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Podcast Videos

Podcast: Welcome to Gamnesia After Dark

Welcome to the pilot episode of Gamnesia’s new, more casual podcast: Gamnesia After Dark! Featuring less news and more silly stories, we’re aiming to help you get to know us on the staff a bit better and maybe have a bit of fun while doing so. This week, Steven, Aloisia, and Alex discuss the games we’re currently playing, as well as diving into the games that define who we are as gamers.

This is our first episode of the new podcast, so we want to hear your feedback! If there are things you didn’t like, let us know so we can work on improving those going forward. Equally as important, if there are things you do like, let us know so we can try to do them more.

As a preemptive warning, Gamnesia After Dark will make use of stronger language than our past podcasts have. While we certainly hope you will listen to and enjoy this and all subsequent episodes, we advise you to listen with caution if you are sensitive to such language.

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Yakuza 6: The Song of Life is an Intense, Gorgeous Conclusion to SEGA’s Best Story

You may not be aware of it, but the SEGA dream lives on today. It may not be through the middling success of
Sonic the Hedgehog (it’ll bounce back from Sonic Forces, right?), but through the excellence shown in their very own Yakuza franchise, a series that has always been more popular in Japan than in North America up until the globally successful release of Yakuza 0 last year. A blend of over-the-top beat-em-up action and RPG elements, the Yakuza series stands as SEGA’s competitor to Grand Theft Auto. The series offers a solemn, serious story not dissimilar in tone to the Metal Gear Solid franchise, with hours of minigames and distracting sidequests. Yakuza 6: The Song of Life is not only an excellent conclusion to this high-quality action series, but it refines its best traits to the point of greatness.

As with the rest of the series, the latest installment tells the story of Kazuma Kiryu, a fearsome gangster known as “The Dragon of Dojima,” an ultimately bighearted and caring man who has never taken a life but would easily risk his own for those he cares for. One of these people is Haruka Sawamura, who he raised and cared for since the beginning of the series. In the previous two main entries, we have seen several playable characters whose fates interweave with Kiryu. In Yakuza 6: The Song of Life, we see the dramatic finale of Kiryu’s story, with the focus shifted entirely on him. Being such a memorable and iconic character to the series, he definitely gets the send-off he deserves.

Set three years after the events of
Yakuza 5, Haruka’s days as an idol have come to an end, and Kiryu is left believing he is to blame after being accidentally ousted by her in an emotional retirement speech. Serving four years in prison for his past crimes in an act of appeasement, he returns to his orphanage and discovers that Haruka had disappeared nearly three years ago, so he sets out to find her. Instead, he learns that she was struck by a car in a gang related incident, taking most of the damage to protect her one year old son, Haruto, and leaving her in critical condition.

Angered, Kiryu flip flops between Kamurucho, Tokyo and Onomichi, Hiroshima, looking for the child’s father and trying to find answers. Along the way, he meets and befriends the Hirose Family, a local Yakuza gang raised by a lovable patriarch, who do everything they can to help him. But, as it turns out, the answers Kiryu seeks about his foster-grandson go far deeper than anybody would believe, and with rising tensions between two major Yakuza factions, his former Tojo Clan and the Omi Alliance, the Korean Jingweon Mafia, Chinese Triads, who recently expanded into Japan, he needs to fight harder than ever to come out alive.

The story of Yakuza 6 follows the trend with other games in the series: highly cinematic, incredibly stylish cinematography, and ultimately satisfying to watch. The lengths Kiryu goes through to help others go far past that of a simple yakuza code of honor. He’s an intimidating figure in an outdated leisure suit, but if he sees a stranger having a bad day, he’s the first to do whatever he can to help. He’s a stand-up guy, and his good nature is always complimented by those he surrounds himself with, be it the reckless, young yakuza members he teaches manners to or good-natured detectives who help him out on his adventures.

The new characters and setting of Onomichi left an interesting and refreshing take on the series, showcasing a more rural, laidback lifestyle than the intense, fast paced way of life in Kamurucho. The newly created Dragon engine allows for the most emotive story visualization I’ve ever seen in a video game, with every last line in the game having full voice acting. The acting and the overall story is at the top of its class, but, as with every game since
Yakuza 2, there is no English voicing option, meaning you’re going to be doing a lot of reading. That could be a negative to some, but not to me, as I feel it adds to the tone and realism.

