If the Yakuza (and its spin-off Judgment) video games are well-known for one factor, it’s that you could smash a dude’s face in with a motorbike and that it appears very humorous. In the event that they’re well-known for 2 issues, it’s that they’re actually lengthy, and that their tales and cutscenes go perpetually.
It’s not unusual for folks to spend over 100 hours on a Yakuza sport, poking their noses across the shadier sides of Tokyo (or Osaka) whereas a cleaning soap opera story performs out at a glacial tempo. Typically you’ll sit there, eyes glazing over, as quarter-hour’ price of dialogue asks you to press “X” on the finish of each sentence, whereas at different occasions you’ll be handled to 25 minutes of cinematics that would have been wrapped up in 5. Followers adore it, I adore it, but in addition, it’s a lot.
The Kaito Recordsdata are an experiment in deviating from that system, in size if not in spirit. It’s the sequence’ first self-contained story DLC, which implies it’s not an addition or set of additional missions for a major sport, however its personal factor, launching from its personal spot in the principle menu, and having you play by way of it from starting to finish with none interruption. Yagami often is the star of the Judgment video games, however he’s nowhere to be seen right here.
As a substitute, we get a narrative all about his finest buddy Kaito, which fleshes out the character in a shocking and lovable method (maybe even setting him up for a starring position down the road), and does so over the course of just some hours—just below 5 in my case—as a substitute of the standard days, weeks and even months wanted for a full Yakuza story.
The Kaito Recordsdata don’t have sidequests, one of many sequence’ nice time-wasters, don’t emphasise distractions just like the arcade video games and don’t actually go away Kamurocho in any respect. There’s just one playable character. It’s a restricted Yakuza expertise, like an EP or a demo. The horizons are nearer right here, however someway this nonetheless looks like a correct Yakuza sport, the best way adaptation can take a guide you spent months studying into one thing you’ll be able to get pleasure from simply as totally in a few hours on the cinema.
Actual speak: Yakuza’s tales are well-known for his or her size, however they’re hardly ever any good. Like I mentioned up high, we soak them up like cleaning soap operas, having fun with their continuity and reliable regularity, however it’s not like anybody goes round singing the story-telling praises of a sequence the place main plot factors have concerned “raining cash” and “outdated dude digs up WW2 battleship”. These video games serve up pulpy tales of loyalty, friendship, betrayal and sacrifice, and followers lap them up as a result of typically, as with precise cleaning soap operas, that shit is a responsible pleasure.
I’ve all the time recognized this, and have most likely written about it right here earlier than, however I may actually recognize it right here with the Kaito Recordsdata as a result of, after simply 5 hours, I acquired as a lot enjoyment out of its story as I’ve any of the principle sport’s 100-hour sagas. Perhaps much more, as a result of this DLC felt a lot tighter, because it didn’t have the posh of spinning its wheels over a dozen chapters It opens, it tells you a story of Kaito’s previous, ties that to a thriller you’re attempting to resolve within the current, asks you to battle some unhealthy guys then rolls the credit. I discovered myself having fun with the brevity a lot that I hope the builders both take notes right here on the best way to edit their storylines down, or launch extra DLC like this for future video games within the sequence.
Kaito is a cool man, a mix of Kazuma Kiryu’s unflinching stoicism married to a himbo veneer, however in the principle Judgment video games he’s all the time been a little bit of a one-dimensional pet canine. It was beautiful seeing him fleshed out a bit right here, studying about a few of his main life selections, and getting to understand how he does issues his personal method when his boss isn’t on the scene.
When it comes to what you really do on this DLC exterior of watch cutscenes, it’s like a tapas choice of the principle Judgment video games, for each higher and worse. For higher it retains the outdated Yakuza action-based fight, which reinvents itself each sport whereas additionally feeling precisely the identical, and for worse it’s peppered with vibe-killing detective sequences the place you’re asking to tediously examine rooms for clues in essentially the most boring and irritating method attainable.
Mainly, every part right here is similar as Misplaced Judgment, a sport I cherished. There’s simply much less of it. I wasn’t anticipating a brand new Yakuza expertise so quickly after the final, so to get an opportunity to dip again in briefly for a refresher—and luxuriate in nearly each second of my temporary time with it—was a stunning shock. Extra Yakuza facet orders, please!