Greg Miller/IGN’s Yakuza 4 Review – My Thoughts

Usually at Segabits we would stay clear of critic bashing but I really feel this needs to be said.

This is of course in regards to the review score Greg Miller of IGN has just given Yakuza 4 (6.5/10).

Just about everyone who has played the Japanese version of the game, be it the Japanese people I’ve spoken to about it or the Westerners who have imported the game, seem to all agree that Yakuza 4 is one of the best games in the series yet.  On the other side of the coin, it’s generally agreed by most fans that Yakuza 3 was the weakest installment in the series so far with a very slow start with its baby sitting children and rather monotonous fetch quests making up the first quarter of the game.

However not Greg Miller it seems, who, throughout his review, speaks about how much he enjoyed Yakuza 3’s story and, even more jarring, how Yakuza 4 has a weak story which seems to contradict what every other Yakuza fan has said.

Hit the jump for MORE!

” The weak story cheapens the progression I loved in the last game.”

The sub title of the IGN Yakuza 4 review states ‘What’s Japanese for “déjà vu?” Here Miller is suggesting that Yakuza 4 has an awful lot in common with Yakuza 3. I agree, if I have one complaint about the series it is the lack of new locations. What I do find strange regarding this suggestion is that approximately a year ago IGN gave Yakuza 3 an 8.5, but a year later we have a game so similar to Yakuza 3 that Miller would suggest it is like déjà vu… and yet it gets a 6.5… It seems rather contradictory, don’t you think?

I don’t really blame Greg Miller for this; the industry seems quite rife with this kind of contradiction. While many popular series and popular genres can have annual releases with very little change between them, sometimes multiple titles a year, and still be rated highly, niche games appear to be judged far more harshly.

Maybe I’m paranoid here, but it seems problems with extremely popular series like GTA, Halo or CoD will be played down while problems with the more niche games will doom the game to a mediocre score.

The Call of Duty series for example uses a very similar storytelling mechanic as Yakuza 4, jumping between various soldiers in various locations at various times… I found it rather hard to keep track of what was going on and I put it to you the story isn’t nearly as well told or interesting as the Yakuza games either… Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 didn’t have a whole lot of difference between them and Call of Duty: Black Ops was brimming with online issues at launch… Yet each release in the series seems to have had constant high scores.

I would happily agree that the Yakuza engine is showing its age; textures, animations, locations are all starting to wear out their welcome, and fully voiced ‘main’ quest senerios would also be a welcome edition.

But to jump from an 8.5 with Yakuza 3, (my least favourite game of the series) to 6.5 for Yakuza 4, (which is widely regarded as the best game in the series since Yakuza 2) seems like a questionable move… Considering Miller seems to agree that little has changed in the year since the release of Yakuza 3.

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16 responses to “Greg Miller/IGN’s Yakuza 4 Review – My Thoughts

  1. -nSega54- says:

    But the game's not always as impressive the 2nd time around, especially if yet another year has gone by.

    Look, I'm reserving judgement until I play the game. This critic is a fan of the Yakuza series, this is a guy who gave Yakuza 3 an 8.5, as you pointed out. However, after reading his review, his arguments (to me) make sense. If you split your story up into 4 characters each with a separate plot line, I can see it being possible that neither feels as "strong" as the plot line from past Yakuza games, as he argues.

    He says that many of the weapon animations/finishing moves are re-used from Yakuza 3. To me that's totally unacceptable, as is the re-usal of the battle NPCs, which I've already personally noticed in footage for Yakuza 4.

    His argument: This is very much more of the same from Yakuza 3, but the 4 character structure, *he feels* (maybe you or me won't,) diluted, rather than enhanced, the story, and with a (he feels) weaker narrative, the gameplay flaws became more apparent, especially only a year after Yakuza 3.

    I think it's reasonable, and frankly I'm sure many critics will share similar viewpoints, so get ready. I've said for a long time that though I love this seris, they need to put in much more effort.

    I can't wait to play this, I fully expect to love it, but his complaints are valid and I don't think questioning/hating bad reviews is a good thing for the industry….that's how you get video game reviewers who get fired (like Jeff Gerstmann) for negatively reviewing a game like Kane and Lynch….in other words, for doing their jobs by expressing their thoughts on a game.

    I don't for a second believe that Greg Miller has anything whatsoever to gain by reviewing negatively Yakuza 4. He's simply doing his job and expressing his opinion on what he feels is a dated and disappointing installment in the series.

  2. George says:

    Yakuza re-uses animations – drops 2 points.

    Call of Duty does the same, including full maps – 9+ score.

  3. cube_b3 says:

    I am with -nSega54- his complaints seem valid, but we'll reserve judgement till we actually play the game.

    His comparisons of Y3 to Y4, echoed my comparisons of Y1 with Y2.

