Yakuza 0 is probably going to be my pleasant surprise of the year. I had heard of this series and I did hear that it was a good game but I didn’t think that I would like it. Boy was I wrong. I know how this sounds but a big reason that I don’t like Japanese RPG’S or just Japanese games in general is because I like games that are grounded in a little more reality. This game is really weird but finds a way to stay grounded and I think that’s why I liked it so much.
Initially, I was not loving the story but the combat was fun enough that I stuck with it. As the game went along, I started getting more and more into the story. I really liked the breakdown of the game and especially where there was 2 protagonists (Kiryu and Majima). Every 2 chapters you would switch between these characters. It was kind of interesting watching these 2 characters back stories and then eventually the two stories started to become intertwined with one another. By the end, I found it all to be very interesting and my favorite part of the game wound up being the story.
The games combat was broken into 6 different types and both of the protagonists had 3 each. I ended up liking Majima’s combat more because it had my 2 favorite combat battle styles. The first one that I liked was called the “Breaker Style” which was break dancing in fighting form. You would do all of these break dancing moves and they would count as attacks against the enemies. It was kind of stupid but fun to do. Although I really liked the “Breaker Style,” my go-to was “Slugger Style” which was where he had a baseball bat. I ultimately liked this style the best because it was very effective and I had the most success with it.
The game isn’t just story and combat, its a whole open world with a ton of things to do. You can play baseball, you can go to an arcade and play old Sega Arcade games from the 80’s, you can go to a place that has phones where you can hit on women. The weirdest by far there is an “erotic video store.” You pick up these videos out in the open world and then go to this place and watch them. Its so weird because its FMV and the videos are kind of sexual. For example the video that I watched was this girl that was on her knees and very sexually she blew up a balloon for a good minute. It was so odd but the weirdest part is, at the end. The camera cuts to a box of tissues and your character kind of lets out a deep breath.
The game also has 2 more story driven mini-games. For Kiryu, you’re running around buying up real estate and becoming a real estate mogul. I did that for a little while but it wasn’t that fun to do but it was a quick way to make money. For Majima, he would run a Cabaret Bar which is something that I have never heard of before but I guess they’re common in Japan. Essentially a man goes to this bar alone, sits down and then some girl who is a employees of the bar, sits down with him. She then gives him company by flirting and talking with him. It’s very a odd and kind of sad concept but I won’t get into that. I enjoyed running the Cabaret Bar more because there was more to do with it all. You would hire new girls, re-design the club, level the girls up and change their appearance. Plus there was the actual mini-game of actually running the bar. Patrons would come in and you had to pair the customers personality with one of the girls personality. The more you did this mini-game, the more your girls would level up and the more successful the business would become.
This is a game that I can highly recommend, it was fun and the story was engaging. Its everything that I like about video games and I look forward to playing more Yakuza games.