Yakuza 0 is an action-adventure game that serves as a prequel to the critically acclaimed Yakuza franchise by Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio and is published by Sega.
Arguably this is the best starting point for new fans of the franchise, but for any returning fans they’ll be happy to know that this is an origin story for fan favorite characters such as Kazuma Kiryu and Goro Majima set in 1988. As with any Yakuza game the main story is truly a gripping tale of drama, violence, betrayal, pain, and sadness. Combined with a phenomenal combat system, amazing voice acting, and a wonderful soundtrack you get the perfect recipe for a story that will have you on the edge of your seat. It truly spins you a story from start to finish that perfectly orchestrates Kazuma and Goro’s paths as they spiral into a beautiful oblivion after each is scorned by their respective families.
Maybe you’ll need a distraction from the mob bosses, car bombings, and just sheer pain of the main story. Well you’re in luck because you can spend some of your downtime on the streets of Kamurocho and Sotenbori. If you find modern open world games to be lackluster in what they offer or the variety in missions, you’re going to love your time with both of these settings and the quests they offer. These neon-soaked streets offer a large variety of the silliest, most over-the-top side quests and characters you could possibly imagine, and then proceed to treat them like everyday occurrences.
Fishing, bowling, real estate, a cabaret club, pool, darts, gambling, karaoke, and most importantly playing with tiny cars. Congratulations now you’re helping Miracle Johnson not get eaten by zombies. Now you’re learning how to be a dominatrix. For the grand finale, why not go get a chicken named Nugget by winning at bowling so he can help you win at real estate. I’m just scratching the surface of the sheer absurdity of these quests and the amount of content available to you.
The beauty in Yakuza is how they really manage to find the perfect balance in all these serious and goofy moments. It all ties together so well in the same world that sometimes I want to continue the main story in desperate need to see what happens, and other times I just want to relax with Majima in the underground fighting arena. Nothing ever feels boring or tedious even if the objectives of these quests may often just be a lot of combat or fetch quests. The main story itself will last you about 30 hours or so and the optional content can last you a good 50-60 hours in the post game “Premium Adventure” mode.
Digging deeper into the combat there’s just something so satisfying about having different methods of fighting for these two characters that just feel so uniquely different from one another but manage to fit each of them perfectly. The combat is fast-paced and never feels repetitive because of the variety offered to you. Kazuma is throwing couches at people one minute and Majima is breakdancing in a flourish of spinning kicks the next. The combat feels brutal and genuinely makes you feel sorry for the waves of gangsters that dare stand in your way. It feels satisfying to me in a way that reminds me of the Arkham games and that’s something that you don’t often see in gaming. One of my favorite parts of this combat is that neither one of the protagonists actually kill anyone, which is made extra funny if you do manage to find a gun to use, but it helps each of them feel like they’re sticking to their convictions and helps later scenes in the main story feel more impactful.
- Fluid and fun combat
- Fantastically written story
- Majima Goro exists
- Character animations are a little dated
Overall it’s hard not to gush about everything this franchise has to offer and Yakuza 0 truly feels like the culmination of experiences that the Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio has learned over the years. It’s the perfect entry point for new fans that offers more content then most open world games could dream of in recent years; with a tear jerking, powerful story that has a deep impact on the series’ later games. It fills in missing blanks of important character’s pasts and why they hold the convictions and beliefs they do. The setting, the characters, the world, the combat, the content, this game has everything you could ever need, and if that wasn’t enough it offers you the chance to play as two of the most iconic protagonist’s in gaming.
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Game & Developer Information
Developer Website: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio
Developer Socials: Twitter
Publisher Website: Sega
Publisher Socials: Twitter
Images – https://www.igdb.com/