PS3 Review – Yakuza 3

March 19, 2010Written by Cameron Teague

Outside of combat, there are plenty of other things to keep you busy. The game employs a number of very fun mini-games that are very well put together and executed by the team at Sega. These games include pool, darts, golf, batting cages, and fishing to name a few. All of these games were well done. I spent a lot of time playing golf and shooting pool in the game, and got pretty addicted to 9 ball.

Additionally, you can run around town accepting various missions from your fellow Japanese citizens. These quests could have you help a dad take ice cream to his family or help a loan shark catch someone late on his loan payment. While running around town on these missions, you will notice locker keys laying on the ground. There are around 100 total in the game, and they provide the player with items after opening the respective lockers. These keys are very spread out around the different locations in the game, and at times can easily be missed due to the amount of civilians in the area.

A new feature in this years Yakuza game is the revelation mode. Revelation mode has Kazuma finding 10 unique situations to take photographs of with his phone’s built in camera. Details of these photo ops are provided to you by a fellow photographer looking for the perfect shot. You must be in first persion view, another new addition to the series, to find these revelations. Unlocking these will help you learn new heat moves to be used during combat. While in first person view, you can also get a better look at your surroundings, find hidden locker keys, and signal a fight with a local street punk roaming the street. However, you cannot move while in first person view, and doing so will swap you back to the original view.

If you get tired of walking, there are options to take taxis and monorails. While you are walking around, though, you will find plenty of stores to visit during your stay. There are convenience stores, clubs, bikini bars and various eateries to check out and enjoy. However, you will be without hostess clubs, as Sega decided to axe them from the western release. In the later chapters you will even unlock a combat arena to go and test your skills at and gain valuable EXP.

The gameplay is great in Yakuza 3, but I would be remiss not to mention one of the strongest points in the game: the story. Despite my initial worries that this just might be a senseless brawler or another gang story, Yakuza 3 delivers a very compelling story. The story touches on respect, honor, family, and life mistakes and how to learn from them. Each character in the game has a distinct personality and is well portrayed, starting with the great voice acting in the game. All the voices in the game are extremely well done and the overall presentation is top notch. The game looks good, with some very impressive visuals, though nothing that will blow you away.

The game is not without its faults, however tiny they may be.  The camera angle can get a bit annoying at times, especially when you find yourself behind a building, as you will sometime be unable to move the camera.  Another minor annoyance is that while inside buildings, you cannot run.  This is nothing major, but moving through the house at the speed of a turtle can cause some frustration.  There is also the cut content in the Western release such as hostess clubs and trivia games, but there is still more than enough content in the release.

Yakuza 3 is an astounding success in bringing the Japanese culture over in a great package of emotions and raw combat. Everything from the presentation to the combat is well done in this fight to the death. You can easily spend 13+ hours on the story alone without even diving into the mini games, battle arena, and side missions. Yakuza 3 will pull you into the fight and won’t let you out until you’re black and blue from head to toe. If you are ready for a taste of Japan and aren’t afraid of a little action, this is the game you need to pick up.

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score

Top notch story and presentation

Brutal and fun combat

Fun mini-games and side missions add depth

9 out of 10

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