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The evolution of the Yakuza series

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Sega’s Yakuza is one of the most distinct and charming story-driven action-adventure franchises out there. The series is unassuming at first, mostly seeming like a straightforward action-crime drama. However, each game betrays this first impression, weaving a masterful blend of beat ‘em up combat, intriguing stories full of twists, memorable characters, absurdist humor, and a living world to explore.

Yakuza comes from the mind of Toshihiro Nagoshi, who wanted to create a game telling a story based on Japanese crime syndicates. While the project struggled to be greenlit due to a perceived limited appeal, it eventually got a 2005 release on the PlayStation 2 with its debut entry.

While the series has long garnered a cult following, it achieved Western success in 2017 with Yakuza 0, an inviting new prequel set at the beginning of the series’ timeline. Years later, thanks to continued localization from Sega, the help of memes, and the love of its established cult audience, Yakuza has earned popularity and become one of Sega’s most successful IPs.

With multiple games in the series coming to PlayStation Plus*, now is the best time to become a Yakuza fan. Join us as we highlight each game and how it evolved the series. 

The evolution of the Yakuza series

Yakuza

Yakuza | U.S. Release: 2006 | PlayStation 2

Yakuza Kiwami | U.S. Release: 2016 | PlayStation 4

Yakuza debuted on the PlayStation 2 and introduced us to the longest-running protagonist of the series, Kazuma Kiryu, a yakuza lieutenant that makes it his mission to protect an orphan targeted by a criminal organization called the Tojo Clan. The story that unfolds is gripping, emotional, and exciting, setting the stage for the franchise’s decades-spanning crime saga.

As expected, the first game laid the early groundwork for what makes the series’s gameplay so memorable and iconic now. It takes place in a fictionalized version of Tokyo’s Kabukicho district, known in-game as Kamurocho. At the time, critics praised Yakuza for its authentic depiction of Japanese culture within its setting. While Kamurocho is a relatively small space to explore, it’s densely packed with side quests and activities that offer experience points upon completion, tying into the game’s role-playing mechanics. Everything in the world feeds into the growth of Kazuma Kiryu, allowing you to unlock more perks for the hero.

Yakuza marked an exciting beginning for the then-fledgling series, undoubtedly leaving a mark on those fortunate to play it. The game

Get the lowdown on Fallout 76’s Expeditions before entering The Pitt

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Fallout 76 players are about to venture into new territory. This September, the Expeditions update whisks players to a perilous location outside the wild reaches of Appalachia: The Pitt!

Built on what’s left of Pre-War Pittsburgh, The Pitt is a rough place. The local Union faction is beset on all sides as bloodthirsty Raiders and once-human Trog beasts close in, so grab your friends, pack your best gear and steel yourself…it’s time to go on an Expedition.

Gear up and head out

“Expedition missions are randomized and repeatable story-based missions on the scale of our most epic end-of-line quests, such as the Vault 79 raid at the end of Wastelanders,” explains Steve Massey, Lead Designer on Fallout 76’s Expeditions. “We developed a new Quest Module system which allows us to easily randomize and retheme quest objectives in order to make each mission playthrough feel truly unique and blend seamlessly into the overarching mission story.”

Players can tackle missions either solo or in a group with up to four people – either with friends or by using the new Expedition Public Teams feature included in the update. Players can earn a unique item plan once per week upon completing an Expedition, as well as collect Stamps in order to claim specific items from the reward pool. Players can also earn repeatable rewards including legendary items, Scrip, Treasury Notes and even an all-new method for gaining Legendary Modules.

Call of Duty: Vanguard and Call of Duty: Warzone: Last Stand launches August 24

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Legends never die. Last Stand, the fifth and final season of Call of Duty: Vanguard and Call of Duty: Warzone, gathers Call of Duty’s most infamous villains for an epic finale. In Warzone, Caldera’s Peak rumbles; in Multiplayer, deploy to two new fast-paced maps, Beheaded and Fortress; in Zombies, continue the Dark Aether saga in Vanguard’s round-based finale, “The Archon.”

Last Stand launches on PlayStation on August 24. Read on for the highlights.

Call of Duty: Vanguard and Call of Duty: Warzone: Last Stand launches August 24

Wreak havoc or defend Caldera

A new era of Warzone is upon us, with a major content update along with weather and lighting changes on both Caldera and Rebirth Island.

Peak — Volcanic POI

There are reports of heightened volcanic activity at Caldera. Navigate the transformed Peak as lava pours down its slopes in all modes and blasts into the sky during Operation: Last Call. 

New Gulag

Fight for redeployment in the new volcanic-themed Gulag. Best your opponent in this map inspired by an old favorite and get another shot at securing victory.

Beware the Doomsday Station

Discover this seismic device found within Caldera’s primary Battle Royale game mode. Trigger the device and defend against the incoming soldiers to get rewarded with powerful items and a unique Watch cosmetic for your Operator.

