Yakuza 0 review
80’s Tokyo simulator.
Tokyo will always be an everlasting icon for the weird and wonderful, and Yakuza 0 manages to capture that essence in a decade where technology and culture was on the rise in Japan. Along with the two main protagonists Kiryu Kazama and Goro Majima you will be going into a deep storyline prequel introducing them both and ultimately where they are at the beginning of the yakuza crime organisation. You turn them into ultimate badasses fighting through 1000s of thugs, goons, delinquents and the occasional gold suited rich guy and I promise you will have fun on the way especially when you free roam the detailed hub world.
1988 and Kiryu the well-known face of all yakuza games is a junior yakuza member collecting debts and generally beating up whoever the finger is pointed at. But one job goes horribly wrong as kiryu is accused of a crime he didn’t commit, is on the run and must prove is innocence. Meanwhile in another part of Tokyo Goro is running a highly successful club called cabaret grand which under the skin is really ensnaring him. He is forced by his ex-clan boss to work until his debt for betraying his brethren is cleared and along the way must make some morally challenging decisions. You can easily connect to the characters in this game as voice acting is superb and story is well written to feel a connection and want to definitely stick around for the end climax. Between the main storyline you will be introduced to sub stories. There are two main sub stories (real estate for kiryu and running a cabaret for goro) which are very rewarding to invest time into although the story here isn’t as full on rather it feels repetitive and cheesy. Also there are many smaller sub stories which add a lot of time to the game. They have some hit and miss stories and some very bizarre (Mr libido and a guy who is defiantly not Michael Jackson spring to mind) which you may find fun or not really it’s great to see so much dialogue in one game so I won’t complain.
This is the important part to the review and where Yakuza 0 shines, the hub world and fighting styles. Kiryu represents a free to roam part of Tokyo called kamurocho and goro represents sortebri, both are full to the brim of activities and people wanting to start a fight. As you progress through the game and are given full access to each town you should explore to your hearts content. Go bowling, get drunk, sing karaoke, use telephone dating, be a hero and rescue civilians, train with your mentors to name a few. Each activity is fun to play and generally leads to you gaining completion points which can be used to gain extra abilities or assets for your side business. Also activities especially cunning the business will get you stacks of currency known as yen. As you learn through your mentors, yen can not only buy you a nice bit of sushi but also be invested in yourself developing your fighting styles. Yes more than one fighting style in yakuza 0 you get 3 very unique styles per character plus 1 secret fighting style which you need to discover yourself. They play so well you can switch between each style mid fight and are fun to play. You can use environment mid fight to your advantage pick up an object or bring out some tucked away nunchaku, each fight is what you make of it. A good example is Goro learns how to bring breakdancing into his fighting and it is excellent against big groups. You will get into a fighting almost every 30 seconds when walking down the street. You don’t have a nice face apparently which is why when a gang spots you they will run at you and try to attack. Also there will be one tough opponent scouring the streets watch out for him as he will take your money if you can’t fight back!
If you find yourself engaged in the story and having fun doing all the activities spread across the game you can easily find over 100 hours of gameplay here. It will get somewhat repetitive as you try and complete your side quests and earn all completion points, but ultimately you will be rewarded for doing it and will help you immensely in the final story chapter. I finished at 60 hours with 55.7% completion rate so I know I still have along way to go and will enjoy doing so where the characters are at now and where they will finish.
I haven’t scratched the surface of everything to do in this game. It is meant to be discovered and you will find when playing why this has been such a successful series. It’s rewarding and fun to play has a connecting story and so much to do you will want to experience the Yakuza series fully in the future.