So in the past few months, I've gotten review codes for several RPGs and longer games. In an effort to actually show that I am (slowly) working on going through them, some will get broken into two posts, one about early impressions I have with the game, then a more full-featured review when I've put a lot more time into the game. Yakuza 5 seemed like a good candidate for this, since I was told to "take my time" with it, in an effort to see and review all the game has to offer.
Firstly, I have not played any previous Yakuza games. Sure, I've wanted to, but never bought one or got around to trying one. I thought they were more open world games, something very much like Sleeping Dogs, but they aren't. There are times you can roam around, but you can't just do whatever you want, willy-nilly. There's usually an actual goal, like get something at a store or go home for the night.
It's actually a very story-driven game, which surprised me. Even though this is the fifth entry in the series, there was enough explanation during the first sections that I got a sense of what was going on and who certain people were. I didn't feel aliened (yet, that could change) as a new player, which I really appreciate. It's likely that if I had played the others, I would get a greater understanding, but so far nothing has been confusing. Anything that needs explaining has had just enough that I get it, but not so much that it brings the story to a halt.
There is fighting in the game, and it is more like a 3D brawler. You get combo moves, a block and even special "Heat" moves when a meter is filled. You can even grab guys off the ground or just stomp on them. My first fight ended when I did a giant swing to a prone opponent (it was a Heat move), but it didn't have the full space. So, I just smacked him into the wall (ouch), dropped him and did a jumping stomp. It even has that Batman: Arkham style slow-mo camera for the end, which can make dramatic endings that much cooler.
The enemies quickly learned to block, so we will see if the combat gets annoying or stays fun. I'm anxious to see how the rest of the game turns out, but so far I'm liking Yakuza 5. Kudos that the fifth entry isn't confusing to a new player!