Thursday, September 8, 2011

Guilty Pleasures - Yakuza 4's Hostess Maker

So, after a certain point in Yakuza 4, while still in the first section of the game where you play as Akiyama, you eventually gain access to a particular mini-game where the manager of Elise, the hostess club Akiyama owns, says more girls are needed for the club to flourish and do more than tread the thin black line, and they'll also need training.  So, Akiyama, being the gung-ho man of action he is (or the man who wants to see all sorts of ladies) tells the manager that he'll do the scouting, recruiting and training to save the club money so they don't have to hire/pay people to do it.

The actual storyline is suspended so you can do this, and apparently there's three different girls you can pick up.  I'm not sure if you can get all three eventually, or if you're stuck with the first horse you bet on, so to speak.  Regardless, you find the girl, and quite easily talk her into working at the club (offering to set her up with a place to stay and to pay for her clothes/training helps, assuredly) and you take her to the club to begin her training.  What follows is, basically, the most unexpected thing you could figure on seeing in a game about running around and punching Gang members, thugs, and other street toughs in the face.

It is an explosion of pink and purple to show, roughly, the screen at the very top of the page here.  In no uncertain terms, the first step of the Hostess Maker process is to "Dress up" your girl, by giving her a dress to replace the oftentimes tacky street clothes she's wearing, changing up her hair style, make-up and giving her accessories such as rings, watches, bracelets and necklaces.  Every piece influences the girls overall look towards one of four categories:  Cute, Flashy, Gorgeous or Conservative, though no piece specifically says what they will raise, leading to some trial-and-error.  (well, some items, such as the "Cute Nails" are fairly obvious, but that's not the point.)

Every girl has five stats, where only three are blanketly necessary for the mini-game where the other two vary after every single thing happens, honestly.  Appearance, Wit, and Conversation are the three skills that matter and start around rank "D", and the other two are Motivation and Stress.  Motivation, of course, is something you want high, and unless you really screw-up you'll be able to keep it up pretty high, but Stress invariably raises through shifts and every now and then (well, the mini-game is played out in three 'shifts' before the results page for that run) you'll need to give them a break in the in-between shifts, rather than train them in Appearance, Wit, or Covnersation skills, lest they start acting a fool on the main floor.  Happy girls are productive girls, after all.

Between shifts, you go around the main floor to listen to the men and hear their desires of the club's girls.  Sometimes they'll want a girl who's dressed cutely, and sometimes they'll want a girl who is good at Conversation, or any other sort of thing, and that, obviously, is what you have to model your girl after, so as to get her the most requests and make her one of your top-earners.  While not always easy to do (Skills only raise one rank at a time, and it's not guaranteed to do so), once you get a skill to B or A, they'll usually fulfill the requirement and I've yet to see a skill go down, though I'm sure it's a possibility.

As I said before, you have three shifts of listen to customers, dress up/train, repeat and after that, you get the results page to find out about the overall Club Earnings, the girls individual earnings, how many times she was requested and other various things, eventually finding out how much of that money she earned is pocket change for the warchest Clothes/Accessory fund.  Because clearly, you want to make more money to get access to more expensive clothes and accessories to get even better results, with the ultimate goal of taking this random girl off the street and making her the Number One girl in the club.

For some reason, it is beyond addicting and I couldn't help but try it again and again (and eventually look up a FAQ to help figure out some values for the clothes) for about an hour tonight.  My girl, I forget her name already, but it starts with an H, didn't rank up -too- much, but she's getting there, and the next time I start, it'll be smooth sailing towards the top, I'm sure.  Unless some issues come up in the meantime that drastically kicks her motivation down or something of the sort.  And it is honestly beyond me why I'm going to keep doing this, especially in a game about punching mans and/or kicking bicycles at mans, but I am doing it and doing it a lot.

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