So I finally invested in this game and quickly booted it up today. (Sept 2012)
Upon booting I was informed that an update is available - I refused to upgrade.
Then the game started installing for a good 10 minutes, fortunately during installation your looking at a handheld computer (holograpic tablet computer) and you can browse through some basic game instructions to pass the time. You could also move your head around and explore the surroundings which consisted of a music player to the right and some crates to the left. Unfortunately I couldn't look very far away from the handheld computer.
Finally when the installation was finished I was hoping to be treated to a cinematic intro, unfortunately it just went to the main menu.
The Menu's were quite different from Yakuza... comparable to the tour screens on a Mac computer.
So I hit start and started new campaign.
I was hoping to see a fun movie at this point with cool music:
Instead I got this:
Fortunately the boring briefing doesn't last long and unlike Yakuza it appears the game will be telling the story in-game.
The graphics I have to say look amazing and the controls seem to be nice and responsive.
This is unarguably shaping up to be nothing like Nagoshi's Yakuza, and it does feel like some of the American games i've played such as Uncharted and even Japanese games like Resident Evil 5. You know, cause they have a lot of conversations taking place in game. Unfortunately the voice acting to me at least feels bad, while I am not a huge fan of Uncharted I do tend to enjoy the conversations Nate and the npc's engage in.
Almost a year later I have finished the game.
I formally played the game from April to July. But it really took me the last 3 Days to beat it. Over all I spent about 5 days on my first play through.
Surprisingly the game only had 6 chapters. While the ending I got seemed pretty tight, I googled and discovered that the game has multiple endings.
My shooting skills aren't good, but learning the game mechanics made up for that. The unique shooting mechanic in this game is te Bosonic blast a powerful charge attack that destroys all enemies with in the blast radius and stuns bosses. Mastering the Bosonic blast and regularly upgrading it makes the game a whole fun and easier. I would still like it if the game had a bit of platforming uncharted style thrown in, it would have added more variation in game play.
As I wrote in my hands on that the story wasn't shaping up well, fortunately as you progress it REALLY PICKS UP! The length of the cut scenes also increase. I personally like to relax and watch the story. Don't like games that shove all the story in gameplay, but I do admit Yakuza takes it to far, Binary Domain balances cut scenes and gameplay effecively.
Yes, the story is cliche but I didn't mind it, the one liners worked. As the characters kept using them and made them more like their individual catch phrases. It was super fun when other team mates would use your catch phrases and you would responded the first time you said it.
For example Dan loves to say, "let the good times roll" before a boss battle. To which Faye responds "I hate to see your idea of a bad time". In the next chapter they both switch lines. This happened a lot and I loved it.
Critics say the game has stereotypical characters. I say it just adheres well to cultural archetypes.
I am not giving any spoilers cause I have immediately started playing the game again in order to see a better ending. Unlike Yakuza the story is not extremely convoluted and hard to follow. Though there was this one sci-fi thing which is impossible, and they didn't even bother explaining how they achieved something like that and it pulled me out of the story for a while. I will probably share it once I am done with my 2nd play-through or maybe I will try and beat the game one more time after this and just be an asshole to everybody. Just to see the bad ending... maybe.