Yakuza 0 | The Sting Review

The prequel game to the original Yakuza. It is set in the 80s

The prequel game to the original Yakuza. It is set in the 80’s

TJ Lyons, Sting Reporter

Yakuza 0 is an action-adventure game published by Sega in America in 2017 as a prequel to the original Yakuza game, which was released in 2006. The story takes place in Japan during the 80s, where it also takes a unique twist from its precursors, in which the game features two protagonists; Kazuma Kiryu, the main character of the series, and Goro Majima, a recurring antagonist and comic relief in later games. In Kazuma’s side of the story, he leaves the Dojima family due to a shakedown gone wrong, in order to protect his adoptive father, and head of the Tojo clan, from being punished. Kazuma later finds out it was a setup, and fights to get back in and to prove that it wasn’t him. In Majima’s side of the story, Majima works a club in order to pay off a debt to his clan so he may rejoin the Omi Alliance after being banished.

The game has an open-world exploration that allows for different encounters, like side quests and boss fights. The combat in this game is superb with each character having three different fighting styles; eventually unlocking a fourth one for completing an in-game side story. Each combat style feels smooth and fun to play as, albeit, it is flawed because some are better than others. Each of them still feel great, and have their uses, but what purpose would your fists serve if you didn’t have any reason to throw them?

The story of Yakuza 0 is hailed by fans of the series to be the best story line out of the entire seven-game series; soon to be 11. The dialogue is some of the best writing in a game that I have ever seen. The story line itself is intriguing, making me want more and more with every chapter I complete. It has memorable characters, which one of my favorites in the series only appears in this game. Its side quests are also a mix between fun to watch and fun to beat, each created with unique endings. Most of the time, however, the “make it or break it” feeling that emanates from these scenes is also done in part by its amazing soundtrack.

The music in this game is something to die for. It has almost everything, from songs that play during some of the saddest moments in the game, songs that get you pumped for an incredibly difficult fight, and lighthearted songs that go along with the moments in the game that make you feel like saying “What..?” There is music seemingly for every feeling this game will make you experience. Some of the most memorable music comes from Yakuza 0’s various minigames.

Throughout every Yakuza game, there are plenty of minigames, a recurring one being the internet-famous karaoke minigame. In this, you can select songs and play a short rhythm game to them. One of the most popular, “Baka Mitai,” took the internet by storm around early 2020 to late 2021. Yakuza 0 also features other things, such as a variety of Japanese board games, darts, baseball, fishing, and other, more odd games.

Other than my one little nitpick about the combat mechanics, this game is perfect. I would even go as far to say it is one of my favorites in my library. The music is absolutely golden, most of the minigames are fun to play, the combat is great, and I legitimately cried at multiple parts of this game. If you are a fan of action games in general, I would say that this game is a must-have. If I had to give it a rating, I would give it a 10/10. I would take a point off for the unbalanced nature of some of the fighting styles, but the only other game that has this style of combat has that lack of balance much worse. That will be a topic for a later review, however. Until next time!