Though the game may not be released outside of Japan given the recent financial struggles of Sega, we as gamers can still get excited for Yakuza 5. The fifth core entry in the Yakuza series isn’t giving us another by the numbers tale of gangster action combined with a bit of silliness as the game is instead going for a broader scope that in a lot of ways is surprising.
Over the last few weeks we’ve learned about some of the core details of Yakuza 5 such as the five playable characters and the five cities we can explore. Those details alone revealed quite a bit about the project but now we have our first look at two new gameplay mechanics being introduced in the series: dancing and hunting. Yes, we can both channel our inner big buck hunter as well as the inner J-pop idol that rests deep within us all as Yakuza 5 is shaking things up a bit.
While the game won’t forgo its traditional format of allowing us to explore shady downtown areas and beat people up, the developers over at Team Yakuza have decided to slightly mix things up. When playing as the ever serious and slightly somber Taiga Saejima, gamers will actually be able to hunt in an environment that is shockingly devoid of ramen shops and hostess clubs. As you can see in the screen below, these hunting sections will sport a rather realistic look but the big question remains as to whether sections are truly important in the long run and more importantly if they’re fun to play.
If shooting animals in the snowy mountains of Japan isn’t your thing, then maybe playing as a teenage girl who want to be a pop idol is. Ok, so maybe such a thing may be limited to those who love pop music or simply want to be a cute and bubbly Japanese girl, but it does look like Team Yakuza has put some thought into said wannabe pop singer segments. For the sections dedicated to Haruka, gamers will partake in some singing and dancing action that of course requires us to press buttons in a hectic and rthymic sort of way.
It seems like Team Yakuza has put a tremendous amount of thought into Haruka’s sections as besides the rhythm mini-games gamers will also have to do their best to make her look good on various programs and events. I guess Team Yakuza may have been influenced a bit by the countless hostess contests they’ve held over the years since Haruka does seem pretty grounded compared to other elements of the game. And before anyone asks, no there isn’t a casting couch segment for Haruka in the game as that would just be flat out creepy.
This direction for Yakuza 5 may seem odd, but honestly I think it’s better than simply having the same game merely with a new story thrown in. As long as Team Yakuza provides a level of control that’s acceptable in these new game segments then I’m all for it. But of course the question still remains if gamers in Japan will ever be able to experience Yakuza 5 seeing as how Sega only plans to release core game properties, of which the Yakuza series wouldn’t fall under in the West.
Yakuza 5 will be released in Japan later this year and will likely make a huge splash at the Tokyo Game Show this September.