While the emotional, soap-opera-esque main story may not be what you’re looking for if you aren’t a fan of cinematic cutscenes (and this game has a LOT of them), you can still skip through them and get right to the gameplay, which is where the Yakuza party really kicks off. First off, the combat in this game is incredible. As you roam the streets of Kamuchuro and Hiroshima, you’re going to encounter thugs, Yakuza, triads, and more—all of whom will attack you when they spot you. And the fun really begins when they do. Using fighting game-styled combos, you punch, kick, and block your way through a crowd of yakuza, gaining enough energy to enter Extreme Heat Mode, which allows you to pull off some crazy, hyperviolent actions.

Aside from that, during fights you can find a plethora of items laying around, waiting for you to pick them up and bash some heads. There is nothing more pleasing than picking up a motorcycle and devastating your foes by swinging it around. In addition, Yakuza 6 ditches the skill tree of past games for a menu that allows you to upgrade your stats, battle moves, and other miscellaneous things that make you more proficient in other aspects of the game. These unlockables keep the game incredibly refreshing, transforming the gameplay towards the end.

One issue I found with the gameplay in Yakuza 6 in contrast to earlier games is that there are fewer crazy Heat Actions that you can perform. It’s still fun, but not as vibrant or wacky as past Yakuza games. The controls have been heavily simplified from previous games in the series and allow you to get more creative in your fights. This can be a negative if you’re a fan of the several movesets and fighting styles of Yakuza 0 and Yakuza Kiwami, but it’s a positive for a newcomer to the series to jump in and enjoy.

There are also a ton of sidequests and minigames that never fail to entertain. On your journey, you’re going to meet up with a ton of strange characters who make up for some great comic relief, with lines and quests that are written just as well as the core story. There’s also a social media app called “Troublr,” which allows Kiryu to pick up requests and help people out in different ways, from defusing a bomb to bringing napkins to somebody trapped in a toilet. There are so many small details in the game, such as the revamp of in-game vending machines, where you can buy beverages and drink them as you walk around, offering temporary stat boosts. You can eat at restaurants when you’re hungry, and earn experience points from just about anything you do.

When it comes to minigames, there are so many things to do it’ll make your head spin. In the middle of the game’s missions, you can take a break and go to batting cages, sing karaoke, go to hostess clubs, get involved in online chatrooms, compete in Pocket Circuit tournaments, play a trading card game that features anime women as insects, start a fitness regiment, or play darts and mahjong. You can even purchase and manage a goddamned cat cafe, where you find and befriend stray cats to take into your cafe for people to appreciate.

In addition, the Club Sega arcades that are a mainstay in downtown Tokyo have returned in this installment with more games than ever. You can play full arcade versions of games like Puyo Puyo, Space Harrier, OutRun, Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown, and Super Hang-On. If you have any friends to play with, Puyo Puyo and Virtua Fighter 5 are available to play in couch multiplayer. The inclusion of these games within Yakuza 6 is ultimately one of the most wonderful things I’ve seen in an open world game.

Aside from the fun things to do in town, there’s also a Clan Creator mode that flips the game’s format upside down with strategy RPG gameplay. You can build up your own gang, recruit new members, and grow in size to the point of taking down JUSTIS, a new gang in Japan with incredible size that causes trouble on the streets. The mechanics work perfectly, and it’s a refreshing break from the adrenaline filled, face-to-face fighting. Clan Creator mode is by far the most expansive minigame in the entire Yakuza series, with an online multiplayer component, an ARG hosted by SEGA, and several hours of content.

While the open world of Yakuza 6 may not even be a fraction of the size of a game like Grand Theft Auto V or Far Cry 5, the true charm of the game lies within the world’s absolutely perfect design. Kamurucho and Onomichi are fully realized, dense, breathing towns that take less than five minutes to run a circle around, but simultaneously can leave you distracted for hundreds of hours. While other games with massive, sprawling maps that might take hours to explore, the small areas of Yakuza 6 are completely packed with people, bars, restaurants, and tons of entertainment centers. Every building is different, every sidequest is brimming with originality and fun.

In my opinion, this is the most immersive game ever made. In every way, the game finds a way to put you in Kiryu’s shoes, from making friends at a bar to becoming a miniature car racing champion. I didn’t even know the game had a first person mode until much later, but you don’t even need it to feel like you’re connected to his world.

Visually, the game is stunning. You can see each individual pore in the characters’ faces, right down to visually accurate sweat and tear drops. The scenery is incredible looking and there is a true attention to detail in just about everything that you see with a wild amount of clarity. I personally would have preferred some more PlayStation 4 Pro options; the option to choose a higher framerate over a higher resolution would be nice. With some very minor issues with pop-in and aliasing aside, Yakuza 6 stands as one of the most visually impressive games I’ve ever played. I have no complaints about the music either; it adds to the intensity of any situation and impacts emotional scenes in the way it should.

