The PlayStation 4 is launching in Japan finally, and the best chance it has at catching a hold and gaining an audience is through SEGA’s massively popular Ryu ga Gotoku series, or Yakuza as we call it in America.
However, for such an important title to kick off the new generation in Japan, SEGA has chosen an awkward iteration, sending the bad boys of Shinjuku back a hundred and fifty years into Japanese history with Yakuza: Ishin. A changing of the guard one might say as the time period covers when the old Tokugawa Shogunate faced its final days and made way for the Meiji Restoration.
Protagonist Kazuma Kiryu has manifested the body of Sakamoto Ryoma, one of Japan’s most beloved samurai who sided with the rebellion. Other familiar faces pop up as historical figures, and the game plays out much like a normal entry would, just with a samurai twist.
Tokyo has been replaced with the city of Edo, Tokyo’s old name, and mini games like baseball and crane games have been replaced by woodcutting and other activities popular during the age.
For what it’s worth, Sakamoto Ryoma was assassinated before the rebellion was successful, leaving most fans of the series probably wondering how SEGA plans to tackle that point in history and how far into the rebellion the plot will go.
Yakuza: Ishin will be released for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 in Japan. No word yet on a localization, but wouldn’t it be nice to finally play a major Japanese game on that expensive Japan-produced PlayStation 4 you bought?