Yakuza All Day and All Night

Sometimes you hear of a critically acclaimed series that is up to like the third or fourth sequel and it puts you off. There is just too much history to go through and the earlier titles tend to be unplayable on the latest console. Yakuza was one of those series for me. I obtained Yakuza 4 and 5 on PlayStation 3 through PlayStation Plus, but why would I start there? A few more years passed and Yakuza 0 was a critical darling on the Playstation 4, which I found out was the prequel to the series. So I jumped in and played it for a couple of hours. It was fine and I put it down for a few months. When I came back to it everything started to click in place. The story was so grounded and cinematic in scope. I was all in. Then I started doing some side quests and things went completely bonkers. Somehow the game juggles the dramatic with the absurd and it works perfectly.

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The Yakuza story center around Kazuma Kiryu. The series is one big grand story so it’s been hard to appreciate when only selected titles are available on the current console. To date, on Playstation 4 we had Yakuza 0, Yakuza Kiwami, Yakuza Kiwami 2, and Yakuza 6. The Kiwami titles are remakes of the first two titles that were originally released on the Playstation 2. The Yakuza Remastered Collection has just been announced this week at Gamescom. This makes me really happy because now the entire Yakuza series will be available to play on the Playstation 4. That’s seven titles. If you’ve never played them you should start with Yakuza 0 as I did.

The series is a third-person action-adventure where you will brawl your way through clans to do the right thing. Every game takes place in the same city, which you see evolve over time. The side quests contain some of the most humorous side quests of any game ever and there are even in-game arcades that let you play some of Sega’s older titles. Each game is lengthy and could take around 30-40 hours to finish the main story, and double that to complete everything the game has to offer.

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You can watch videos on YouTube to see if you’ll enjoy the game, but I think you should give one a go and see if it’s for you. There are demos for the Yakuza Kiwami 2, and Yakuza 6 on the PlayStation Store if you want to get a feel for the combat. And if it is for you, well, welcome to what might be your favorite video game series.

Robert Ring

Red Dead Redemption 2: A Western Rebirth?

The western genre is one of my favorites. When I start watching anything western I’m in for a slew of them. It’s hard to stop when they’re so goddamn good. They are not as prevalent as they were, but the genre has begun bleeding into dystopian films, so I take my fill wherever I can. That’s where Rockstar Games comes in and makes what looks to be the greatest western game ever imagined.

I would love to see Red Dead Redemption sweep into the psyche in a way that has Hollywood recommit to making some great westerns. The Magnificent Seven (2016), and Cowboys and Aliens (2011) are the last two big-budget westerns I can think of; however, they were not well received. Quentin Tarantino has been the closest filmmaker for the western of late with a portion of Django Unchained (2012), fulfilling us with hope and then The Hateful Eight (2015), which I thought was too much of whodunnit over a western. Rockstar Games has created a fantastic canvas for anyone to play out the role of a gunslinger, and I suspect will inspire a new generation to revel in the history.

Check out Rockstar’s Gameplay Video below:

I never played much of the first Red Dead Redemption because I was late to the party, and the mechanics never felt quite right to me. Mechanically and graphically this game is on a level above the previous entry and perhaps setting a new standard for games in general. This one looks to evolve player choice to a new height so we can choose how we want our gunslinger to be seen in the eyes of others. I want to be the hero and save the damsel, roughen up the vermin in the whore houses, and ride my horse into the sunset. By Red Dead Redemption 3 I expect to be able to play the entire game in virtual reality, wearing a hostel, a hat, and everything.

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For now, the game is set for October 26 on PS4 and Xbox One.

Are you excited for the new Red Dead, and what’s your favorite western?

Robert Ring