The Dragon of Dojima has had one of the most interesting adventures that a video game protagonist can ever have. From living the life at the top of the yakuza, to wanting to live the simple life, Kazuma Kiryu has a lot to be grateful for. However, he also has a lot that he probably wishes never happened. Kiryu’s story continues in Yakuza 6, and we’ll find out if the emotional roller coaster finally ends or if it’s just beginning.
Platform(s): PlayStation 4
Release Date: April 17, 2018
Price: $59.99USD | $99.95AUD
Main Story takes approximately 15 hours to complete.
Yakuza 6 is the final chapter in Kazuma Kiryu’s story. The story kicks off immediately after the events of Yakuza 5, where Kazuma has been arrested by the Tokyo police for his past crimes. Kazuma goes quietly with the officers in order for his adoptive daughter, Haruka Sawamura, who had recently retired as an idol and revealed her connection to Kazuma, and the other orphaned children of Morning Glory Orphanage to live in peace. Fast forward three years and Kazuma is out of prison, but Haruka had left Morning Glory to protect the orphanage, and Kazuma searches for her, only to find out that she had been in a hit-and-run, and suffered injuries while protecting her infant son, Haruto. Now Kazuma must travel to the last place Haruka was in order to find her son’s father, as well as the hit-and-run driver that left Haruka comatose.
What you will notice right from the jump is that Yakuza 6 does not stray from the formula that has made the series a massive hit in the United States. Your typical chain of events in Yakuza involves your main story missions, your sub-stories, mini-games, and mini-fights. It’s an open world adventure, while confined to one specific town or city, that affords you so much in the way of exploration and figuring out exactly how you want to move around. I enjoyed spending time exploring not only Kamurocho but also exploring Onomichi in Hiroshima, seeing what each city had to offer.
Kamurocho is just as you remember it. It’s the red light district, and as with any red light district, amusement and debauchery are abound throughout the streets. All of the standard fares are available, such as Poppo, the 7-Eleven-type convenience store, and Club SEGA, the arcade where you can play arcade favorites such as Puyo Puyo, Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown, Fantasy Zone and more. You also have your hostess clubs where you can build your relationships with the different hostesses, as well as the RIZAP Gym, where you can boost your attributes by working out. I definitely found myself playing a significant amount of Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown and Fantasy Zone at Club SEGA. However, the bright lights and fun to be had in Kamurocho are a stark contrast from the simplicity and working-class environment of Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture.
Onomichi is not a small town, but it has that small town charm. From your first entry into the Onomichi, the working man vibe hits you square in the face. However, there is a lot of history in this part of the prefecture. When you first get into the city, you’re put right by the docks. Onomichi is a shipbuilding town, and it definitely has that vibe. However, there are some hidden beauties in the town that you have to see to believe. One of my favorite things about Onomichi is walking around the area just north of the Hirose Family Office, where the cemetery and shrine are, as well as the observatory deck of Senkouji. The scenery in Onomichi is as breathtaking as Kamurocho’s city landscape and accentuates the natural charm of the city’s working-class nature.
If you’re familiar with Yakuza, you are familiar with the majority of the characters that have appeared in the series. If not, here is a rundown of the main characters of the story.
- Kazuma Kiryu – Also known as the Dragon of Dojima, he is a former member and 4th chairman of the Tojo Clan. After the events of Yakuza 5, he served a three-year stint in prison in order to get the heat off of his adoptive niece, Haruka, and the members of the Morning Glory Orphanage that they manage.
- Haruka Sawamura – A former idol, she retired from the idol scene after revealing her ties to Kiryu during her final concert in an act of defiance. She ends up in a coma after a hit-and-run accident in Kamurocho.
- Haruto Sawamura – The infant son of Haruka Sawamura, taken in by Kiryu in an effort to find his father.
- Shun Akiyama – Kiryu’s closest friend and owner of Sky Finance, he was forced into hiding during Kiryu’s three-year prison sentence
- Makoto Date – A member of the Tokyo Police’s Detective Unit, he has been by Kiryu’s side since the beginning, looking out for the Dragon of Dojima.
- Tsuyoshi Nagumo – The captain of the Hirose Family, passionate about everything he does and everyone under his charge.
- Yuta Usami – A member of the Hirose Family. a quiet, yet sensible young man, he has an unusual investment in finding the person behind Haruka’s accident.
