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'Yakuza 0' Video Game Review

Brett Nichols

Posted on April 3, 2020 22:26

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A review for the action-packed prequel to the revered Japanese RPG. While the sheer variety of things to do is commendable in of itself, the game's varied and fun combat in addition to its heartwrenching and action-packed story make this a must-play for Yakuza fans new and old.

For the ten year anniversary of SEGA's IP on the crime syndicate of Japan, the developers of the series decided to give its fanbase a look into the world of Yakuza prior to their initial introduction in 2005. Giving a new look on the series' stoic and man's man protagonist Kiryu Kazuma revealing how he rose up the ranks to become an official member of the Yakuza and the "Dragon of Dojima." Though, the developers to not end here. Due to such wide appeal for Kiryu's most revered friend/enemy-Goro Majima has a full-length story as well which tells of his descent into what becomes nothing short of the Joker with an eyepatch who is a member of the Yakuza. These two parallel story arcs are set within 1988-1989, giving the developers plenty of room to create a unique style and growth to these characters that have never been seen.

Story: The story centers around a plot of land that is desired by the various factions of the Yakuza, though, due to a murder (which someone is wrongfully accused of committing), this land is nearly impossible to obtain. A gang war is all but immanent and the protagonists, both in their own way, are right in the middle of it with targets on their heads. It is an intense and emotional journey that fleshes out the two characters so deeply, many fans find this to be the best game of the series.

Features: "Yakuza 0" gives you the classic features, and debatably best combat and story that the Yakuza series has ever had, and that is said about a series that always delivers both in spades. The features included are having the freedom to eat in restaurants, sing karaoke with or without a special someone, play darts, shogi, dancing at disco clubs, get takeout, beat up muggers, run a cabaret, operate a real estate business, brawl in an underground fighting ring only to name some things – this doesn't even include the astonishing 100 side missions spaced all throughout the game. These activities and side missions are accentuated by the great freedom that the developers give having them sprawled between two unique cities – Kamurocho and Sotenbori – the former respectively being Kiryu's main hub and the latter being Majima's.

Combat: While the combat for the Yakuza series has been one of its shining marks, it doesn't get much better than "Yakuza's 0." Both Kiryu and Majima have four distinct fighting styles that range in balanced, heavy, light, and special (the latter being unlocked with a lot of grinding). The styles do well to make the combat fun and experimental, however, while Kiryu's moves are no slouch in variety, it must be said that Majima's styles are the most unique and fun–ranging from hand-to-hand combat, a baseball bat, a knife, to even breakdancing. 

Overall, if you are a new fan or old to the Yakuza series, this iteration beautifully highlights its most defining parts.

Brett Nichols

Posted on April 3, 2020 22:26

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