When I was asked how I’d feel about reviewing something meaty with a lot of 4 fingered action I was a bit taken aback and I wasn’t sure this was that kind of website! Luckily I was just being offered my first foray into the Yakuza series.
I was intrigued from the off. A Game that came out on PlayStation 3 & PlayStation 4 in Japan nearly 2 years ago finally being released in the UK. Sounds tasty!
Yakuza 0, despite being a prequel, is the 6th Game in the Yakuza series (not including the non-canon Yakuza: Dead souls. The Series, Brainchild of Toshihiro Nagoshi began its life on the PS2 in 2005 then following ex-Yakuza member Kazuma Kiryu (Known throughout the series as ‘Kiryu’. In Yakuza 0 we see a younger, perhaps brasher Kiryu as he gets to grips with life inside and outside the ‘Family’.
The short version I’ve been telling anyone who’ll listen is this game is mental. It’s balls to the wall, multi style fighting – japanerotica watching (I did it for the trophy and review purposes, ok!) -Tiny car racing – dance off wrangling – pseudo karaoke jamming Mental.
Kicking off with a debt collection gone awry in a shady back alley, Yakuza zero takes you through the Fictional Tokyo district of Kamurocho, smashing up delinquents, goons et al while helping the random characters and uncovering nefarious plots and a healthy lump of backstabbing.
Visually the game doesn’t do much as a PS4 game, being as how it’s essentially a PS3 port that’s hardly surprising, but it’s interesting nonetheless. Musically its ambience is understated until you jump into a fight (which happens at an alarmingly high frequency, don’t wander the streets of 1980’s Japan unless you’re Chuck Norris) at which time Overdriven guitars make sure you’re aware you’re a bad-ass and you need to break some fools.
There’s also a secondary protagonist, Goro. Super slick Yakuza exile and manager of the greatest club in Osaka, adding a nice contrast to the brashness of Kiryu.
If I’m honest, there are a few things that really bug me about Yakuza 0. First off is the map. WHO ON EARTH MADE THAT THING?! It’s un-intuitive, there’s no way to mark checkpoints, it’s infuriating! Second, is the ‘open world’ premise. It’s several small slightly
Closed worlds, and that feels quite restrictive.
The game is a blast however, and negatives aside, it’s a lot of fun to play, and for those of us not used to the series, it’s something really interesting with a fair bit to offer. I’m not far enough to think about repeat playthroughs, but I reckon it’s one that may well be worth going back to.
Midlife Gamer Rating: 7.5/10 Format: PC Release Date: Out Now
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided with a review copy of Yakuza 0 for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of two weeks. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.