Yakuza Review Yakuza 3

Illustration for article titled Yakuza Review Yakuza 3

There's a terrific feature over at BoingBoing in which writer Jake Adelstein plays Sega game Yakuza 3 with three real-life members of the Yakuza. I have selected two wonderful excerpts.

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The set-up of the article is that Adelstein lets three guys from the real-life Yakuza in Japan try the game. They certainly don't play through it. But they sample it, talk about it and judge it.

In the first excerpt, the three Yakuza, none using their real names in the piece, discuss the authenticity of the depiction of Yakuza. For context, know that the protagonist is Kazuma Kiryu, who spends much of the games in this series interacting with other members of the Yakuza and beating a lot of guys up on the streets of Tokyo. In Yakuza 3, he also spends some time distancing himself from his Yakuza past by running an orphanage in Okinawa:

M: The corporate yakuza guys get a thumbs up for realism. Nice suit. Smart. Financially savvy. Obsessed with money. Sneaky and conniving. Ruthless.
S: There are a lot of guys whom I feel like I know. The dialogue is right too. They sound like yakuza.
K: Braggarts, bullies, and sweet-talkers. I agree - it feels like I know the guys on the screen.
M: Kiryu is the way yakuza used to be. We kept the streets clean. People liked us. We didn't bother ordinary citizens. We respected our bosses. Now, guys like that only exist in video games.
S: I don't know any ex-yakuza running orphanages.
K: There was one a few years ago. A good guy.
M: You sure it wasn't just a tax shelter?
K: Sure it was a tax shelter but he ran it like a legitimate thing. You know.

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The other excerpt is from Adelstein's conclusion, which refers to cuts made by the game for its U.S. release, cuts we covered here extensively:

Ironically, the sections that Shirokawa seemed to enjoy the most were cut out of the US version: mahjong, the sexual massage parlor, and the hostess clubs. After I explain to him what Sega cut from the US version, he said: アメリカ版を買った奴がかわいそうだ。セガUSAが最低だね.(Translation: I feel sorry for the people who bought the American version. SEGA USA sucks.)

That's a taste of the article. Read the whole thing.

Yakuza 3 Played, reviewed and fact-checked. With the Yakuza. [BoingBoing]

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DISCUSSION

bubbleman--will-buy-a-ps-vita-old
Bubbleman! Will buy a PS Vita for NHL 13 or Gundam Extreme VS, so make it reality!

There has been this whole "anti-Japan" mentality that has sparked up over the course of this console gen.

Anime used to be a cool thing, that even non-nerds thought was dope. JRPGs were the most popular genre in gaming just 10 years ago when stores were begging and pleading to get more stock of Final Fantasy X.

What happened? I'll tell you what. The current generation of teenagers are ignorant. They've been raised to be ignorant to anything that doesn't make them look cool or acceptable to their friends. If it isn't a FPS or sports game or some shitty Hollywood-wannabe like Uncharted, it's crap in their eyes.

There was no reason for SEGA to remove those features from the game. ESPECIALLY when stuff like GTA, Mass Effect and Dragon Age is out there. It's because videogame companies are trying to hide the "japanese-ish" elements from games they localize from Japan.

It needs to stop. Just look at Square Enix. Instead of getting 2 nice, melodic JPOP songs (albeit cookie cutter) in FF XIII, we got some shitty Whitney Houston sounding R&B tunes that didn't fit the scenery musically.

And then there's Nier..