Yakuza 3

Yakuza 3 Review for PS3

On: PS3

Continues the adventures of Kiryu Kazuma.

Review Verdict Read Review
9Out of 10
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Yakuza 3 screenshot
Yakuza 3 screenshot

The role-playing mechanics don't stop there; Kazuma has a range of attributes that can be improved with experience earned from battle and side-quests. By allocating points to the Soul, Tech, Body and Essence disciplines, Kazuma becomes a far more worthy adversary in combat, with improved statistics and all-new moves. By the end of the game, there's a huge list of moves at your disposal, giving numerous options to combat.

It's not all about violence and bloodshed though, and if the stresses of Yakuza life start getting you down, there are a wealth of subplots and mini-games to take your mind off things. Golf is a particularly effective way to let off some steam, offering a surprising level of depth for a mere mini-game. There's also baseball, darts, fishing and even an arcade with working cabinets of retro SEGA titles. Literally hours can be sunk into these seemingly pointless pastimes, but they give the game a rich and full quality to it.

Another way Kazuma likes to unwind is by blogging. Yes, you read that correctly. Armed with his trusty mobile phone, Kazuma can take photos of certain events in the game. Timing the shots well enough will lead Kazuma to an epiphany, which he will proceed to blog about using his phone. This in turn leads to new skills and abilities which can be used in combat. Blogging has some benefits after all, it would seem.

There's never a shortage of things to see and do in Yakuza 3, and everything is tied into the game world so convincingly. This, in fact, is the game's greatest achievement; its living, breathing and totally believable environments. For otakus and fans of Japanese culture, wandering around the gorgeous locations of Yakuza 3 is a real treat. It's all in the details; the vending machines, bicycles, toy machines, arcades, neon lights, the general bustle of city life. The Japanese voice-track adds to the authenticity too, giving rise to believable characters and a realistic hubbub of background noise. I've never been to Japan, but after playing Yakuza 3, I can honestly say that I feel like I have.

Yakuza 3 screenshot

Games with a scope as large as Yakuza 3 seem to be burdened with a few inevitable flaws however. Invisible walls rear their ugly head with alarming frequency; how these still find their way into modern game design is beyond comprehension. Navigation is problematic too, with whimsical destination markers that are never there when you need them. All too often you'll find yourself ambling around without the foggiest idea where you are, or where you're heading.

These flaws only really stand out due to the quality of the game as a whole however; Yakuza 3 is still a remarkable achievement. Kamurocho might be a fictional location, but it's quite possibly the most well realised city in video game history. Yakuza 3 combines visual splendour with superb sound design to create an unparalleled atmosphere. Although the dated combat might take a back seat to these environments, Yakuza's first outing on the PlayStation 3 feels suitably next generation. While the first two titles in the series were both overlooked and underrated, Yakuza 3 demands to be taken notice of. This isn't only the best game in the series, but possibly the genre as a whole.

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User Comments

Ghost_Dog's Avatar


Was looking for to this, but having played the Japanese demo and then later the dubbed version, I found that I couldn't get into it.

It just seemed horribly dated in comparison to the GTA series. It's a shame, as I have always had an interest in Japanese culture.
Posted 22:16 on 18 March 2010
SexyJams's Avatar


Yay, another Jamin style review :D
Awesome review man,
I didn't even take notice of the game, due to it's cult fan base,
but I may buy it now :D
Posted 17:26 on 18 March 2010
guyderman's Avatar


The PS3 exclusives are really racking up now and all are scoring highly too! - MS need to hurry up and pull something out the bag - lets hope Alan Wake marks the return of quality exclusives to the 360.

I may have to give this game a look at now - this was a title I had little to no interest in originally!
Posted 16:01 on 18 March 2010
Bloodstorm's Avatar


Of course it's a dated combat system the game has been out in Japan for over a year.
Posted 15:34 on 18 March 2010
dudester's Avatar


nice jamin been pondering on whether to get this of late.
Posted 15:20 on 18 March 2010

Game Stats

Yakuza 3
Out of 10
Yakuza 3
  • Fantastic environments
  • Compelling narrative
  • Plenty to see and do
  • Refined, but dated combat system
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 12/03/2010
Platform: PS3
Developer: In-house
Publisher: Sega
Genre: Action
No. Players: One
Rating: BBFC 18
Site Rank: 4,876 27
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