Your childhood friend is missing, you've been framed for a crime you didn't commit and the entire Japanese underworld is hunting you down, yet it seems that it's just another day in the office for your character Kazuma in Yakuza on the PlayStation 2.

With cutscene after cutscene some gamers will wonder whether or not Yakuza is actually a game and unfortunately by the time you have got through the badly acted sequences and then the numerous load screens you'll be left bitterly disappointed.

It the same old same old here with the chance to improve your fighting and shooting skills as you go and aimless wonder around a "authentic" Tokyo.

The problem is pace, or major lack of it. The game pretty much plays out like this:

After spending some time running around the sprawling, but not load free maps, you'll come across a couple of bad guys, see some more load screens and then fight then arena style (although you are still on the street). A couple of button presses later said bad guys are defeated and you move on to the next cut scene, before once again given the chance to roam around those sprawling maps.

It’s a tiring process (so much so we actually fell asleep playing this game).

Perhaps realising its weakness, i.e., no worth while gameplay whatsoever, Sega has filled the dialogue, which is voiced by ex Star Wars legend Mark Hammill and Reservoir Dogs front man Michael Madsen, with bad language that is so out of place.

"I'm going to f**k you up!" says the president of a charity organisation you've just taken money from before another couple of load screens interrupts.

It's clear its only inclusion is to get the 18 rating certificate to woo 13-year-old boys who still think swearing is cool.


A poor storyline, too many cut scenes, badly dubbed audio and only okay graphics makes Yakuza one to avoid at all costs.

In fact we've probably wasted too of our lives playing it and writing up the review already.