Following the devastating 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami, conservative American shock jock Rush Limbaugh did what he’s best known for: he made a totally inappropriate and insensitive remark that offended anyone possessing even so much as a single functioning brain cell. The snide comment involved the ridiculing of earthquake survivors for continuing to recycle their rubbish even after such a cataclysmic event had taken place.
Now, if Rush Limbaugh had been born a total video game geek, he probably would have ridiculed the Japanese for recycling way too many elements from previously-released video games to create Yakuza 4 — which, coincidentally, was released in the U.S. around the same time as when the first earthquake hit.
Of course, that's all entirely irrelevant, people.
The fact of the matter is Yakuza 4 isn’t a very original game. The story here — which is split into individual chapters à la some arty crime drama — relies on your bad guy character(s) getting into one fight after another with other bad guys. The game allows you to pick up certain objects around you, which you can use to bash your opponent in the noggin with; earning you “Heat” points so that you can deliver a destructive finale to your adversary that they’ll never remember.
The controls for said skirmishes aren’t the easiest to maneuver with your controller, though, as the directional targeting thingy tends to go out for a coffee quite a bit. Additionally, most of these “Heat” finales moves have been carried over from Yakuza 3, so there’s not a lot of new material to play with if you’re a series regular.
Story-wise, Yakuza 4 often feels like you’ve been trapped in an elevator with an avid, socially-inept RPG player that has erroneously mistaken you for someone who gives a shit. Cutaway sequences are meant to advance the story of whichever character you’re playing (you don’t get to choose who you play off the bat, either: you just go from one chap to another), but they are so drawn out that they simply become terminally interminable and intolerably uninteresting. Seriously, one segment had to have gone on for a good twenty minutes.