Yakuza 6: The Song of Life is a great entry to the series, and it’s easily the most accessible. While it is the final entry in the series to feature Kiryu, you really don’t need to play previous entries to understand and enjoy it. While some gameplay elements have been streamlined and a few features were stripped from the decade old franchise, it doesn’t take away from the fun. Its new engine completely transforms the series into such a beautiful sight. The story is captivating to no end, with characters you can come to love, and the absolute roller-coaster of the final five chapters. You can beat the main story in twenty hours, or you could spend over one hundred getting distracted by the game’s well illustrated, complete, and vivid open world. If you’re a fan of crazy action games, exploring a world, or you just love a good cinematic experience in a video game, I cannot recommend this game enough to you.

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Our Verdict
Yakuza 6: The Song of Life
Blood pumping action, gorgeous graphics, entrancing story, and an unbelievable amount of side-quests and minigames.
Less Heat Actions than previous games in the series and fewer side-quests.
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Yakuza 6 Tops the Charts in Japan at Launch

The weekly software and hardware sales numbers from Japan are in, courtesy of Media Create, and there’s a new champion once again. Last week, Final Fantasy XV stole the crown from Pokémon Sun and Moon, and now Square Enix’s hit RPG has been bested by Yakuza 6. The latest entry in the Yakuza franchise sold over 218,00 copies in its debut week to claim the top spot. The Last Guardian debuted at number four, but it sold a fairly modest 82,260 copies.

In hardware, PlayStation 4’s numbers dropped by nearly 30,000 for the week, and combined 3DS sales (including the New Nintendo 3DS and 2DS lines) surged to over 100,000 for the week. PlayStation Vita sales got a slight bump, while Wii U’s numbers declined slightly. You can check out the full breakdown below.

Software Sales (followed by lifetime sales)

  1. [PS4] Yakuza 6: The Song of Life (Sega, 12/08/16) – 218,168 (New)
  2. [3DS] Pokemon Sun / Pokemon Moon (Nintendo, 11/18/16) – 190,101 (2,379,446)
  3. [3DS] Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS (Nintendo, 12/01/16) – 117,908 (280,088)
  4. [PS4] The Last Guardian (SIE, 12/06/16) – 82,260 (New)
  5. [PS4] Final Fantasy XV (Limited and Bundled Editions Included) (Square Enix, 11/29/16) – 79,792 (770,263)
  6. [3DS] Miitopia (Nintendo, 12/08/16) – 27,090 (New)
  7. [PS4] Watch Dogs 2 (Ubisoft, 12/01/16) – 17,835 (57,801)
  8. [3DS] Puyo Puyo Chronicle (Sega, 12/08/16) – 13,873 (New)
  9. [PSV] Minecraft: PlayStation Vita Edition (SIE, 03/19/15) – 12,505 (946,488)
  10. [3DS] Animal Crossing: New Leaf – Welcome Amiibo (Nintendo, 11/24/16) – 11,333 (38,159)
  11. [3DS] Mario Party: Star Rush (Nintendo, 10/20/16) – 10,460 (88,544)
  12. [Wii U] Minecraft: Wii U Edition (Mojang, 06/23/16) – 10,263 (199,413)
  13. [3DS] Sumikko Gurashi Mura wo Tsukurun Desu (Nippon Columbia, 07/21/16) – 8,744 (90,088)
  14. [3DS] Kunio-kun Nekketsu Complete Famicom Series (Arc System Works, 12/08/16) – 8,266 (New)
  15. [3DS] Kirby: Planet Robobot (Nintendo, 04/28/16) – 7,357 (485,844)
  16. [3DS] All Kamen Rider: Rider Revolution (Bandai Namco, 12/01/16) – 6,175 (29,484)
  17. [PS4] Touhou Shinpiroku: Urban Legend in Limbo (Sunfish, 04/28/16) – 6,058 (New)
  18. [PS4] Battlefield 1 (EA, 10/21/16) – 6,050 (220,422)
  19. [Wii U] Splatoon (Nintendo, 05/28/15) – 5,852 (1,507,565)
  20. [PSV] SD Gundam G Generation Genesis (Bandai Namco, 11/24/16) – 5,337 (103,773)

Hardware Sales (followed by last week’s sales)

  1. PlayStation 4 – 82,218 (110,318)
  2. New 3DS LL – 67,247 (53,414)
  3. 2DS – 33,439 (17,623)
  4. PlayStation Vita – 22,314 (20,141)
  5. New 3DS – 7,887 (7,432)
  6. PlayStation 4 Pro – 7,499 (8,032)
  7. Wii U – 4,656 (4,718)
  8. Xbox One – 1,245 (256)
  9. PlayStation 3 – 853 (704)
  10. 3DS – 314 (368)
  11. 3DS LL – 88 (92)

Source: 4Gamer (via Gematsu)

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News PlayStation 4 Trailers Videos

Yakuza 6: The Song of Life and Yakuza Kiwami Are Both Coming to the West

Yakuza 0 won’t be the only treat Western fans of the SEGA franchise will be seeing next year, as the PlayStation Experience today revealed that two more recent titles from the series will be arriving from overseas in the near future. Yakuza Kiwami—a remake of the original PlayStation 2 game—and the most recent entry, Yakuza 6: The Song of Life, are both confirmed to come West for Summer 2017 and early 2018 respectively.

