During this generation, I’ve seen a disturbing lack of boss fights, or at least, good boss fights. Thankfully, one of the most enjoyable aspects of any Yakuza game for me has become the boss battles. Yakuza is home to some of the most memorable boss fights in any recent SEGA title and the fourth mainline entry into the series isn’t any different. As with such articles, spoilers for the game follow, so if you happen not to have completed Yakuza 4 yet and do not wish to be spoiled, walk away now, for everyone else, please continue reading to find out my personal five!
Aside from looking like the main character from Ichi the Killer, the battle with Takumi starts off tame, he only has a gun, I mean what harm could he honestly do so long as I’m not in a cutscene? Well hit him enough and he comes out with a chainsaw! Lucky for Akiyama, the office you fight Takumi in is filled with office desks and car bumper parts so you’ve got enough items to block him with, or twat him silly until he’s knocked down for good.
For some, this is probably one of the hardest boss fights in the game. And quite right! For the first time in the series we get to see the fourth chairman of the Tojo Clan unleashed in his full destructive glory. I have to admit, I didn’t expect to face Kazuma in a battle when I was first playing through the game and it took me as a surprise, but what a delightful surprise it was! I have to admit it was great seeing Kazuma perform the moves that we’ve come accustomed to. Although I’m also glad you never get to finish Kazuma off, take note developers, this is how you treat the main hero of a series!
This boss battle takes over two phases; the first is a short boat chase that has you gunning down Sugiuchi’s boat across Tokyo Bay, avoiding planks of wood and ships in your way. After successfully ramming his boat out of fuel, what follows is probably one of the best QTE segments of the game as Tanimura, having placed Sugiuchi in handcuffs, must dodge a barrage of blows and a gunshot before the actual boss fight begins. Sugiuchi’s fighting style is similar to Joji Fuma/Kazama from Yakuza 3, despite that, this is on the list solely because of the fact that the buildup to it was fantastically done and one of the reasons I love Yakuza games, over the top action indeed.
Shun Akiyama and Masayoshi Tanimura
If there is one thing I dislike about games that introduce new playable characters alongside a series’ primary protagonist is that, more often than not, said primary character becomes dumbed down and made to look equal to his new co-stars, but this issue was not present in Yakuza 4! Although we only get to draw as Saejima against Kazuma, the other two heroes have an unpleasant encounter with the Dragon of Dojima and, mistaking him for a foe, attack Kazuma. What ensures is probably one of my favourite moments in the game as the finisher heat move has both men rush Kazuma at once, whilst Kazuma holds onto Akiyama, Tanimura tries to grab Kazuma into an armlock but fails, and finally Kiryu chucks both men to the ground, Kazuma proving that he is indeed the boss of the series.
For whatever reason, the final boss fights in Yakuza 4 decided to hold a competition of greatest ever freeze frame in the history of games, and the one with Dojima is probably by far my favourite, how do you block a flying punch? Why making an X cross with your arms of course! But the fight with Daigo also features a remix of For Faith, similar to Yakuza 2’s A Scattered Moment. And it probably features one of the greatest heat finishers the series has ever seen, I believe MadeManG74 said it best, the brofist OF DEATH! If you are one of the lucky few like me, you’d have activated the heat move finisher just as the song picks up, it almost feels like it was planned to occur at that particular time! A fantastic boss fight and a shame it was not the final boss fight as I thought it would be
Obviously I’ve only listed my favourite from each section of the game, but Yakuza 4 still has plenty more bosses on show but it’s another reason why I think the game is a must have. If you enjoy a good boss fight, look no further than Yakuza 4!