Hood Story: Kaito Yamazaki (PC)

Like a swift uppercut, Hood Story Kaito Yamazaki drops out of nowhere to offer up a cheap & cheerful take on the likes of SEGA’s Yakuza. With a new life for Kaito & his girl waiting at the end of this rumble through Osaka, will you be the last one standing? Lets find out.

Hood Story will see you taking on the role of Kaito Yamazaki, a Japanese delinquent from Kamagasaki, Osaka, who looks to quit the thug life to be with his girl – who just so happens to be the daughter of a rival gangs boss. You journey will see you having to navigate the challenges of love, friendship, and violence as you help Kaito regain control of his life.

The story is alright but its not really a pull for the game. I didn’t really care much for Kaito’s path to leaving the gang life, so as long as you ain’t expecting Yakuza levels of plot twists & turns then you should be fine with it. The story does have different endings depending on your choice towards the end, something to keep in mind. Some of the side quests ca have amusing situations, even if they usually are simple tasks, but with their being 3 areas to explore you can find enough to do other things to do – especially with the random events. These areas ain’t huge mind you, and the game can be done in around half a dozen hours, but there’s still fun to be had in that time.

While the game looks generally good, there is something about it that seems off, most likely the character models & animations which can sometimes seem a bit goofy. This is at odds with most everything else. The towns you’ll explore are crazy detailed at times and you’ll likely check every corner of each for the small details. Helping with this is the addition of some modern rendering techniques like GTAO and raytraced reflections, the raytracing doesn’t seem to apply everywhere tho as some places still have the ol’ SSR reflections.

The audio side of things is decent, there’s a good soundtrack and plenty of voiced dialogue. There’s some rumblings online about it being AI generated, but aside from sounded off on the odd occasion, it doesn’t bother me as its preferable to none. Performance was generally fine on my system (R7 5800X3D/32GB/RTX 3090) at 4K/60 with DLAA smoothing out the edges. DLSS could be used to get around 100-120fps, but it would sometimes bug out and have the game run in slow motion for me. 60fps is fine for this.

While there’s quite a few activities to take up as you explore the few districts on offer, you’ll often find yourself getting into a scrap with various unscrupulous fellows. Once a fights kicks off the game switches to a beat-em-up style as the camera pans around to side-on and enemies come from all sides. You pretty just have to beat everyone up to end it, simple punch and kick combo’s will drop most, but you can also build up a special meter and start suplexing and power-bombing foes – worth it for the funny ragdolls. If push comes to shove there’s always weapons too if you need to separate some guy from his teeth for a quick end to the fight

When not getting into bouts, there’s plenty of other things to pass the time as the clock ticks by each day. You can do some forklift driver work like Shenmue, or head to some arcades and bars as with Yakuza for example. While not all activities play well, the arcade in particular has some fun derivatives of classics you enjoyed back in the day. You’ll need plenty of money to enjoy life with bowling, karaoke etc so the work and side quests will get more – there’s even some backstreet pachinko for those that like to live dangerously. New clothes and accessories can be unlocked too, so you don’t always have to blow it on fun, but on the flipside it can be expensive to look good.

Hood Story doesn’t shy away from its influences, so this can come across as the Shenmue & Yakuza we have at home, as your mom would say. Sure that means we have something that plays out similarly enough, only jankier, but as you play you will at least realise its hearts in the right place, There’s plenty to do surprisingly within the stories runtime that doesn’t seem at odds with the game price of entry, so if you’re one that can overlook thr rough edges something can have – you may find much fun on the streets of Osaka

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Geoffrey Wright

Rocking the world of gaming since the Atari 2600, has now settled down to bask in the warmth of moe. Moe is life for a moe connoisseur.