SEGA Venture: Yakuza 3 [Part 3/3]

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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

Oui oui!

The Yakuza series has become one of my favorite SEGA franchises of all time, and for so many reasons, too! The plots, setting and characters are great and the battle system is awesome, but my favorite elements are easily the comedic value of everything. It is one of the very rare groups of games that is consistently hilarious throughout and this is no different in Yakuza 3.

Firstly are the optional substories that are always top notch in every release. These can be anything from solving a mystery around town, helping someone in a specific way or searching for specific items or people. With over 100, and with each being unique in their own right, there is arguably a full game here just on this content alone.

Some of my favorites are lighthearted moments based on characters being overly macho or overly perverted. One of the more memorable ones has an extremely buff man in drag chasing after Kazuma. This was literally one of the only times in the franchise where he has been scared. In the end he gets him and his girlfriend – a drag king – back together.

Even better is how many of these connect with the plots of previous releases, like how one substory has you helping out the guy from the first scene of the first game. Even to newcomers of the franchise it is very obvious a lot of love was put into the setting of the world and characters.

Although two substories were lost in the English version of Yakuza 3, the ones that are retained are usually brilliant. It is impressive how well done some are and how none feel like filler content when in reality they are all skippable if the player does not want to access them. Why you would want to is beyond me, though!

Mine’s Ruse

After Kazuma and Rikiya return to meet up with Kage and the others to discuss all that has happened, confusion lingers around why the man who looks like Fuma would want to save the lieutenant of the Ryukyu yakuza after he had been around a crowd who clearly wanted the leader of his group dead. After a confrontation with Mine revealing how Hamazaki has likely been killed off by Lau Ka Long’s family and that Kanda had become useless, and therefor was killed. Kazuma decides that it is best if Rikiya returns to Okinawa and remain safe with the kids at Sunflower Orphanage.

Right after, Kazuma gets a call from Tamiya, the defense minister of Japan and arranges a meeting. Once there, they establish that he wants Kazuma’s land deed so they could make a military base and North America could supply them with high tech weapons.

Through this, it is revealed that the Japanese government and the CIA have been working together to flush the illegal arms dealer Black Monday, led by the mysterious Andre Richardson, with the assumption that, with new weaponry that will be developed for Japan’s defence, the group would surface to be able to trade the arms on the black market. However the land minister of Japan, Yoshinobu Suzuki however believes a resort deal would be more beneficial for Japan then yet another army base. Caught up in this is Tamiya’s private secretary Shoyo Toma, an Okinawaian himself, wishes not to see his beautiful homeland of Okinawa to be harmed by another military base in Japan. To this end he begins to work with Suzuki, who has ties within the Tojo clan with Yoshitaka Mine (And an offshot of the Tojo clan in Okinawa in Tetsuo Tamashiro) to gain the land deeds for Kazuma’s orphanage from the Tojo clan. The CIA full well knowing that losing the land deeds will terminate their operation to flush out Black Monday, send in Joji Fuma to kill Toma before he is able to achieve this.

Anticipating this, Tamiya asks for Kiryu to save Toma simply because he still sees Toma as a good person at heart and will always be one of his men he must look after. As Kiryu rushes back to Okinawa (supported by Majima and his truck!), Joji does the same and the two confront each other as Joji has Toma held at gunpoint, a last second intervention by Kazuma allows Toma to run for safety and in the ensuring chaos, Kazuma and Joji have a battle to settle who is right, fighting all the way from the upper levels of the strip bar to the lower levels and in the end, Kiryu is victorious. This battle had one of my favorite themes in the series to date (posted below). After the fight has ended, Toma re-enters and finds out Kazuma was sent by Tamiya to save him and he bursts into tears, remorseful that he ever betrayed Tamiya. As Kazuma and Joji decide to share a drink after the fight but the two are disturbed by one of Kiryu’s orphans, Taichi.

Bond of Brothers

Whilst Kiryu was battling to save Toma, Mine and Tamashiro appeared at the Sunflower Orphanage and had it torn down, hospitalizing Mikio, shooting Rikiya in his leg and capturing Nakahara. With this revelation, Kazuma rushes back to his broken orphanage and surveys the destruction, anger pulsing through his body he sets of that night for a trap Tamashiro has laid for Kiryu at the local bullring. Unknown to him, Saki chases after him and a wounded Rikiya attempts to stop her.

As Kazuma arrives, Tamishiro releases bulls to kill Nakahara who has been thrown into the arena, as one bull charges up to Nakahara, Saki screams “Father!” – her first word in years – to warn Nakahara. Drawing the energy from his adopted daughters call, Nakahara is able to lift the bull out of his way and at this point, Kiryu enters the center of the arena and challenges Tamashiro. The two hold one last fight inside and Kazuma emerges victorious, but not without consequences. Lowering his guard, Tamashiro springs and has his gun pointed straight at Kiryu, as the bullet is fired, Rikiya takes the shot for Kazuma and before Tamashiro can ready another shot, Joji Fuma arrives and ends him once and forever with a bullet through his head. Kazuma holds Rikiya in his arms and urges him to try and stay alive, but Rikiya senses the end is coming and asks Kiryu to promise to him that’ll he will stop Mine and, drawing on his last breath, calls Kazuma “Brother” one last time.

The End of Ambition

Soon after, Kazuma finds the location of the hospital Daigo is being
held in and Joji Fuma decides to give his assistance one last time, give Kiryu access to a jumbo jet and revealing how he was able to get from Okinawa to Tokyo so fast, Kiryu offers his thanks in a handshake but Joji says the job still is not over, only when Kiryu has beaten Mine and Joji has Richardson, will he shake his hand. Upon arriving in Kamurocho, Haruka queries Kazuma why he let her come with him and she begins to worry that perhaps Kiryu believes this is were he’d finally die, but Kazuma tells her he’s sorry as he just wanted to see the town he has fought so long to protect one last time with her. Spending some time in Tokyo, Kiryu finally decides to head off to the hospital housing Daigo but not before he receives one final warning from Joji, that the CIA have lost connection with one group of it’s operatives and they are unaware Kazuma is an ally and they will attack him on sight, taking his final piece of advice, Kazuma grabs a taxi to the Tokyo Hospital to protect Daigo from Mine.

The scene that takes place in the hospital is just non-stop action and brings almost everything I love about the series’ combat together, fat guys protecting flights of stairs while swinging couches are included, of course. You also finally are able to have a one on one fight with the ‘Mysterious Foreigner’ whom is part of the CIA. But once you leave the fight, a cutscene details that he is still on his way to stop you.

Fly

Mine was waiting with Daigo at the top of the hospital. Ashamed and saddened of what had become of the only person in his life that he respected, he felt that the only thing left to do was turn off the machines keeping him alive and replace him as the head of the Tojo clan and bring his own wealth into them to help it all prosper more than it ever could being lead by someone who’s future was not certain.

Mine had a horrible childhood and learned to rely on no one all his life. Daigo was the first to change that, but all along he was frustrated with how highly Daigo thought of Kazuma. The fact that he too had no one and went on to become a father figure for so many orphans upset him greatly and he considered it nothing more than a way to escape from his life as the Dragon of Dojima, a legendary yakuza.

Of course, all of this also meant that Kazuma Kiryu, the fourth chairman of the Tojo clan himself had to go down with Daigo. The final battle begins with Kazuma insisting that Mine is wrong about everyone and that he is no better than the people he hates.

It was an epic battle for sure, but the lack of set pieces made it somewhat less interesting than the last few major boss fights. The music however, was incredible. This song was also used in the English language releases’ introduction.

Kazuma and Mine, both drained from the fight are now helpless from the ‘Mysterious Foreigner”, who is finally revealed to be Andre Richardson, the leader of Black Monday. During this whole time, Mine was working together with them to help get the Okinawa deal, but he, along with Kazuma and Daigo had now become useless in their eyes and had to be terminated. Right then, Daigo rolls off his hospital bed, takes out a hidden gun and fires at Andre. Enraged, Andre shoots blindly at them while Mine rushes towards him and pulls him towards the edge of the building. Apologizing for everything he had done to everyone, he falls back with Richardson to their doom. Daigo then asks if Mine was the man inside the Tojo clan that betrayed everyone all along, Kazuma claims that he believed Mine was no traitor.

To be honest though, this scene was more comical than anything with Andre Richardson’s voice actor clearly not having English as his first language. Stop it! Are you nuts?!

Saying goodbye to all of his friends in Kamurocho, Kazuma is surprised to find that Hamazaki is still alive. Furious with how his life has turned out, Kazuma says that regardless of his past, he can change his life around and that he would help him in any way possible. Lending out their hands in trust, Hamazaki seizes the moment and stabs Kazuma deep in the stomach. Kazuma collapses while Haruka runs to his side. Even in what could be his final hour, Kazuma still claims that there is always some good in people and that he believes Hamazaki can change. The credits roll, but of course the Dragon of Dojima made it out okay. Did you really believe he would die?! Stop it! Are you nuts?!

And thus ends the epic story of Yakuza 3. Normally RPGs that I would enjoy this much would be depressing to finally finish, but when I had completed the game for the first time I had only accomplished 28% of the overall experience in Kamurocho! Even better was how the last scene would effect Yakuza 4. Truly I was only beginning, and I could not have been happier. Yakuza 3 was an outstanding experience that I could recommend to just about anyone.

SEGASEGASEGASEG~ SEE YOU NEXT GAME !~

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