The announcement came by way of a new teaser trailer that aired during Sony’s conference, which you can watch above. Are you looking forward to playing as yakuza legend Kazuma Kiryu in three new stories over the next two years? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!

Source: PlayStation Experience 2016 Showcase

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PSA: Yakuza 5 is Free for PlayStation Plus Members, and it’s Incredibly Fun

Last year saw the release of many fantastic RPGs, most notably
The Witcher 3 and Fallout 4. These games stand as two of the most successful open world RPGs of all time, and for good reason, too. With their incredibly realized worlds and top-notch gameplay, they will most likely be remembered for years to come. However, in a year filled to the brim with RPG goodness, one game skated by without so much as a second look from most gamers. Despite being very unique and perhaps even more ambitious than the two previously mentioned games, Yakuza 5 did not receive the same fanfare.

Now, that is not to say
Yakuza 5 is better than the other two games mentioned. All three are veritable masterpieces of the genre. Yet, when I look back on last year, I remember my time with Yakuza 5 much more fondly than other games. In fact, I would go so far as to name it my own personal game of the year. Unfortunately, the game went under quite a few radars despite receiving high praise, most likely because it was released on the PlayStation 3 instead of the now reigning PlayStation 4. Moreso, while The Witcher 3 and Fallout 4 can still be claimed as some of the most popular games to purchase right now, Yakuza 5 saw sales charts only once as the fifth most downloaded PlayStation 3 game on PSN in the month of December, forever falling into obscurity afterwards.

This August marks a special occasion for the game, however.
Yakuza 5 is currently free to play for all PlayStation Plus members. As you might expect, I highly encourage you all to go and download it right now if you can. However, I imagine those of you reading need a little more than just my word to check this game out, so I would like to share a few of my thoughts on this awesome game.

Yakuza 5 continues the chronicles of Kazuma Kiryu, the ex-fourth chairman of the Dojima Family, a sect of the fictitious Yakuza group known as the Tojo Clan. The overarching story follows the Tojo clan as it seeks out alliances with other Yakuza clans across Japan, an effort that the five main characters slowly find themselves drawn into for different reasons. Each character’s chapter plays out as if it were its own separate story, with lots of little things that connect them; anything from an unsolved murder to a common love for baseball will bring these characters together. Despite the simplicity of the story, how each chapter weaves into the final moments of the game is nothing short of masterful and mesmerizing.

Even with these intricacies, new players to the series do not need to worry. Perhaps one of the most endearing qualities of
Yakuza 5 is that it does not require you to have any prior experience with the series. Of the five playable characters in the game, some with decades of back story, every single one of them feels like a fresh experience. The game even begins with Kiryu living incognito as a cab driver for no immediately apparent reason, and players are still given enough context that most, if not all story beats are easy to pick up on.

What’s more, even if the story does not interest you, the world it is based in most likely will. The game is massive, featuring at least one hub world for each character to explore. Within each hub, players can do a variety of things, including putting on their best foodie impression to learn new abilities by eating food, or even take a stroll to a fully-functioning Sega arcade. No joke! If you want to play
Virtua Fighter and then collect a few plush toys in a UFO Catcher, Yakuza 5 has you covered.

The previously mentioned five characters each have their own big, personal side quest for players to take part in. Kiryu can go racing in his cab in order to get revenge on some mean-spirited highway thugs, while players using Taiga Saejima can travel to the mountains of Japan and hunt legendary bears in possibly the most JRPG of hunting simulators ever conceived. You can even become Japan’s next big idol by participating in rhythm-based minigames and dance battles as Haruka Sawamura. This game pretty much has it all.

As far as the play style, Yakuza 5 is a brutally violent, wacky, and over-the-top open world brawler with an emphasis on leveling up and learning new abilities. The core mechanics behind the game are near-perfect in execution; the controls are intuitive, yet they make you feel powerful with each weighty punch. Leveling up is worthwhile in all regards as each level often comes with enough skill points to learn a new finisher, which are what make combat not only fun to play, but also fun to watch too.

