This week I had hoped to review Superhot, with a presumably quite short campaign. Unfortunately the game was borderline unplayable at launch for me. The issues, strangely more common for higher end PC:s, seem to have been addressed in the latest patch though. So I will soon return to that interesting looking shooter where time only moves when the player character moves. As with Firewatch and The Witness a lot of the discussion has revolved around the pricing that some feel is too high. Personally, I think that these particular games are or appear to be worth their €20-37 price tags. Many of us now older gamers simply quite understandably do not have the time or want to bother investing countless hours on the fluff we often see in games as Fallout 4, Metal Gear Solid V, Assassin’s Creed etc. Even The Witness will probably have it’s fair share of players experience some fatigue. What truly matters for me in the end is that many of my favourite games in later years have been more condensed experiences, such as The Swapper, Her Story or Gone Home. I for one still feel that there are far more games that overstay their welcome than those that I truly wish would give me more.
Instead I have kept cleaning up the scum of the streets of various cities in Japan in Yakuza 5. As was my plan I keep enjoying this one slowly as if it was my final bottle of great wine (metaphor does not really work any more as more Yakuza-games now are confirmed to be localized for PS4, but you get the idea). I have finished two and a half parts out of supposedly four or five. This is a beast that could have been split up naturally into 3-4 separate games or a have an enormous list of DLC. Instead the game is severely under-priced at roughly €36, with an average playtime of almost 60 freaking hours! Yakuza 5 is in my opinion one of Sega’s best and obviously most proud moments since Valkyria Chronicles. There are tonnes of mini-games that pay homage in a great way to the developer’s classic hits such as Daytona USA, Crazy Taxi, Virtua Fighter and much more. Stuff that will probably be left unnoticed by most players that will nevertheless get an amazing package.
The first part features the main protagonist Kazuma Kiryu, I mentioned this part more here and here. The second part features convict Saejima Taiga, a brute in his fighting style and mini-games focused on hunting game. Far more slow than part 1 and my least favourite as of yet. Because the first half of part 3 features protagonist-newcomer, as well as Kazuma’s step daughter, Haruka Sawamura. The second half features Shun Akiyama, a money-lending, fast-kicking fan-favourite from Yakuza 4. I have just barely scratched the surface of Akiyama’s part so instead I will focus on Haruka. I would have hoped that Haruka would show off some serious ass-kicking-skills as well, being after all raised by the Dragon of Dojima himself. As predicted though, the girl’s story is instead laid out as a quest to become a pop-idol through pink, heart-cluttered dancing mini-games. It is blatant, but I still love it! Two things first; 1. it injects the well-established formula in Yakuza with new gameplay features and 2. some of the npc:s are not half-bad and the story is surprisingly interesting with some unexpected twists. I used to be a sucker for rhythm games in the hay days of the Nintendo DS portable. Games as Ouendan!, Taiko no Tatsujin (featured as a mini game) and Rhythm Tengoku. Most of Haruka’s different mini-games are exactly this as she battles other dancers on the street or sing on larger stages. As I have written before it is very sad that Yakuza 5 is a PS3-exclusive in this day and age. At the price tag it is a true steal and I would gladly re-buy the entire series on PC if they just offer a 60fps enhancement.
About time to round-up for today. Some new Shenmue III concept footage was shown in Monaco a few days ago. Still hard to say something with substance from it but it seems all right given that it is still in it’s early days of development. I will gladly accept the game having a substantially smaller scope than Yakuza 5, that’s for sure. Among the upcoming games the buzz is likely to shift towards Dark Souls 3 and Uncharted 4, non of which I will play. Instead I will possibly take a look at Adrift at the end of March. Otherwise it will be Superhot, Yakuza 5 and then possibly dig back in to my backlog. Prime candidates from there would be Shadow Complex, Ori and the Blind Forest and the all too lovely Cities: Skylines. Until next time!