especially when the characters have a long conversation. As I stated before, the story in Yakuza 3 is the main attraction and it shows. The story is long but incredibly good with unexpected twists and heart-breaking scenes. It is almost impossible to not love the characters once the game is over. The visuals within the game are somewhat dated because Yakuza 3 is an older PS3 title. Although, the settings in Tokyo are excellently imitated and rendered with detail.
Gameplay: Yakuza 3 is an action brawler so most of the combat is done using your fists. Kazuma has the ability to pick up objects and bash enemies with them as well. Fighting can get repetitive and it is easy to button-mash your way through the game but the developers try to avoid that by implementing RPG elements within the combat. Kazuma gains experience for every battle and you can use his experience to level up different attributes and gain new moves. A major part of the game is exploration. This is an open-world brawler so Kazuma can freely explore Tokyo and Okinawa. Just like in an RPG, exploration can be halted by random battle encounters so brace yourself for numerous fights. In addition, there are countless of quests and collecting to do. The game will take at most 40 hours to finish but there is so much to do that you can easily squeeze an extra 20 hours after the story is done.
Conclusion: Yakuza 3 was a surprising game in many ways. I had no idea that the story would be so gripping and the game so expansive for being a brawler. I completed the game in 36 hours but only with 21% completion; that says a lot. Combat could have been slightly better, but really, it was fine for a game this awesome. I highly recommend it.