Despite the staggering amount of characters that you encounter throughout the story, the writers manage to keep their individual personalities present in each of their lines. This helped with the immersion factor, creating a story where you can feasibly get behind one character, hate them the next, and then have a bit of sympathy for them. For example, the character development that Nagumo goes through in the middle chapters produces a quite likable idiot-archetype character whose loyalty is unmatched throughout the series. Regardless if it’s Hirose or Kiryu, Nagumo’s undying loyalty and the way he can handle himself made him grow on me.
This is the first game where Kiryu only has one fighting style, but it doesn’t get stale, as the stat building system is extremely simple this go round. Everything you do will provide you with a specific amount of EXP points. Which in turn can be used to level up several attributes such as Strength, Agility, Spirit, Technique, and Charm. Each of the EXP sections tie to either one or two of your stats to help level them up from Rank E (the lowest rank,) to Rank A (the highest rank.) There are also skills that you can learn using the different EXP points, such as different finishing moves and Heat actions that you can perform. EXP points can be earned by playing the game as normal, playing any of the mini-games, getting winning random fights and even by eating at different cafes and restaurants. Your stats and interactions can also be augmented by different items that you receive by clearing sub-stories or buying them at pawn shops. Take the Morning Glory photo that you have from the beginning of the game. When that item is equipped, your chances of getting into random brawls go down slightly, making it a little easier to get from one place to the next.
The fighting is fairly simple as well. Attacks are tied to Square and Triangle, with Circle as your grapple button, Cross as your sidestep, and L1 as your block, with R2 activating Extreme Heat Mode. Your Heat Gauge, which is indicated by the three (or more) orbs underneath your health meter, affords you different actions based on your environment. You can do things such as toss someone off of a building, smash someone into a wall, pole or car, or smashing someone’s face with your boot, before taking a second opponent down with an Ushigoroshi. There are even double team Heat moves that you can perform, depending on who is with you at the time. For example, once you grab an opponent while you’re near Shun Akiyama, you can do a sweet double knee smash once the Triangle button prompt pops up. There are other moves that you can discover and learn throughout gameplay and by leveling Kiryu’s skills up.
Quickly going back to the characters, Yakuza 6 features a crossover with New Japan Pro Wrestling, featuring six of their premier talents in a side-story that you can play beyond the main story. JUSTIS, headed by New Japan’s Kazuchika Okada, is a gang that is terrorizing both Kamurocho and Onomichi, and it’s up to you to push back and defeat Okada, Toru Yano, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima, Tetsuya Naito and Hiroshi Tanahashi, collectively known as the Six Lunatics. Clan Creator is a real-time strategy game, where you take command of a group of ragtag youths and soldiers to push back JUSTIS’ reign of terror in both cities. There are 32 different missions, and they are a quick, fun diversion from the main story, and even provides enough post-game content with the Online portion.
Beyond that mini-game, there is the baseball mini-game, where you have to recruit new members for the Setouchi Warriors baseball team. The objective is to manage the team in a fashion similar to Out of the Park Baseball sim game, with the added touch of going to bat at critical junctures in the game. Also, in a NSFW moment in the game (don’t you dare remote play this at work, just trying to save you your job,) there is a live chat mini-game that gets unlocked after a specific sub-story’s completion, where you chat with different cam girls (recorded video,) and it’s exactly what you think it is. Don’t worry, they don’t go crazy, the game’s rating is Mature, not Adults Only.
Once you clear the main story, which takes about 15 hours, you have the option of either going into the post-game (known as Premium Adventure) or you can take your save file and start a New Game+ mode. There you can start over with all your earned skills and stats intact, as well as the opportunity to play the game on Legend difficulty.
Review Disclosure Statement: Yakuza 6 was provided to us by SEGA of America for review purposes. Another review copy was provided by 5 Star Games (Australia) for review purposes also. For more information on how we review video games and other media/technology, please go review our Review Guideline/Scoring Policy for more info.
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A masterpiece in terms of storytelling, Yakuza 6 is the most fitting sunset to the Kazuma Kiryu saga. Every little feature of Yakuza 6 is enjoyable from beginning to end, and it seems like the team made a point not to make the game feel slow in any way, even with the amount of exposition that this game has. There are moments where you'll laugh your head off and others where you'll be held in suspense, but it keeps it fresh throughout the game. Even the mini-games and sub-stories keep you coming back, increasing the replay value.
- Excellent storytelling from beginning to end
- A multitude of content to keep you coming back for more
- Character development that rivals the best feature films
- I tried my best to find any but couldn't