previews\ May 3, 2006 at 8:00 pm

Yakuza - PS2 - Preview

E3 2006 First Look Preview

Due out in September for the PS2, SEGA’s Yakuza is a story-driven crime-action game that allows players to step into the shoes of the Japanese Mafia and experience the Tokyo Underground. The game is already out in Japan, where it has been well received critically and commercially. When Yakuza hits American shores, we’ll be able to experience what Japanese gamers have, namely an engaging crime game with a meticulously accurate presentation of the city of Tokyo.


In Yakuza, you will play as Kazuma, a former Yakuza who has just gotten out of a ten-year stint in prison for murder. Just as you are setting out to rebuild your life, you become involved in a plot involving 100 billion yen that has turned up missing and an enigmatic young girl called Haruka. You must fight to solve the mystery and uncover the secrets that the Yakuza are hiding. The original storyline was penned by noted producer Toshihiro Nagoshi with novelist Seishu Hase, so the production values are pretty high with this one.


At first glance, Yakuza may seem like another crime thriller in the vein of Rise to Honor or True Crime. However, Yakuza will offer up a deep story with a deep combat system. Most of the game is done utilizing hand to hand combat. The battles are based in a random encounter system, similar to what you’d find in an RPG title. Also, you’ll be able to beef up your character with new attributes and special skills by coming across homeless “trainers” along the way and learning some new tricks.

Yakuza PS2 screenshots


One area where Yakuza really shines is in its faithfulness to Japan in terms of aesthetics. The attention to detail is superb, as the development team has given the game a meticulous focus to make sure that Japan is well represented. They’ve managed to secure well known Japanese name brands, like Boss Coffee for example, and they have also included spots like Pachinko parlors where you can go in and gamble to your heart’s content. All in all, the look was great and the game really gave you a sense of Japanese culture.


Yakuza is shaping up to be an impressive crime thriller with an engaging, twisting story and a great reproduction of Japan. Look for it exclusively on the PS2 this September.

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