Yakuza 3

Last night. I called done on playing Yakuza 3, the Remastered version on PS4. Unlike with Yakuza Kawami and Kawami 2, this was a straight remaster and not a remake, so new content added and visually it’s actually a little below the first two games played.

My feelings on Yakuza 3 are definitely a little mixed and I’m not entirely sure why.

I thought the core story was good.  The set up was a little odd, though not over the top odd. I mean, this is is a Yakuza game after all, so some over the topness is to be expected, but yeah, some of the core conceits of this story feel a little out of left field.

And I admit, I do find myself “how did this add to Kiryu’s overall story?”  Other than a new heartache and more guilt, and yet another reminder that no matter how much he tries, he can’t truly leave the Yakuza life behind?

The final scene is apparently fairly divisive and I admit, I was kind of like “WTF” when it happened myself.  In part, because it really did seem to just come out of nowhere and was what…some way to show Kiryu still has faith in people?  Except Kiryu is also not an idiot who just trusts anyone and everyone, so why…what?  And the other person’s motivations made absolutely no sense at all.

I mean the game does have some great moment’s showing Kiryu’s faith and believe in people who have earned it.  His complete trust in Majima, who yes earns his name as “mad dog”, but he’s also shown his core enough that Kiryu explicitly trusts him in the game’s opening, and later in a moment that to me so clearly showed Kiryu’s nature that is far more on point than whatever the last scene was attempting to do.  And the situation on the roof with a certain other character at the end – yes, that was true Kiryu!  But that crap at the very end before credits roll?  That just made him seem dumb (okay…okay…you could argue about all the scams he falls for, but still, he isn’t a complete idiot!)

I guess that was probably also one issue with this game…not nearly enough Majima!  I love my crazy dude, he makes me crack up any time he’s on-screen!  And I thought the story was going to get seriously deep and messed up around Majima because seeing him in a suit partway the game had me wondering what was going on, what was wrong with him, and everything – because the first two games have so well established that he wasn’t that kind of Yakuza, and yet it was never brought up!??  ARGH!

Instead, we get just one fun Kiryu vs Majima fight, and one, admittedly awesome, scene of Majima being Majima, and then he is content to just be in the background and do what Kiryu says?  I mean he doesn’t he give Kiryu any fighting challenges to show he hasn’t gone soft in his two years away or anything :-/

More broadly, this one’s story dragged a bit to me.  The opening sets up Kiryu’s move to Okinawa to run the Morning Glory Orphanage with Haruka, which just seems like an awesome thing for him…but then the opening chapters spend WAY too much time establishing him with the kids.  Every single one had a story-required story to get through, and again, for what purpose?  The kids are built up as individual characters, which is nice, except they have very little do with the game as individuals.  The threat is to the orphanage itself and those threats and related scenes would have been just as impactful without all those individual little stories eating up hours of game time for no real payout.  Kiryu didn’t grow as a character himself, and it didn’t raise the stakes or anything.

So yeah…I just don’t know.  I mean, I did put in just under 50 hours of playtime, so I’d say I enjoyed it to some extent.  As with the other two games, it has some fun substories and a crap ton of mini-game options to occupy your time.  Various fighting/training challenges as well, I can see how 100%ers need over 100 hours to finish this game.

There is also a new hostess game, though I admit, I found it less fun as the one in Kiwami 2 where you are building up the club.  In this one, you recruit a single hostess and try to make her number one to teach the other number one some humility.  But it’s fiddly, and a lot of it requires basically just guessing to figure out the best “combo” of dressing up your hostess because you can’t see the effects of your choices until after it’s finalized (and paid for), but only with the more limited club money rather than your healthy reserves.  And yeah, I really dislike stuff like that seems to stack the deck against you for no reason, where a major screw up means a reload or having to spend even more time at the mini-game to make back the money before you can try again.  Suffice to say, I googled for a guide because yeah, no, that just isn’t fun to me.

And maybe that’s the real core issue with this game for me.  While I put in 50 hours, while I laughed lots (as you’ll see in my streams), and I did over 100 substories…it felt far more tedious and monotonous than the first two games.  Even that time playing is not really a good thing – the first two I think came in at 30-35 hours for actually a higher level of completion!  This one, I skipped a lot of the minigames and still racked up that much time.

And then after the ending, I was looking forward to finishing up substories and what not in the post-events world.  But unlike with Kiwami and Kiwami 2, in Yakuza 3, the “premium adventure” is a magically reset world where you can just explore freely without the story…which really killed my enjoyment of it.  While I hate missable stuff, I also really hate that kind of reset stuff or where games just put you back before the final boss – because I want to see the world after.  That was great in the first two games, and even new substories specific to that changed world.

And maybe part of my mixed feelings is because of my own mental state right now, with my depression active, or did I just not enjoy this one as much as the other two?  I lean towards both…I really do not feel as great about this one, I don’t’ want to go tell everyone about it, or bug anyone to play it (though I’d say you should for the whole story).  But it hasn’t turned me off from the series or anything like that, I will be finishing Kiryu’s story, hopefully, this year.

But for now…maybe a Yakuza break to try something else, see if it helps clear up my headspace to enjoy 4 more.

As with the first two games, I did stream most of my gameplay, other than the last bit of substory hunting after game over: