Plenty of attention has been lavished on one nontraditional Japanese RPG this week -- but Sega sneaked out another one alongside Final Fantasy XIII. Luckily, enough reviewers remembered that Yakuza 3 exists to provide a decent swath of reviews.

While it's certain to be the best game this week about playing fictional arcade shooters, singing karaoke with dates from hostess clubs and hitting gangsters with street signs, how did Kazuma Kiryu's latest saga fare under more common rubrics?
  • IGN (8.5/10): "You're getting this intense story about Japan's seedy underbelly that's set in an open world where you can take all sorts of side quests, but as you do so, random battles are popping up, you're earning experience points so you can level up your moves, and you can take stuff from your extensive inventory list and craft new weapons and armor. There are no cars or chocobos, but you see where I'm going with this -- one minute you're slamming a crowbar into a guy's face or tearing off a fingernail with pliers, and the next minute, you're taking photos to blog about or on a fetch quest to find a certain fish."
  • GameSpot (8/10): "While the pace and events of the story are enough to propel you towards its conclusion, the non-story peripheral content gives Yakuza 3 a welcome sense of diversity. There are more than a hundred side and hitman quests that allow you to do everything from carrying ice cream for a father who has overpurchased, to playing UFO Catcher claw machines in the arcade, to chasing down a bag snatcher, to offering financial advice to a man deep in debt and precariously perched on the edge of a bridge."
  • Eurogamer (8/10): "From the publisher that brought us Streets of Rage, Virtua Fighter and Shenmue, Yakuza is essentially a mashup of all three, which is hardly surprising but does mean it's the stuff of Segaphile fantasies. Liberally sprinkled with their genius, it's the grateful beneficiary of some of their most satisfying elements, in a context which delivers a uniquely Japanese -- and uniquely Sega -- flavour."

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

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