Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Ryu ga Gotoku Ishin! review

After 94 hours of playing the 11th game in the Ryu go Gotoku franchise in hard mode over the course of 11 days, I was hoping to write about how freaking brilliant this Sakuraba Nanami game was but unfortunately its turned into a mixed bag.


- Sakuraba Nanami bathing scene.

- Sega really packed a crazy amount of content into this game. I liked the Kyoto version of karaoke and Japanese dance although the hardest Japanese dance needs two people playing.

- It was so much fun watching Sega put their own twist to the Sakamoto Ryoma/Shinsengumi story.

- Speaking of twists, the best one was the one I should have seen coming since it was so obvious when the casting was announced.

- I loved how Sakamoto Ryoma actually got the Satsuma and Choshu alliance going.

- Bloody awesome to play such famous incidents such as the Teradaya inn incident, Omiya inn incident and the burning of Kyoto. The 2nd half of the game really got my blood pumping. (until the end chapter)

- Unarmed fighting style is Bayonetta-like, albeit not as graceful.

- 60 fps really helps with the tight parrying/just block timing. No braindead Assassin's Creed mash reversal instant win.

- Majima who is playing the Okita Soji character in this game is gold. He basically saves the game from the boring boy scout Ryoma.

- Mine from Ryu ga Gotoku 3 is the epitome of cool as Hijikata. They need to bring Mine back... somehow.

- Really good side stories which are the trademark of the Ryu ga Gotoku series. Some of my favourites include the little girl farewell, Ryoma playing mom and the ugly samurai.

- Takahashi Katsunori facial expression captures were really good.

- Hirano Aya singing enka, lol.

- The castle storming stage is so ridiculously awesome!

- Playing strip janken and shooting game with Konno Anna. :)

- Tosa-ben sub story.


- The best side stories were mostly in the early 1/3 of the game. In fact, Ishin overloads you with sub stories to do early and they become less and finally stop at chapter 6 before the game ramps up the story. Different formula from the previous games where the pacing is more even but at least you can complete any sub story in later stages.

- The free PS Vita app is an interesting idea; load your save game onto your Vita and you can play mini games, dungeons on your way to work/school in Japan. Unfortunately there seems to be input lag or somehow the cooking mini game has different timing. You do get free mahjong, koi koi, shogi etc for free on your Vita, even if you don't have the game.

- Dungeon battles are necessary for getting weapon forging parts but its lags on the Vita and you have to use the back of the Vita which has touch points as replacement for the L2 and R2 buttons. Not responsive at all.

- The dungeons are basically Ryoma equipped with power up cards which you need to level up in order to beat bosses that can kill you with one or two blows. I basically either had to level up my cards (boring grinding) or played strafe, dodge and shoot with a pistol. (Not as boring as grinding your cards but beats getting killed in one blow)

- It takes a long time to get access to the fun moves and Kenzan was more fun.

- Another life with Haruka became a grindy distraction in the end. They should have given her a bigger side story instead.


- Sakuraba Nanami's part is the 2nd worst written in the game. Whoever wrote her and Ryoma's stuff obviously never heard of the 'better to show than to tell' rule. We don't need the okami of Teradaya telling the player Oryo has a thing for Sakamoto 10 times when I can't see nor feel it.

- The final chapter and ending that should not have been in the game. Sega wanted to make the story mean something more and just destroyed the great momentum that they had building. The big fight should have been settled at the level before the last when the momentum was strong. Let's just say the baddie who has caused so much death and suffering with the words love and forgiveness and then to make things more anti-climactic, we get a surprise history figure as the 'true' baddie that I didn't give a crap about so Sakamoto Ryoma can preach a lot. Ishin had so much story momentum in the second half and it.... just..... came.......... to ....... a........ screeching..... halt. And what happened to the white hair?

- What's worse than fetch quests? Quests where you have to fetch the same thing 6 times for the same person and no, you can't give it to the NPC in one go. You have to go into the nearest building and come out again to reset and repeat.

- I did all the side quests and I still don't have all the skills in game? WTF? Who the hell balanced this thing? If I did all the sub stories, I should have access to all the special moves. I hate grinding games. I died a few times early which is good (since I played on hard) but once I forged my weapons, it was easy except for high level dungeons which require powerful cards.


- Why did they use the 40 year old Kiryuu Kazuma face instead of the younger Kiryuu from Ryu ga Gotoku 1 and 2? Ryoma was supposed to be 31 when he died. Ryoma and Oryo look like erojiji and girl doing enjyou kousai.

- The Disneyfied eyes of the final villain. WTF?!


Gotta applaud the effort. They tried to do too much, but that's always been the hallmark of the series I guess. Its still a very fun game though and I enjoyed most of it, except the end. IMO, Kenzan is a much better game.


Poured another 10 hours into this getting all the revelations but still not being able to access all the moves. I hate that they designed the game so that you can only max out one fighting style. Ggggrrr. The system works similarly to FFX's sphere grid. Each fighting style has a spherical grid to unlock moves and bonuses and you get one point per level of fighting style and another point for your general level which you can use in any grid.

Problem is, fighting style level maxes out at 25 and I can only slowly get new moves through upgrading my level. I have gotten all the sword abilities and you upgrade again all the way to level 50 but its going to take way too long to complete the abilities for the other styles.

I like games that force you into choosing certain tech trees for your character but limiting the me from getting everything movie by making it grindy? Ryu ga Gotoku has always been about doing sub stories to get experience points but turning it into a grind fest is so sad.  Worst of all, it forces me to stick to sword style because it is the only style I have unlock to post level 25. Why Sega, why???!!!!!


Anonymous said...

No mention of Anna Konno or did I missed it somehow?

But seriously I heard no hostess missions in this game so I'm holding out for the time being.

Akiramike said...

The Konno Anna parts are just a bunch of entertaining minigames without a story. Yeah, the no hostess mission was disappointing. I mean, they had the four Bakumatsu Girls promoting the game who should have been in it a lot more.

Anonymous said...

Maybe team RGG ran out of ideas on how to improve the hostess missions.

It took them 7 games before you can actually take them around on actual dates in RGG5 and even then, its almost exactly the same as taking Haruka around in the previous games.

Is the game engine improved from RGG5? The gangfight in the pier at the end of Kiryu chapter was the only epic brawl in RGG5, I really wanted more!

Akiramike said...

The biggest improvement for hostess missions in 5 was it was fully voiced. They already packed a lot of stuff into Ishin and there is one part you can take a certain someone around on dates.

There are no huge one man against 100 fights like in RGG5 though you do get certain powerful crowd control moves towards the end. Its basically the same engine with more emphasis on parries/timed blocks.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for this review! As we will never get more Yakuza games in the west I'm currently waiting for my import of Kenzan, Ishin and Ryu ga gotoku 5 from Japan (which you can get surprisingly cheap).

I know I'll run straight into the language barrier, but I like the five games I've played so much I'll give it a try. Abd thanks to a dedicated fan base we get fantastic walkthroughs with the infos you'll need as a non-speaker.

Akiramike said...

Ishin and 5 are my favourites. You've got 4 months to finish the games cause Zero comes out in March!

Akiramike said...

Oops, I meant Kenzan and 5.