Yakuza 0 will have you running around the streets of Tokyo’s Kamurocho district and Osaka, Japan putting you in the shoes of two characters. The first being the series main man Kazuma Kiryu and the other being Goro Majima. Kiryu is an upcoming Yakuza foot soldier which at the beginning of the story is framed for a crime he didn't commit. And then there is Majima, which is the manager of a fancy cabaret club in the hopes of one day earning his place back in the Yakuza circle after being kicked out. It felt good to experience the two different characters which you get to see where they started and then end up in the later games.
Kamurocho itself isn’t very large, but it is alive and riddled with shops, clubs, bars, arcades and more that you're free to explore outside of the story, but expect to hit a few invisable walls that will force you to turn around and go back the other way. When you’re not fighting someone, you’ll be wandering these streets, chatting to people or visiting your local arcade to play a Sega classic. There are also plenty of mini games you can play such as, karaoke, disco dancing, phone dating, underground cat fighting, along with some other questionable content, such as places you can go to watch videos of Japanese women rubbing bubbles over their half naked bodies, but don’t worry if this kind of stuff troubles you, they are optional but feel free to check out the trailer above if you need to know more.
Now, for those that haven’t played any of the previous Yakuza games before, this game isn’t in english, and all dialogue from the characters, which is fantastic might I add, are brought to you on screen, so other then sitting through some cutscenes as the story unfolds, so you’ll be spending a lot of time reading the subtitles.
The combat mechanics in Yakuza 0 are pretty much the same as previous titles, keeping to the old school Japanese style of fighting. Combat is pretty straightforward and based on light & heavy grab/dodge attacks. It can also get pretty brutal, taking enemies down using objects around you like street signs as well using weapons that can be purchased or crafted. Each character can also learn multiple fighting styles that can be switch at any time and are unique to them. These styles can be unlocked with in game cash. Cash can be earned many different way like side businesses such as real-estate deals or even just by completing story missions. Outside the main story missions are substories. Completing these will let you unlock even more combat abilities and even some secret fighting styles. You’ll never run out of things to do in Yakuza 0 with everything making it worth your wild and unlocking that little bit more.
Now, while Yakuza 0 is primarily a single-player game, there is a local & online multiplayer component. From the multiplayer menu, you can play some of the mini games from the single player. Local multiplayer lets you play with up to two people and use either two controllers or just pass around a single controller. There are four games available to play locally which are bowling, darts, pool, and disco. The online component is split between actual online multiplayer and online leaderboards. Online leaderboards, has four different games that you play to compete in online rankings which include Proving Grounds, Melee, Millionaire, and Ultimate. The ones that stood out are, The Proving Grounds which has ten different levels, and basically place you into a room of enemies, with different limitations placed upon your character, and the other being The Millionaire mode, which is a battle mode where you can try to defeat Mr. Shakedown and earn as much money as possible. The other online component allows you to play three different minigames, Mahjong, Cee Lo, and Poker. All three of these games allow for one to four players with any unfilled spots taken up with CPU players.
I’m glad Sony and Sega worked together to bring Yakuza 0 to the masses. Yakuza 0 has a brilliant and interesting story that keeps you wanting more. With so much to do, you’ll easily sink 20+ hours into this game. So if you’ve been unsure about the Yakuza series before, then I urge you to pick up a copy of Yakuza 0 and give it a chance. You won’t be disappointed.