Supply Box UAV

Activate the new Supply Box UAV Killstreak to mark nearby unopened Supply Boxes on the Map for around 15 seconds. Find the Supply Box UAV in Supply Boxes or purchase one at a Buy Station.

Personal Supply Box

Track down this extremely rare crate with the assistance of the Supply Box UAV to acquire a massive XP boost and your favorite Loadout weapons in Warzone.

Rage Serum

This Field Upgrade allows you to become violently unstable, resulting in a viciously effective boost to your close-quarters fighting. Test subjects were shown to have superior melee damage, increased lunge distance, and enhanced stun power while fighting with melee weapons or fists. However, defensive forces have confirmed that while affected by Rage Serum, an Operator becomes louder, and seems to recoil with more confusion while stunned or flashed.

Cursed to Golf is out today on PS5 and PS4

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The time has finally come, Cursed to Golf is out TODAY on PS5 and PS4. It’s been 2 years of hard work and passion to get here. The team and I are immensely proud of our game, and we hope you all take our virtual trip to the afterlife to live out your days in Golf Purgatory. Last time I was here I spoke about the general rules of supernatural golf, the incredible power of the Ace Cards and some of the shenanigans you can get down to in between holes. Today, let’s get down and dirty with some of the more perilous elements of Cursed to Golf. After all, if you want to make it out of Golf Purgatory, it pays to take some risks.

A split screen of three different bosses that lie at each biome’s end: The Scotsman, The Explorer, The Forgotten.The four slot has a question mark.

Who’s the Boss?

At the end of each biome lies its ultimate challenge – the Legendary Caddie that oversees that part of the course. In Purgatory you’ll find The Scotsman, in the Desert you’ll face The Explorer, and the Caves are home to The Forgotten. These golf battles mix up the gameplay slightly and offer up a few differences to the traditional purgatorial golf gameplay you’ll encounter on the rest of the course. Not only do you have to keep tabs on your shot counter, but you also need to beat the boss by sinking your ball before them. However, in addition to Shot Idols that replenish your shot count, these battles include Stun Idols. Smashing through one of these will knock the boss down, making them miss a turn.

These golfers don’t play around, hitting incredible shots that defy the laws of physics! If you want to take down a Legendary Caddie, you’ll need to master your Ace Cards, make use of the best shortcuts, and ensure to smash through a load of totems on your way to the flagpole. Luckily, the boss hole will always stay the same, so you can learn it as you play and experiment to find the best strategy to complete it.

Our golf hero faces off against The Scotsman.

The High Road or the Low Road?

The Scotsman’s hole is designed for his characteristic long drives. It’s also peppered with both hazards and shortcuts both up high and down low, so don’t forget to use your Birdie Eye to get a true lay of the land and plan which road you want to take. Beating The Scotsman will unlock the “Comeback” boon, giving you the chance to place a checkpoint flag once per run. Upon your (almost certain) death, instead of being booted back to the beginning of the course, you’ll be transported back to your flag. Not only that, but you’ll have all the Ace Cards and cash you had when you placed it originally, ready for another swing at the course!

A top down world map, illustrating the use of the Comeback boon once unlocked.

The Dune Sea

The Explorer’s hole is a sand dune filled nightmare, expect to be perfecting your wedge game over there, because you’ll be landing in the bunker constantly. On top of that, The Explorer has a special ability – she can alter the hole right in the middle of it being played. You may land on a suspiciously flat and safe area, only to find a towering dune erupt ou

Meet the four-legged cast of Them’s Fightin’ Herds, out October 18

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Them’s Fightin’ Herds (more lovingly called “TFH”) is a 2D fighting game developed by Mane6, a small team working hard to create an experience both newcomers and veterans of the genre will enjoy together. On October 18, players from around the world can finally join the stampede and play the game on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 for the first time.

Meet the four-legged cast of Them’s Fightin’ Herds, out October 18

Welcome to the World of Foenum

In the mysterious and magical world of Fœnum, all manner of four-legged hooved creatures form societies, develop culture, and train for battle. Different regions and species in Foenum have elected champions to quest for a magical key with the power to lock the Predators away, all while earning glory and prestige for themselves and their own kind. Only one will be found worthy enough to wield this key, and the competition is fierce! 

Gameplay

Them’s Fightin’ Herds is a four-button fighter with Light, Medium, and Heavy attack buttons plus a Magic button to access a character’s unique abilities. Multiple attacks in sequence form combos, which are typically done by going from Light to Heavy then from Ground to Air

Special Moves are executed by performing an attack after a complex directional motion, like in traditional fighting games. Similarly, Super Meter builds during a fight, which can be spent to perform powerful Super Attacks.

Chain together normal attacks, extend your combos with special moves, and finish off your opponent with highly damaging Super Attacks to win the round!

Meet the Characters

Every character approaches combat in their own way, representing a mixture of archetypes familiar to fans of fighting games.

Arizona

Playstyle: Rushdown // Grounded
Difficulty: Easy

Arizo

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