Yakuza 3 Super Review

  • Using furniture to kill criminals
  • An epic, beautifully directed plot
  • Exploring a hugely modern, authentic-feeling Tokyo
  • It frequently looks like ass
  • The opening, painfully slow first four hours
  • Your eyes going funny as you try to read tiny text-based conversations

Fights also have some Final Fantasy in them. Alright, so you don’t summon spirits to incinerate cute monsters so much as you stab the shit out of surly street punks with a katana. Both games do feature random battles, though, in what we can only describe as the most aggressive city ever, where citizens from all walks of life want to beat your bonce in.

Above: Apparently, anyone who harmlessly walks down a street in Tokyo is begging for a beat down  

Mission Predictable

When every Tom, Dick and homicidal Harry challenges you to a fight around every corner, it’s only natural repetition kicks in pretty damn quick. Sadly, this is also true of the main story missions, which pretty much subscribe to one of the following three tricks.

1). Find informant. Talk to informant. Punch informant in face.

2). Chase informant through streets. Talk to informant. Punch informant in face.

3). Give the finger to formalities and just punch informant in face.

Above: Don’t resist it, everything you do in Yakuza 3 is ending up with one of these

Alright, so it’s not quite as simple as that. Most of the game’s epic-sized story chapters pick up the pace when they pit you against a mental and usually murderous boss man. Granted, it’s just more fisticuffs. But there’s no doubt duking it out with a dude with three foot Vega-style claws or a mob boss who licks knives before he throws them at you is a step up from scraps against the brassed-off businessmen you meet on the streets.

Above: Mmmm, cold steel. Just like mom used to make

Mess is more

Of course, like GTA and as we’ve already mentioned, you don’t have to touch any of this. There’s a good chance you’ll leave the main missions for hours at a time, simply to mess around with the 16 different minigames and hundreds of side quests, most of which rock hard. So much so, that Yakuza’s take on golf, bowling and the 2D minigames in the city’s arcades are almost good enough to be sold as budget titles on their own.

The huge number of side missions you can take are also a great distraction. Most have you do totally mental things, like when Kaz saves a debt-ridden man from suicide with sound life insurance advice or when he rescues a woman’s dog from kidnappers. Always inventive and with a wry, subversive sense of fun; it’s easy to get lost when you help Kamurocho’s residents. Well, the ones who don’t try to shiv you in the spine on sight, anyway.

Above: Golf - one of the many pleasurable activities Kaz can partake in when he gets tired of having his head smashed in

Praise should also go to almighty Jeebus for Yakuza’s ace story, which weaves a bloody brilliant yarn. Well scripted, adult, and with stylish cutscenes that come across as half Martin Scorsese/half John Woo, they’re a pleasure to watch. They both drive events on with real thrust and give you something to look forward to. Dicking about may distract you for a while, but the quality of Kaz’s story eventually drags you back.

More Info

Release date: Mar 09 2010 - PS3 (US)
Available Platforms: PS3
Genre: Action
Published by: Sega
Developed by: Sega
Franchise: Yakuza
ESRB Rating:
Mature: Blood, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Alcohol, Violence
PEGI Rating:


  • philipshaw - March 11, 2010 3:46 p.m.

    Getting this for my Birthday, which is a couple of weeks away and I'm glad it got a good review
  • DarkxxElement - March 11, 2010 1:12 p.m.

    "How to Raise Parentless Pipsqueaks 3" That really made me LOL this article is funny as cheese. ReCaptcha: Traded Carne
  • Rubberducky - March 10, 2010 10:26 p.m.

    @Mateoc If I made a website called and did nothing but give PS3 games 10/10 would it make you happier?
  • MateoC - March 10, 2010 9:44 p.m.

    @DeviousMonkey I didn't say the PS3 games were perfect. I said they were, "legitimately good." I just find it ridiculous that the reviewer has gone out of his way to attack an eight month old game. I find it especially ridiculous that he is comparing to unlike games for the sake of ripping another one apart. I mean seriously Yakuza 3 and inFamous aren't even in the same genre. Yakuza 3 is 3rd person a beat-um-up while inFamous is a 3rd person platformer/shooter.
  • GodofPS314 - March 10, 2010 9:04 p.m.