As great as the combat and progression is, it is often the context of each situation that makes
Yakuza truly fantastic. At one moment, you may be ripping someone’s teeth out with a pair of pliers or dragging their face through the concrete; the next, you may be blogging on your early-2000’s flip phone about some guy whom you just saw perform an array of dazzling tricks on a moped while delivering pizza. That pizza delivery guy also taught you how to suplex someone for some reason. Each moment is memorable, making your adventure through Yakuza well worth your time.

With this, it brings us back to how
Yakuza 5 is (basically) free right now. Even if the game were not free, like for those who do not have PlayStation Plus, I would still recommend checking out this game. At just $39.99, it is absolutely worth the price of admission. Be it a solid combat system, an awesomely huge world, or just all the crazy happenings, there is something in Yakuza 5 for just about everyone.

Will you be downloading
Yakuza 5? If you already have, what is your favorite part of the game? Let us know in the comments below!

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Yakuza 0 Launches in the West on January 24, 2017

Yakuza fans have already gotten one treat today, with the reveal that Yakuza 5 will be free for PS3 PlayStation Plus members next month, but there’s another Yakuza game that few of them will have gotten a chance to play thus far: Yakuza 0, a prequel game that Japan got in March of 2015. We got confirmation of the game’s localization back in the 2015 PlayStation Experience, but now SEGA has finally penciled in a solid release date for the title: January 24th. It will launch in the Americas and Europe as a PlayStation 4 exclusive (sorry, my fellow PS3 owners), and you can go ahead and preorder it at Amazon or GameStop.

Are you a fan of the
Yakuza franchise? Even if you’re not, are you interested in checking out this prequel game? Let us know in the comments!

Source: IGN

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Yakuza 0’s New Trailer Shows Off Stylish Combat and Disco Moves

The Yakuza series is often known for its awesome, deep crime drama mixed with over-the-top gameplay, and it looks as though Yakuza 0, a prequel to the whole series, will not fail to deliver. SEGA’s newest trailer for the upcoming JRPG Brawler is entirely focused on the finer points of beating people within an inch of their life using nothing but bike tires and umbrellas. Beyond that, the trailer shows off a few of the mini-games that will be available in the final game, including a weird, grid-based disco game where series protagonist Kazuma Kiryu does the monkey. All-in-all, it is your typical Yakuza fair.

No release date is slated yet, but
Yakuza 0 is slated to come out sometime in early 2017 for the PlayStation 4. It’s not much, but at least we’re getting it!

Are you excited for
Yakuza 0? How do you think that disco game works? Let us know in the comments below!

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Yakuza 0 is Coming to the West Next Year

Yakuza 0, a prequel to the popular franchise, launched in Japan in March, but there was no word on a Western release. That changed during the PlayStation Experience, as Sony announced that the game is headed to the West next year on PlayStation 4. No other details were made available at this time, but a new trailer was released, and you can check it out by clicking above.

Source: PlayStation Experience

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Japanese Developer Says a Game Company Kidnapped His Sister to Stop Him Working With Nintendo

“My younger sister was kidnapped,” recalls a Japanese game developer disguising his identity under the alias Hideo Nanashi. “[REDACTED] hired some gangsters to do it. They did it to make me stop cooperating with Nintendo.” Coming from the book The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers Volume 2 by John Szczepaniak, this shocking anecdote shines a light on the dirty practices some Japanese video game companies resorted to in the early decades of the industry. To understand the story, it’s key to know the situation game companies found themselves in during this era.

Nanashi explains:

“In Japan, you have these evil companies that always crop up, and unlike the West, in Japan there’s a perception that “play” is bad, the opposite of hard work. So amusement-oriented industries inevitably become infested with evil companies and ties to the underworld. Take arcades, for example. In legal terms, they’re covered under laws regarding the entertainment and amusement trades. So they’re managed under the same laws that regulate the adult, or “pink”, industry. Because of that, the underworld gets involved. The only companies that have been able to do business while staying clean are probably Nintendo and Namco.” — Hideo Nanashi

These evil underworld companies Nanashi mentions refer to none other than Japan’s infamous Yakuza crime syndicates. Following the kidnapping, Nanashi retaliated by destroying an arcade cabinet of one of the games made by the developer that had his sister kidnapped. He had the machine dropped off in front of the company’s headquarters by a truck-mounted crane to leave them the message.