  4. -nSega54- says:

    Yeah you guys should probably play the game before saying that IGN is wrong, …."fans" who imported the game liking the story/hating Yakuza 3's story is totally subjective and how do you know that, when you play Yakuza 4, you won't agree with this guy?

    Lots of people loved Yakuza 3's story, by the way.

    Meh. We have 4 days until this game releases, I say wait until we get to play the game before claiming a critic is biased.

  5. crackdude says:

    How many more times must I repeat myself:

    LOL IGN

  6. Sharky says:

    "Articles like this make it look like we, SEGAbits, is not going to play/review this game objectively, which certainly wouldn’t be the case if I were the one reviewing it."

    Taken from my article:

    "I would happily agree that the Yakuza engine is showing its age, textures, animations, locations are all starting to wear out their welcome, and fully voiced ‘main’ quest senerios would also be a welcome edition."

    That said I wont be reviewing it either… I don't do reviews.

    It seems that 'more of the same can't be a bad thing' and 'don't fix what isn't broken' applies to very popular games, but when they are niche games it's 'déjà vu'

    All I'm saying is that from what I've heard Yakuza 4 is the best game in the series… I've never heard it discribed as the worst thats for sure! So it seems a little out of place to suddenly give Yakuza 4 a 6.5… I very much doubt it's a 'bad' or 'mediocre' game if it is anything like Yakuza 3 or even Yakuza 2…

  7. -nSega54- says:

    lol that's why I removed that comment from my post, sharky.

    Eh. Like I said. I dunno. I wouldn't yet totally discount what sounds (to me) like legit complaints until you get to try the game yourself.

    The Yakuza series really is the same game again and again, just with a different story. It lives/dies by its story. And if someone doesn't like the story, that can seriously impact their experience with the game, which is otherwise not much new.

  8. CrazyTails says:

    Yes i'm with Nsega as well. I kinda see where the reviewer is comign from. The yakuza series is far from perfect which is why it can fix so much from game to game. From what I read, it's more of a lazy sequal with a different story, cutscenes, more characters.

    I reserve my judgeement too, but I will be dissapointed if they haven't even tried to push the game even further. It sorta feels like a cashcow this way.

  9. crackdude says:

    “Articles like this make it look like we, SEGAbits, is not going to play/review this game objectively”

    Of course not. We are Sega fans, our reviews will come out from a Sega fan perspective. Sometimes with completely opposite opinions versus general critics.

  10. -nSega54- says:

    Yeah but even as a SEGA fan, I can approach a SEGA game with an open mind. Sonic Unleashed….game got mediocre reviews, I loved it. Thought it was one of the best games this generation. Sonic 4 got good reviews, I hated it.

    I'm open to liking/hating any game, even if it's from SEGA. I'll approach Yakuza 4 with an open mind. Though I expect to love it, I'm open to the possibility that I won't.

    And I think that's important, even though we're SEGA fans, to be open to criticism of SEGA games. Otherwise, nothing changes. If every SEGA game got amazing reviews just because it was a SEGA game, there would be no incentive for SEGA to ever improve.

  11. crackdude says:

    Yes.

    That is why I like it when we have double reviews.

  12. Suzuki Yu says:

    while i agree that this series is getting more and more out-dated each time a new installment been released.

    but still Yakuza 4 is easily the best in the series. also it has the best story-line yet, the connections between the characters and how the story was told is really impressive to me.

  13. SOUP says:

    Personally, I don't really care about review scores on this one. I'm a big fan of these games, and unless there was something really wrong with it, I can pretty much guarantee that I'll enjoy this entry too.

  14. SMT_Xero says:

    "ya can't spell ignorance with out IGN"

    but really now, this is what i hate. galaxy 1 and 2 are the same and gets praised for it. fable 2 and 3 are the same and get put down for it. MW1 and MW2 are the same and it gets praised for it. ect ect

    make up your fucking mind game reviewers.

  15. Aki-at says:

    Having played and completed both games, the reviewer is on drugs if he thinks Yakuza 3's storyline is great compared to Yakuza 4, characters are great, yes, but actual storyline, beg to differ.

    BTW EDGE gave the game a 7, which is a pretty high score by EDGE's own standards.

  16. -nSega54- says:

    " galaxy 1 and 2 are the same and gets praised for it. fable 2 and 3 are the same and get put down for it."

    Well that was only the 2nd installment….Yakuza 2 got good reviews too, but by the time we hit installment 4, I can *understand* why people would want something more out of the franchise. Even though I'm sure I'll fully enjoy it regardless.

    Eurogamer Sweden gave it a 6/10, also saying it's "less compelling" than the 3rd game…dunno. Greek site GameOver.com also awarded it a 6, calling its story "badly told" while Meristation.com awarded it an 8/10.

    Hopefully the game averages in the 70s. I can already sorta tell it won't score like the previous ones. Makes me really wish Sega West came up with a better demo than what we got.

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