    Call me dumb, but I didn't think much of GTA4. I respect how it is so indepth and has a good story, but it is so self indulgent for some reason to me. Plus Co-op and Multiplayer mean alot to me. I probably won't get this purely because the only part of GTA4 was roaming around and putting in cheats the story made me snore.
  • Amatarasu - March 10, 2010 8:27 p.m.

    God! who cares if it looks like an ass, i want to know about the gameplay, not the pretty colors
  • twinkletitsMcGee - March 10, 2010 4:56 p.m.

    @MateoC Well they are on Microsoft's payroll so that is probably why they hate on all the Sony games. Or maybe this is just another piece of shit rip off of GTA.
  • sleepy92ismypsn - March 10, 2010 2:27 p.m.

    this game doesn't just have cheap text talk like pokemon games it has people speaking in japanese with english subtitles theres a big difference and the one you guys failed to mention is way cooler. ill add this to the neverending list of games i want to play. i already play video games at least 5 hours a day and im still behind this year. oh well i guess ill have to quit work
  • DeviousMonkey - March 10, 2010 10:40 a.m.

    @MateoC Really... You actually believe this? So criticism is fine as long as it's not a PS3 exclusive? Just cause it's a PS3 exclusive doesn't make it perfect.
  • SuperNintendoChalmers - March 10, 2010 3:53 a.m.

    Ugh...I am happy this game got a good score and all, but my poor wallet is malnourished enough as it is...Companies, don't release any games this summer. I have about a 30 title backlog.
  • Cyberninja - March 10, 2010 1:19 a.m.

    infamous is a game for people who like sly cooper and yakuza is for people who like Gta dont compare them
  • MateoC - March 10, 2010 1:02 a.m.

    @Pocotron Actually they like hating on many PS3 games in their reviews. Just from what I've read recently, they have blatantly said Killzone 2 is boring and has little variety, MAG's teamwork doesn't happen naturally and is generic and right now inFamous has a generic story and is not very fun. Also, we can't forget the weeks they spent bagging on Heavy Rain's story. This site may give some PS3 games high scores, but they are usually games that have huge followings. The others that aren't as lucky to have big followings, they go out of their way to hate on, even if the games are legitimately good.
  • JoeGBallad - March 9, 2010 9:47 p.m.

    Forgot to mention, the graphics in this game are lovely. I don't care about a funny walking animation (hell, the Metal Gear Solid series has always had that) and the bright lights of Kamurucho are infinitely more impressive than most shitty grey games out the now.
  • JoeGBallad - March 9, 2010 9:42 p.m.

    I've always loved the Yakuza games, especially their 'up-yours' mentality towards other games; the action is imprecise, messy and meaty where other games like God of War and Heavenly Sword et al seem to have no 'connection' between the player and the acrobatics of the protagonists. I'm getting a bit tired of reviews demanding voice acting though. There's nothing wrong with reading text and saving the voice-acting for the more dramatic cut-scenes. The argument that Mass Effect can do it and so should everything else doesn't really stand. In fact, I much prefer text because you can read through it quickly instead of waiting for some pish voice actor stumble his way through the lines. haha, how's that for a first post?
  • Samael - March 9, 2010 9:20 p.m.

    Damn, I wish you would've mentioned if the non-japnese version took out hostess clubs or not. I know they took out one non-essential mission involving them, but if they took them out completley I'm gonna be pissed.
  • Pocotron - March 9, 2010 9:15 p.m.

    Yup. You guys love hating on inFamous. THAT never gets old...
  • metalgatesolid - March 9, 2010 8:19 p.m.

    Any idea if they are going to do a God of War and release a Yakuza 1 & 2 re-make in nice and shiny hi-def? Id love that.
  • b8z - March 9, 2010 8 p.m.

    Good to see it scored well and a good review, even better seeing as it was originally released just over a year ago which the graphics show (don't think they've been updated either). But I've got to agree with crumbdunky's comments about comparing it to inFamous, and in the inFamous comparison "rather than some rubbish plot starring generic Johnny Bald Man", yes I agree that his look was pretty generic, but rubbish plot? wow, just wow.
  • lovinmyps3 - March 9, 2010 6:20 p.m.

    Yay!! I've been looking forward to this game!! =)
  • Ru89 - March 9, 2010 6:08 p.m.

    you had me at def jam: fight for new york. 1 of my favorite games!!!!!

Showing 1-20 of 26 comments

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