“It was one of their game machines. I dropped it in front of their offices, smashed it. And I told them that one of their employees would be next. To show them that I was serious. That way they would feel ashamed of their actions, you know? It was easy for me to get a [REDACTED] arcade cabinet cheaply, so I bought one from a distributor. I thought about robbing a [REDACTED] arcade, too, but that’s much more difficult, and that would make me a criminal. With what I ended up doing, I could have been charged with something like unlawful dumping of garbage, but that’s a minor offence. Whereas if I had robbed a [REDACTED] arcade, I would have been arrested. [REDACTED] was well-versed in using the underworld to get what they want, so if you’re going up against them, you have to be smart. They’re a big company, so if you try to fight them with ordinary methods, they’ll work with the police and get the legal system to come after you. They might even pay off a politician, like a member of the National Diet. Who knows what they’re capable of?

“I just smashed it in front of their main office in the middle of the night. It was easy. The [REDACTED] headquarters are in [REDACTED] now, but back then they were near [REDACTED] Airport. Their office building was right in front of a major street, in a commercial district without any residential homes.

“…I didn’t dump it myself. I had someone else do it, because I don’t have a driver’s license. I had him just drop the machine and dump it, so I don’t know how damaged it was, but I assume it smashed apart. And then I sent [REDACTED] a letter.” — Hideo Nanashi

In conclusion, Nanashi mentions that karma eventually caught up to the company in question when, in 2000, they lost a lot of business during backlash against them for operating “isolation rooms.” This practice involved keeping employees in isolated offices with nothing to do until they were forced to resign from their positions.

Source: The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers Volume 2 (via Nintendo Life)

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You Can Get Yakuza 5 for $33.99 When You Preorder Digitally

If you plan on purchasing Yakuza 5 in the near future, you may want to take advantage of this sweet offer. According to the latest update from the PlayStation Store, you can purchase Yakuza 5 for $33.99 when you digitally preorder the game. If you do not preorder the game, you will have to pay the full price of $39.99. As of this article, Yakuza 5 still has a placeholder date of December 31, 2015.

While it is unfortunate that Yakuza 5 will only be released digitally, you can’t go wrong with that price. Considering the western version of Yakuza 5 will include all of the DLC, $33.99 sounds like a great deal. Do you plan on picking up Yakuza 5 when it comes out? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: PlayStation Store

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Yakuza 5 Will Be Released This Fall

After the release date for Yakuza 5 was pushed back, many fans were wondering when the sequel would be coming westward. Fortunately, the wait for Yakuza 5 will not be much longer. According to Yakuza‘s official website, Yakuza 5 is scheduled to be released this Fall for the PlayStation 3 via PSN. Yakuza 5 will continue where Yakuza 4 left off with Kazuma going into hiding by changing his name to Suzuki Taichi and becoming a taxi driver in Fukuoka.

I have waited quite a while for the sequel to Yakuza 4, and I’m happy that we finally have a more concrete release window. It’s a bit unfortunate that Yakuza 5 will only be coming out digitally for the PlayStation 3, but I guess beggars can’t be choosers. How many of you plan on picking up Yakuza 5? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Yakuza Website

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Here’s an Hour of Yakuza Zero Footage

The Yakuza franchise has offered gamers a lot across its entries in the series, and it will continue to offer more of its Japanese crime drama and Grand Theft Auto-like appeal. Yakuza Zero will be the latest entry in the franchise, and the hour long video above displays more of the gritty drama and atmosphere we have come to expect from the series in a gorgeous 1080p definition and at a lucid 60 frames per second.

The video is in full Japanese, but don’t fret because it is still pretty easy to follow with the visual representation alone. The North American release is yet to be announced, though it is set to release in Japan this spring on both PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3. Given that many entries have come to North America in the past, there is a good possibility Yakuza Zero will as well, but we can only wait with high hopes for now.

Do you wish to see
Yakuza Zero hit North America? What are your reactions about the video? Let us know in the comments below!

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Yakuza 5 Confirmed for North American Launch on PS3

Yakuza 5 launched two years ago in Japan. Many had given up hope of a Western release, but it was announced today during the PlayStation Experience that Yakuza 5 will launch on PlayStation 3 in North America in 2015. Additionally, Yakuza 4 and Yakuza Dead Souls are both available today. Check out a trailer by clicking above!

Source: The PlayStation Experience

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Yakuza Producer Calls PS4 Performance “Almost Ten Times Higher” Than PS3

Toshihiro Nagoshi, the producer of the Yakuza series, was at a stage event during the Taipei Game Show when he called the performance of the PlayStation 4 “almost ten times higher” than that of its predecessor, the PlayStation 3. Nagoshi claims “there’s a big difference in graphics” between the two, that the effects on PlayStation 4 are “beautiful,” and that “Battles in particular have become smoother.”

Apparently, this increase in power caused a bit of worry from the producer as it made the decision of how far to push the PlayStation 4 version of Yakuza Ishin‘s visual a bit more complicated, requiring a balance of budget and graphical fidelity.

