This is a prequel entry within the legendary Yakuza series that follows a much younger Kazuma Kiryu and Goro Majima. You get split perspectives that switch back and forth after a couple chapters each. You have the former dealing with a plot against his family, and the latter trying to run a cabaret club. Both are going on separate journeys of sorts, with most of the issues that arise having to deal with this “empty lot”. It’s a precious location, and of great interest to many deadly parties.
This entry sets the stakes for the games that follow it as it helps to develop key characters by further exploring the world they were once a part of. Being a typical Yakuza title this is expansive with many chapters and a surprisingly long run time. It’s also a polished release in that it takes some of the best aspects of the games that follow it and use those mechanics here. There’s a great system for difficulty as it can be somewhat challenging at times. You’re able to easily temporarily drop the level of difficulty after failing a couple times. This is of course a choice, that’s entirely up to you.
This has an interesting narrative to it, and one that’s expanded further if you spend time fooling around to the side of what you’re supposed to be doing. There are many random missions to tackle, characters to meet and fun games to play. You can play retro arcade machines, or even modern mini games such as darts. You must also jump in for karaoke action as that is absolutely hilarious. There’s just a lot to do, I recall one moment where I was a TV Producer stand in which was fun. It’s silly, but still rather serious in the tone and it works well here for one truly unique time.
The combat is quite smooth here and I love that you can change stances on the fly. There are many options for upgrading your skills, and learning new moves along the way. This is mostly through a money earning system, don’t be afraid to buy a snack as well. It feels fluid, is action packed and has fun styles for mini game moments.
The combat works well, with so many unique options for how you battle against others. Whether that’s thugs on the street or powerful bosses. I found the difficulty to be fine, at times hardcore though not too bad compared to other entries. I felt the checkpoints could have been a bit better in some sequences. That aside, visually it’s quite impressive with a good sense of scale to it.
I did notice minor pop-in and some fuzzy aspects that weren’t quite as sharp as they could have been. Still, it’s got a ton of depth within the world, and it captures a realistic feeling world. The streets are full of people, and even late night events are great. It’s a fun area to explore whether it’s a warm sunny day, or a dark night on these bustling streets.
Yakuza 0 is a great prequel for this series, it shows some core characters in their prime and sets up an intriguing narrative to explore. There’s a lot of gameplay here, many missions to go on and of course extra content to engage within.
That ranges from a variety of mini games, to some bizarre neat excursions. The combat system is great in this one, the balance of narrative and story was excellent. I really had a good time jumping back into this world and it’s a good place to start if you’ve never checked out the series before. It may be set before the main events, but serves as just as interesting of a starting point as later games do.
This series has a wealth of experiences to it, and this is a good point to get in and feel the excitement that is the power behind Kazuma Kiryu’s legacy. These games are seriously phenomenal and this is a great one at that. It feels good to play, feels lively and delivers lot of action that has just a nice fine balance of action to it as well. It’s a good time to build a little bit of a real-estate empire, or run your hot cabaret.
Read our Bayonetta Review
View our Yakuza Hub
Yakuza 0 Review on Xbox One X
Review Code Provided by SEGA