Sadly, these scenes, which the PS3 renders in real-time, also bring into sharp focus just how dang fugly the rest of the game really is. Honestly, when you wander the streets and see nothing but ugly textures and crowds that pop in and out of sight, it’s hard to argue much of this couldn’t have been done on the PS2.
It’s not only the graphics that lets things down. The animation is also pretty archaic, with a run animation that makes Kiryu look like The Terminator… if he had a lump of coal shoved up his android ass.
Above: Why did Kaz have to take the Terminator's rubbish movement? The whole bullet-proof body thing would have been way more useful
Probably the biggest shame is the voice acting, or lack of it. With almost 300 minutes of quality dialogue recorded for cutscenes, it’s a pity most of the in-game conversations you have are text-based. This might have been OK in the PS2 days, but post Mass Effect, these shortcuts just don’t slice the sushi anymore.
Don’t let that you put you off forking out the cash for this, though. We might moan about its technical failings, but this is still a game that packs in a hell of a lot of defiantly daft fun over 20+ hours.
Above: Yakuza's take on UFC is brilliant, brutal, but thankfully less sweaty than the official game
Whether you just want a brilliant, brutal brawler, a game that let’s you sink putts on a sun-kissed Okinawa back nine or a compelling crime story; this has you covered. Put simply: it’s as close to GTA Japan as we’re likely to get anytime soon.
GTA IV? Nah. While there’s loads more to do in Yakuza’s Tokyo than Liberty City, the scale of the metropolis is far less ambitious. Only a small part of the city has been recreated for the game, even if it has been made with a startling eye for detail. It’s ultimately the variety of GTA’s missions and productions values that prevents Kaz from besting Niko.
Infamous? Yup. Sega’s game has a far better script and characters you can actually emphasise with, rather than some rubbish plot starring generic Johnny Bald Man. Kamurocho and Okinawa are also far more fun places to explore than Infamous’ dismally dreary Empire City. Sucker Punch’s game may have the technical edge, but it can’t compete with Yakuza’s depth or sense of fun.
Shenmue? No. Both games are fairly similar, in that there’s loads of talking to folk, usually followed up by booting the same folk in the spuds. But where Sega’s decade old Eastern Adventure triumphs is the thrill of exploration it gives you. Shenmue is less linear and more challenging than Yakuza 3 and often demands lateral thinking to progress. Every conversation you have in the game is also fully recorded, too, unlike Yakuza’s cheap text chat. Not bad for a Dreamcast game, eh?
A big, exciting martial arts film wrapped up in one of the most brilliantly stupid and consistently entertaining game worlds you’ll ever find. Graphically, it might be a bit last-gen, but we doubt you’ll care when you can beat men to death with bikes