“Comparing the PS4 to the PS3, performance is almost ten times higher. There’s a big difference in graphics and effects are also beautiful. Battles in particular have become smoother.”
— Toshihiro Nagoshi

It’s statements like this that make me question exactly what the hell some of our rhetoric with regards to the power of consoles actually means. He says “almost ten times higher,” but I’m certain our games won’t actually look ten times better, so what exactly does that number mean to us? Do people just calculate those numbers based on specific pieces of the hardware or what? I’d really like to know exactly what “almost ten times higher” means before I form my opinion on the statistic.

Source: Game Watch via DualShockers

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News PlayStation 3 PlayStation 4 PlayStation Vita

Yakuza Ishin Announced For PlayStation 4 In Japan

At yesterday’s press conference, Sony announced that a new addition to the Yakuza series, Yakuza Ishin, will a PlayStation 4 launch title in Japan, to be released February 22, 2014. It will also be available on the PlayStation 3 and the PlayStation Vita. It is unclear, however, if the game will have a western release.

Yakuza Ishin is set to take place during feudal Japan’s Edo period, which took place from 1603 to 1868. It will be the eighth installment in the Yakuza series.

So, would you like to see Yakuza Ishin with a western release date? Make sure you check out the trailer and let us know what you think!

Source: IGN

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News

Sega Announces Yakuza Restoration

Sega has just announced the next entry in the Yakuza franchise, and it follows the increasingly amusing trend of AAA sequels getting subtitles beginning with the letter ‘R.’ For what will almost definitely turn out to be no reason, the newest entry in the this series is to be called Yakuza Restoration (two ‘R’s, hmm). Details are scarce as of yet save for a single piece of concept art, but Sega promises that they’ll reveal more regarding Restoration in next month’s issue of Famitsu.

As an “experiment,” Sega recently developed and released an HD collection for the Yakuza series, Yakuza 1 & 2 HD Edition, on Wii U, and assuming that “experiment” had anything at all to do with how well Yakuza titles would sell on Nintendo’s struggling console, the experiment was a failure. Given just how poorly Yakuza 1 & 2 HD sold on Wii U and that Yakuza has traditionally been a Sony exclusive franchise, I advise Nintendo fans to not get their hopes up with regards to a Wii U port of Restoration.

Source: Siliconera

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News Wii U

Updated: Yakuza HD REALLY Failed To Meet Expectations

Update: Yesterday we learned that Yakuza 1 & 2 HD for Wii U failed to enter the top 20 in Japan, but now we know that it didn’t even make it into the top 50 in software sales. That means it sold fewer than 1,878 units in total. Ouch.


Original Post: Tsutaya, one of the largest retailers in Japan, releases weekly sales charts which tend to be accurate in predicting what other sales charts might look like. In other words, because there are so many Tsutaya stores in Japan, their top ten charts are most likely going to look the same as other sales charts.

Yakuza 1 & 2 HD was recently released for the Wii U and claimed the “failure of the week” trophy according to last week’s top ten chart. Unfortunately, the HD remake did not even make the cut for the top 20 list. It was believed that bringing an HD remake would increase Wii U sales, however it’s clear that was not the case.

Simply, Yakuza 1 & 2 HD is a remake of PlayStation 2 games that were actually already on the PlayStation 3, and it might be hard to believe that individuals would go out and buy the HD remake just for the additional GamePad feature. Of course, I might just be crazy and this HD remake will do much better as time passes. What do you think? Would you buy a Wii U for Yakuza 1 & 2 HD? Leave a comment down below!

Source: DualShockers

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News Videos Wii U

One Hour of Yakuza 1 & 2 HD Edition Gameplay

The Yakuza 1 & 2 HD Edition that is being released on the Wii U this summer is drumming up a lot of interest from Wii U owners. This will be the first time that Yakuza will be playable on a non-Sony console, and shows how close Sega (the game’s producer) and Nintendo are. Sega is giving Nintendo a lot of support this year, with this game and the twin Sonic Lost World games being Nintendo exclusives, showing one third party that still likes Nintendo’s consoles.

The game is currently only announced for Japan, and the demo footage showing gameplay is from the Japanese Wii U demo of the game. It is unknown whether or not this game will see a Western release, especially as other versions and releases, such as a PlayStation 3 port for the original Yakuza, have only been available in Japan. Only time will tell if this game will see Western shores. The gameplay footage can be viewed above.

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Columns PlayStation 3 Reviews Xbox 360

Sleeping Dogs Review

Making a video game is tough. Besides the tedious process of coming up with a game pitch and design document to make said game, there is also the financial side, scheduling how long it will take to make, testing plans, technical stuff, you get the idea. A great deal goes into a game more than the normal person would think. Sometimes, the game might be in a beta form, and due to complicated reasons, get canceled. This can happen a lot in a game’s life span.

