Yakuza 0 Review – Enter the Dragon
The latest iteration of the Yakuza series goes back in time, before Kazuma Kiryu became known as the Dragon of Dojima. It also marks the first time in the series players will be able to control Goro Majima in the mainline Yakuza story. Check out our Yakuza 0 review here.
Yakuza 0 ReviewYakuza 0 starts off with you running a job for a loan shark as Kiryu. You are hired to rough up somebody who hasn’t paid their debt, and bring the money back to the loan shark. After you do the job, you return to your boss and receive word that the man you beat down has been killed, and the police assume you did it. From there, you must prove your innocence and clear out of your yakuza clan so you don’t bring the heat down on them. Majima, on the other hand, has already been kicked out of the Yakuza, and is trying to earn his way back in. He runs an extremely successful night club called The Grand. After earning 500 million yen in profit, he is told he can buy his way back in only to be denied once more. Now he is given a dark task to complete if he wants to earn his spot back in the Yakuza. The two stories eventually meet up in a satisfying and surprising way.
While the story is pretty hefty in Yakuza 0, the meat of the game comes from the combat. It’s a pretty simple system that even new players can get into. You have you basic square and triangle combos that lead to various different strong or fast attacks. What separates this from the other Yakzua games is the stances. Both fighters have three stances they learn through out the game, with a hidden fourth they can learn after completing certain things in game. Kiryu has the brawler stance, rush stance, and beast stance. Majima has the thug stance, slugger stance, and break stance. Learning which stance suits you best for any given situation is the key to taking down some of the tougher enemies. For instance, If you are in an alley with a ton of bikes, you will want to use the beast stance on Kiryu to quickly grab them and beat enemies down. On the other hand, tight corridors will make it harder to swing your bat around in the slugger stance with Majima. As you play around with the stances, you will learn what suits which situation best.
Side content in Yakuza 0 is everywhere. Between the two characters, there are 100 side missions to take on and plenty of friends to be made. In most games, a side mission will just have you go fight some enemies and return for your reward. In Yakuza 0, each side mission is like a mini story in itself. Sometimes you will be saving someones daughter from a cult, and other times you will exchange telephone cards with weird strangers. Not every mission will pay off, but the ones that do can make a huge difference in the core mini games you can do later in the game. These are also good ways to earn extra equipment early on, before buying everything in sight.
There are two main mini games in Yakuza 0: the real estate business and the cabaret club. While Kiryu is trying to prove his innocence, he is also working as a real estate agent. Here is where the friends you earned from doing various side missions around the city will pay off. They will help you run the place and protect your turf. Some of them earn you extra cash, some help you when improving buildings and some will even fight with you when you are attacked on the streets. The club is where Majima will earn most of his cash. Most of the girls you helped out previously during side missions will come work for you at your new club. They will range in stats, but all of them are helpful to fill up your roster. Both of these mini games will earn you massive amounts of cash during the game if you do them in their entirety.
Side missions, real estate, and clubs aren’t the only side content open to players. The game is filled with all sorts of little mini games to do. They have an old Sega arcade where you can play Space Harrier and Outrun. There’s also a bar where you can play pool and darts for cash. Ever wondered what Kiryu would look like dancing? Wonder no more, because you can go disco dancing when you have the time. You can even participate in cat fights, which are just basically rock-paper-scissor battles where you watch half-naked women fight. There is so much to do you that you probably won’t even try it all. Mahjong and shoji are also in the game, but we had zero idea how to play either of those.
Graphically it looks good and average. It was originally released on the PlayStation 3 in Japan, and it does show during some parts of the game. When they want the cutscenes to look good, boy do they look good. The faces are really detailed, the animations are on point, and environments thrive. On the other hand, when you are just running through town, some of the faces look bland and, in some cases, just plain bad. Honestly, it didn’t detract from the game experience that much for me, but the difference between the cutscenes and the rest of the game is something everyone will notice. Also, the game is only in Japanese with English subtitles, for those of you who care.
Whether you are a first time Yakuza player or a series veteran, Yakuza 0 impresses on multiple levels. If you are looking for a new action-packed adventure, go pick up Yakzua 0 and see what all the hype is about.