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PS3 Fanboy hands-on: Yakuza 3


The Japanese PS Store currently offers not one, but two demos of Sega's upcoming Japanese adventure, Yakuza 3 (aka Ryu ga Gotoku Kenzan). At the very least, the two demos reassure us that there's a large number of things to do in this PS3 exclusive. However, as is typically the case with games of this nature, it seems the Jack of all Trades approach Yakuza 3 is taking means the game does many things well, but nothing stands out as particularly excellent.

For example, the combat featured in the game is simplistic at best. Sword fighting can be reduced to simple button mashing. Unfortunately, we don't see the depth that other games offer in this genre. Even relatively simple fighting systems, like the one found in Assassin's Creed, offers combat with much more finesse. The boss that's included in the demo was easily exploited by simply mashing the Triangle button. This being an early demo reminds us that there's much more work to be done in the game. As it is now, battles aren't quite challenging or interesting enough.

Other mini-games, such as a horseback shooting gallery, and a conversation with a Japanese geisha, highlight the game's varied attempts at creating a truly thorough representation of Japanese culture. Obviously, conversational segments will require a great deal of control over the Japanese language, and so we can't recommend the download for those unfamiliar with the language.

Visually, the game is a mixed bag. While some scenes do look authentic, the character models are animated rather stiffly, especially in the face. A lot of dialog is simply written, not spoken, and facial animations look stiff and robotic. As we stated earlier, the game seems to be taking quite an ambitious approach, but small flaws like these can be found throughout both of the demos we've played. Yakuza 3 has the potential to be a lot of fun -- but right now, we're going to approach it with a bit of caution.

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