For example, today’s review is of the Hong Kong free-roaming crime game, Sleeping Dogs. It was in development, but then canceled. However, it was later picked up by Square Enix to be finished, and of course released to the public. Usually when stuff like this happens, the product gets screwed in quality, but this one seemed to be in the good quality zone. Let’s take a look at this seedy Hong Kong crime game known again as Sleeping Dogs.

The story has you play as Wei Shen, voiced by Will Yun Lee. He is an undercover cop who has come back to Hong Kong to take care of the crime that has plagued the busy city. Along
the way, you will meet different characters, such as your police handler, Mak, voiced by Byron Mann, Police Inspector Pendrew, voiced by Tom Wilkinson, Amanda Cartwright, voiced by Emma Stone, Vivenne Lu, voiced by Lucy Liu, her husband and triad boss Winston, voiced by Parry Shen, and other mob bosses and criminals.

The story can be good, with some interesting and intense moments from here and there, but when you look at other games that cover the Asian crime syndicates like Yakuza, this one just doesn’t compare. However, Sleeping Dog’s story is entertaining and will keep you invested throughout most of the story.

The gameplay of Sleeping Dogs is a mix of hand-to-hand combat, gunplay, racing, and free-roaming a la GTA. The whole city of Hong Kong is your playground, and while it isn’t as over the top as say, Saint Rows and Grand Theft Auto, there is still a good amount of things to do, from street racing and thug fighting, to cock fighting, just to name a few.

Melee combat is handled like Batman Arkham Asylum and City, where it goes for that free-flowing combat and simple combo’s. There are a few added mechanics, like environmental kills and weapons, but it plays very similarly to the Batman Arkham games.

The player can also gain outfits to give him different perks, like more experience for thug activities or police activities. Driving around is your usual driving game stuff, choosing what car fits your mood and how one is stronger than the other in speed. The gunplay is some of your typical third-person shooting with cover systems, but there is a bit of Max Payne thrown into the ring with the ability to slow down time after you jump from cover.

Adittionally, there are jade statues to collect, and if you take them to a martial arts master, you will be able to learn new martial arts moves. There are also small shrines around Hong Kong that will increase your perks. You have a lot on your plate to play with in Sleeping Dogs, due to it being an open world game and such.

You have about 30 or so hours, and while there is no multiplayer, you can still go around being a completionist if you want. Oh, there is also a lot of DLC that just adds even more replay value to this already expansive game.

Graphically speaking, this isn’t Uncharted 3 or Final Fantasy XIII good, but due to this game going through a bit of development hell, it looks better than say, Duke Nukem Forever. The models on a lot of the characters are great, but can sometimes come off lifeless looking. The city is well set up though, and it’s definitely
very lively. I also love the soundtrack to the game. Sure, the normal tunes are good, but the soundtrack they made with actual bands really help you fit into the hustle and bustle vibe that Hong Kong offers.

The voice acting is solid, and while the characters may not have full-on facial animation or life in their character models, the voice work done by the actors brings them alive to a certain degree. They even got some big time celebrities like Emma Stone in this game’s voice cast.

So, what is wrong with this game? Well, even though I shouldn’t be surprised, this game couldn’t have been all that other people and I wanted it to be, due to its development time. I just wish they could have taken a more over-the-top style with this game. When you see Saint Rows 2, that game just pull out all the stops to bring in the ultimate sandbox gaming experience, and this game didn’t.

There are these cool fast-paced chase sequences, but they don’t break up the boring parts of the game, like the required-to-win first place street race police mission, etc. If it kept its momentum throughout the entire game, I think it would have made itself unique. I also feel like the character models could have had more life put into their animation. They come off as plastic mannequins. These aren’t the worst graphics ever, but United Front Games could have developed this game for a few more months and it would have been so much better.

The Verdict: Maybe They Should Have Stayed Asleep

Overall, Sleeping Dogs is not a bad game, but it is disappointing. I know I shouldn’t have expected this game to be game of the year back in 2012 due to its development hell, but I know there could have been a lot more. I could easily recommend this game when it hits the 20-30 dollar mark since it is one of the better games of 2012, but until then, it’s better to let Sleeping Dogs lie.

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5
Our Verdict
Sleeping Dogs
Solid sandbox exploration, pretty good voice cast, good amount of things to do,
Graphics could have been more polished, game gets a little boring losing its fast paced momentum, not all of the characters are interesting enough to care about, Just a whole lot of wasted potential to be unique and fresh in the sandbox game market