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I was actually shocked at how little I enjoyed the remake. And now I'm questioning if these games simply aren't for me anymore or if the remake's just straight up worse. It crashing three times and the boss not transitioning properly certainly didn't help.
The whole thing just felt like a braindead shooting gallery with samey enemies and environments. Exploration isn't fun and dumbed down by constantly following a literal line to the next objective and it's way too long. While the weapons are fun to use, lots of enemies just don't behave in an interesting way to make creative use of them all that enticing.
The original game was never scary and I genuinely never understood how one could think it is and the remake doesn't change that either. But at least I always enjoyed the gameplay back on PS3. I might go back and replay the original to solidify my thoughts because I'm confused rn.
I was afraid this would turn out to be a quick money grab. A DLC disguised as a full game to cash in. However, Gaiden turned out to be a surprisingly meaty game. It's hard to measure without just playing the story and nothing else, but to me it didn't feel that much shorter than Y1 or 6 did. Might not be true, but I can't say the story felt rushed or too short and I also didn't feel like it was lacking anything.
The side content did not provide much new, but instead brought back some classics like pool or darts. I did really like the coliseum and Joryu clan thing though and wish it went even deeper. Manually activating your companions skills would've been nice for instance.
The platinum trophy being so easily achievable might trick one to think it doesn't have much to offer, but realistically, if you played all the minigames to the same degree they want you to in the other games and demanding a legend run you'd easily reach 50 hours. By making the trophies easy this turned out to be a welcome breeze.
The new agent style was a really fun inclusion, though it only really starts making sense after purchasing a good amount of upgrades. For the majority of the game I just mainly used the Yakuza style. I'm still not the biggest fan of Dragon Engine combat but it is what it is. I never cared for these games for the combat.
The storyline managed to tell a compelling story that explains the events that lead to Kiryus appearance in Yakuza: Like a Dragon. A timeframe that makes sense to explore and provides some additional context for the action of the Omi Alliance and Tojo Clan. The ending however was a serious gutpunch, carried by the performance of Kuroda. Couldn't help but shed some tears because of it. I feel like they made this story worth it.
As for the upcoming Infinite Wealth ... I'm really excited for it, but I wonder about Kiryus role in it. Definitely feels like they can't quite let the character go and while I do love him too, I really don't want them to ruin his storyline. But so far I have no reason to be doubting RGG.
A huge step-up from the first game. The added crouching and knocking on walls already give this a way more engaging stealth feel, but also the bigger levels, the radar and the different screens, guards can walk between, makes it feels way more like a huge place you're infiltrating.
The progression is not quite as cryptic as it was in Metal Gear 1 ... there were some instances where I looked at a guide real quick, but I'm confident you can beat this on your own without taking ages.
The keycard system luckily got a little better. There are now cards that combine multiple levels, so that you don't have to switch between all of them to try them out on a door. And generally the map/radar helps getting around the map a lot ... I never got lost, like I did in the first one. It's all really neat stuff.
Bosses are pretty well done in this game. Not all of them are great, but you can tell they tried to give all of them a unique gimmick and some of them require a specific strategy to overcome them. The Running Man in particular comes to mind. It's just a bit of a shame that the final onslaught of story-relevant bosses are kind of a cakewalk and especially the last one feels pretty lackluster in terms of gameplay.
The story still isn't nearly as intricate as they'll become later in the series, but there are a decent amount of twists and character moments and I'm pretty fond of the 4th wall breaks, even if they went a little overboard at times.
Good time, I can see myself replaying this one some time.