SEGA Venture: Yakuza 3 [Part 2/3]

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SEGA Ventures is a series at The SEGA Source where one of the members plays through a SEGA game that is longer than just a few hours long, giving a summary of our thoughts along the way in a three part set of articles, a diary of sorts. This time we will be sitting down with Yakuza 3 on the PlayStation 3.

Warning: This article contains spoilers for the story and settings of Yakuza 3 and minor spoilers for the prequels. Stop reading now if you do not want to know what happens.segaventures

Kamurocho Lullaby

Just as soon as Kazuma Kiryu returns to Kamurocho, he sees yakuza activity going on in front of Stardust, a popular host club, run by two of his good friends, Yuya and Kazuki. Upon entering the establishment he finds Hasebe, a Nishki family lieutenant trying to buy the building off of them. Things turn violent and Hasebe and his goons run off with their tails between their legs. What I really loved about this section was a brilliant remix of Intelligence for Violence from the first Yakuza game.

However, Hasebe mentioned to Kiryu that Kashiwagi’s life was in danger. He is the only one who knows of Daigo’s location, making him an incredibly likely candidate for anyone who is planning on replacing Daigo as the chairman of the Tojo Clan, whether it be be part of the Nishki family, Hamazaki family, or someone else within the Tojo Clan.

Due to the commotion at Stardust, the police begin to swarm the area. Kazuma realizes Kashiwagi is in great danger, so he ignores this and attempts to sneak by them to get to the Millennium Tower. Along the way he meets with “Mysterious Foreigners” who try to kill them. As they do not speak Japanese, Kazuma has no idea who they could be, which only makes everything make less sense to him, but adding wonderful suspense to the plot.

When Kazuma finally catches up with Kashiwagi, much is discussed, but nothing is revealed, making matters worse, the building is attacked from the outside by a helicopter, leaving Kashiwagi dead and the police only pulling a tighter grip on Kamurocho as a whole.

Things only get worse when Rikiya shows up to try and help. Now Kazuma has to worry about what could happen to him, along with all of what is starting within the Tojo Clan.

Kanda!

Kanda of the Nishki family is the first one that makes it obvious he is out to replace Kiryu as the Chairman of the Tojo Clan. He is a hilariously dim witted mobster who seems overly menacing due to his size (the first law of the Yakuza series is watch out for the fat guys!), but slowly becomes so pathetic that it is cute. He had never met Kazuma before as he was in jail for sexual assault charges for years, which you later find out are just him having a fetish for kidnapping then giving rough massages to women without their consent.

This scene could easily be seen as the most poorly constructed place in the game so far, with all of the tight corners you have to fight in through a maze-like hotel while trying to find Kanda, who is trying to get away from you. I really loved all of this though, I can understand people rolling their eyes at the fat guys who protect sets of stairs with large couches they swing around that also clip through the walls, but I was smiling the whole time. In a world where many of the biggest games around require incredibly realistic behaviors, I found this hilariously fun and heart warming. The fight with Kanda was even more enjoyable for me. I just really loved everything about this fight, everything from the giant stone discs he rips from the side of the room to the finisher on the spinning bed.

Mad Dog Majima

Date, Kazuma’s friend since the first game who has turned in his detective’s days for a life of reporting gives details to Kazuma on the men who hope to rid of both Daigo and Kazuma to claim the Tojo Clan as their own throughout the game. By chapter 7, it is discovered that Majima’s construction company is involved in with the deal to buy the land that Kazuma’s orphanage rests on. This news is a major blow to him, as he had trusted Majima years ago to take care of the Tojo Clan while he was gone.

Majima is a very close friend to Kazuma. He is a fan favorite character for being a complete maniac who goes by his own rules, but always gets what he needs accomplished, even if it is by the strangest means possible.

When he catches up with him, Majima states that he will only tell him what is going on if he wins at a fair fight in the steel cage locked down in Purgatory, easily one of the most visited areas in the series. After you win, he spills how Hamazaki is the most likely candidate for whomever is behind shooting Daigo and Nakahara. To make matters worse, with Kanda out of the way, it is easier for him to become the next chairman of the Tojo Clan and it all pieces together to make it seem like Hamazaki had this all planned from the start.

Men And Plots

It is then revealed that the Chinese Snake Flower Triads are involved with the Hamazaki Family. Lead by Lau Ka Long, who already had a major hatred for Kazuma from the first game… He was more than happy to kidnap Rikiya in this case.

All of Kamurocho is covered with the Snake Flower Triad, reminding me just how much like Streets of Rage the series really is. Lau Ka Long fights dirty, with three different stages of weapons he brings out, in the traditional JRPG way of the boss getting progressively harder.

Once he is taken down, he and the rest of his goons are all shot by the mysterious man that is the spitting image of Kazuma’s father, Fuma. Even Lau was surprised to see someone they all assumed had been dead for years.

No clues are answered when Kazuma shouts to him asking who he is and why he would shoot Daigo and Nakahara other than “So you are Kazuma Kiryu…”. What other twists can this game hold?

So this is Club SEGA…?

One of the Yakuza series’ biggest draws has to be the amount of content they hold, everything from great stories, to fast and fun combat to dozens of minigames of all kinds. Everything from casino gambling to golf to karaoke can be found here.

While I think they have missed out on the chance to add some really fun classic SEGA games like Shenmue had, the Yakuza series does a very good job regardless. Anyone who knows me personally knows just how big of a Super Monkey Ball fan I am, and as Nagoshi was the creator of both this and that series, many of the assets and play concepts are shared, so it was really easy for me to get into stuff like the bowling and billiards games. It just has a wonderful amount of a little bit of everything to keep anyone interested for many hours after the game is completed.

But that is really not even just half of the fun that this series is known for, especially with how wacky the games can be. While the main plot is very serious, many other elements found within the game had me laughing until I was physically ill, but more on that will be covered in the next part of this article.

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Join us next time as we discuss my favorite features of Yakuza 3, along with finally completing the story and solving every mystery left in the twisted world.

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