The Appeal of Yakuza: Always Extraordinary

This is not a sponsored piece: I felt like writing this article since Yakuza 6 is coming out soon and I personally want to write about the series and its appeal and the growth in popularity in regions outside of Japan.

I’ve always been a fan of open-world games but Yakuza hits a special spot for me. Unlike many open-world games, your best mode of transportation is your feet. You run around the hyper-realistic town of Kamarocho, Japan and take in the scenery of shops, convenience stores, buildings, and the random thugs who keep wanting to fight Kiryu Kazama even though he doesn’t do a single thing to them.

 

Source:Funhaus Yakuza 6

 

Kiryu as your main protagonist is really interesting compared to most open world games. Since most open worlds allow you to mess around with the environments, your playable character can seem like a monster. The only people Kiryu beats up are people trying to mug him or generally evil characters. Around the city, he just walks around, eats, does karaoke, play games and interact with the people. Despite being a former Yakuza and a having a scary face, you can call Kiryu a hero. He goes out of his way to help people solve their problems and protect others. Even other characters call him a bad Yakuza member because he doesn’t like to shake people down for money or follow the code. He just wants to take care of children, sing karaoke, race children’s car games, fish, etc. His stoic attitude and sense of justice are perfectly generic compared to the absurd side-stories, characters, and the main stories in the 7 main games.

The stories of Yakuza really bring the game together. The side-stories are absolutely ridiculous. Whether its stopping people from joining a greedy cult, beating up perverts who harass women or helping a street performer use the restroom by distracting the audience with horrible dance moves, Yakuza always has a way to distract you from the main plot. The mini-games are also distracting from the main plot. Not that the mini-games are extremely fun but more about how absurd the scenes become when you are successful. Kiryu’s reactions about winning or losing at a side activity are hilarious. Karaoke is the best because when you are doing well, you enter a weird music video. The unique stories keep the game from becoming mundane and they are short and sweet so it requires little commitment compared to many Japanese games.

I can’t recommend Yakuza enough. Its one of those games where I’m constantly laughing or reacting to the game. With a sea of amazing games out currently or coming in 2018 like Far Cry 5, God of War, or Metro Exodus, it is always fun to sit back and enjoy an absurd game like Yakuza. Yakuza 6: Spring of Life comes out April 17th.

Game Giants Podcast: Episode 0.5 “Why do you play Japanese games?”

Podcast.

So I don’t have a new article yet but I would like to use the opportunity to promote a new podcast I am doing with my friends. Give it a listen! It’s called the Game Giants Podcast and we talk about gaming and anime. Please feel free to provide feedback about it as well.GG

New Pokemon Switch Game Details

Nintendo and Tsunekazu Ishihara, chief executive officer of Tokyo-based Pokémon spoke about the future of their next core Pokemon game on the Nintendo Switch. With the success of Pokemon Go worldwide, it has given inspiration for the next big Pokemon game set to release in 2018. Ishihara stated:

  • “With the Switch, we see it as a chance to create Pokémon that goes deeper and with a higher level of expression. As a result, that makes it an extremely important platform.”
  • “Right now we’re using 7 to 8-inch screens, but on a high-definition TV you can express a whole different world with graphics and sound.”
  • “Until now, games were made as one for one person, but now you can go home and play with everyone — so how do we tackle these themes, and how do we make sure it’s not complicated?”
  • “I can’t say that we’ll release accessories, but I’d like to think of that possibility.”
  • “Unlike smartphones, the Switch is not a game device that assumes that there’s constant network connectivity. So from our perspective, it’s really not that different from DS or 3DS in terms of connectivity.”

Artificial Reality for Pokemon?

In regards to augmented reality features such as Pokemon Go, Ishihara stated it fits with the overall theme of Pokemon and mixing reality and fantasy. He hopes to improve the features to create actual interactions with the AR Pokemon and its environment.

  • “With current AR, even if you say Pikachu is there, no one really thinks that. But that reality is just one step away. For example, you’ll be able to find Pikachu, and it can sense this table and jump on it, and you can see its shadow on the table, and then it faces you and starts talking to you. We will see the birth of this reality that is another step up from the current Pokémon Go. And I’ve only mentioned the visual aspect, but you can add haptic and rumble technology to that.”
  • “Voice-activated assistants are increasing. Whether it is Google Home or Amazon or Apple Homepod, there are many of them and we could see these dialogue-based devices give birth of a new form of entertainment.”
  • “Switch is just one of the possible platforms. I think we will open up more possibilities from all these platforms. Playing in a more realistic way should be possible.”

What do you think about all of these comments from Ishihara? Many fans of Pokemon, including myself, have been waiting for the new console Pokemon experience since Pokemon Colosseum. More details on the game graphics which have always been slowed down by the capabilities of the handhelds won’t be a problem for the Switch. It’ll be easier for them to focus on Pokemon features because the Switch is still a handheld console as well. While AR sounds like an interesting concept, I prefer a more focused game story or more Pokemon to catch over all generations rather than simple interaction gimmicks. While the Pokemon Refresh feature in Sun and Moon were fun, I don’t really need more ways to interact with all of my Pokemon personally.

Question:

What do you think about these potential features on the new Pokemon game for the Switch? Are you still excited to play Pokemon or will this bring you back in? Or is it too late?

Sources:

Bloomberg NeoGaf

MicroSD Cards needed to experience ALL Nintendo Switch Game Content?!

Most games are taking more and more memory. Greater graphics, online multiplayer, and even story content fill more of your console’s memories. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have a max amount depending on the model and more can be added with an external hard drive. The Nintendo Switch is definitely not the strongest and only has 4 gigabytes (GB) of memory compared to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One which usually has 500 GB.

For upcoming Nintendo Switch games, Nintendo has stated that a

“microSD card will be needed for certain Nintendo Switch games that contain an especially large amount of content and require additional storage for players to enjoy the full experience.”

NBA 2K18 is one of the first games that will require an additional microSD card. The games can be played without an additional microSD card but you’ll be unable to play all the features that you would have on other consoles. You don’t have to be afraid of being blindsided by extra memory requirements.

As you can see from the packaging, the physical copies will fully display the need for additional microSD cards. Even if you digitally download the game, there will be a notice on how much memory is required for the game itself.

Nintendo has a partnership with SanDisk and you can even buy unique branded microSDXC in 64 GB and 128 GB sizes featuring Nintendo characters and a Switch logo branding on the card. The Switch itself can support 2 TB microSDXC cards.

The Nintendo Switch cards can’t be put in other Switch consoles. So you won’t be able to switch the microSD cards in other Switch consoles. That means you will not be able to transfer game downloads or even saves into another Switch.

What do you think about the need for extra memory space for certain games? Does this make you want the game for another console now? Leave your comments down below.

Sources: IGN 2