"Join the Tojo": Yakuza 0 Review
Yakuza 0: Join the Tojo
By Justin Blowers
Introducing the undisputed world heavyweight tower battle champion, Kazuma “Dragon of Dojima” Kiryu. For those not familiar with the tower battle champ, Kiryu is the main protagonist of the Yakuza series this includes Yakuza 0, which launched in North America on January 24, 2017.
Yakuza 0 is a prequel to the entire series. This game chronicles Kiryu’s and Goro Majima’s, Kiryu’s antagonist and friend, rise in the world of the Yakuza. By antagonist and friend, I mean that Majima is always an antagonist until you beat him in a fight, and then he helps you out. If you’ve ever wanted to get into the series now would be the time. Not only because Yakuza 0 launched this month, but also because Yakuza Kiwami, a from the ground-up remake of the original Yakuza game, is confirmed for this year well.
If you’ve never played any of the games in the series, allow me to quickly explain what the series is. The series is a sandbox game with an overarching story, which locks you in further as the game progresses. The games, especially Yakuza 4 onward, are well-known for their kooky side quests and sub characters. The story itself, while being straight-forward, is known for being over the top as well. While the endings can be seen as predictable, the middle of the stories are anything but.
One of the highlights of the series is the Club Sega buildings featured in every game. Each Club Sega comes with its own fully playable Sega arcade games, which change every game but include the Sega UFO Catcher, Virtual Fighter, Out Run, etc. In fact, the only confirmed PS4 release of Virtual Fighter 5 is through the Yakuza 6 game coming to North America in 2018. It even has fully functional online playability through Yakuza 6 but only through share play.
The combat system is a fast paced, 3D beat-em up style with over-the-top, hard-hitting, even cruel finishing moves known as Heat Moves. You only have a light and heavy attack, but the combos are still fun and dodging feels great. You get xp and level and use your levels to get upgrades. These upgrades include new moves, boosting health, boosting heat gauge, etc. My personal favorite heat moves are the essence of suplexing, and essence of smoking heat.
With the remake of Yakuza, that means all the games except Yakuza 2 can be played on either PS3 or PS4. However, Yakuza 4 does include the cut scenes from the first three games if you’d like to skip straight to it.
In conclusion, if you’re a fan of over-the-top games with a fun combat system, and the games being subtitled only doesn’t turn you away, then give the Yakuza series a try. North America has gone from waiting 3 years for one game to be localized, to getting two localized in one year so this resurgence of the series is the best time to get into it.