Some Thoughts on Several Hours With The Very Good Crime Boys of 'Yakuza 6'


#1

Spoilers ahead!

Yakuza 0 and Kiwami made up the majority of my gaming hours over the last few months, and have made me a loyal fan of the franchise with their humor, stories, characters and settings. I pretty much obsessed over Yakuza for the entire end of 2017, and still think about these wonderful games at least once a day. I’ve had ‘Baka Mitai’ stuck in my head for like three weeks. My early 2018 plan was to make my way through Yakuza 2-5 before diving into 6, but I got a preview code early and could not stay away.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/evmx5m/yakuza-6-selfie-mode

#2

I’m 10ish hours into Yakuza 0 and I feel the SAME WAY. This game is something special. It straddles that Metal Gear line of self serious and silliness EXTREMELY well.

That said, I don’t have enough “game time” to play through all the games up to 6! I suppose I’ll just play them out of order and catch up as Kiwami games come out.


#3

The last time I played Yakuza was the original game back in the PS2 days, but bounced off when I kept running into random encounters whenever I tried to go anywhere. Is the random encounter rate still ridiculous these days? I also acquired Yakuza 4 and 5 through PS Plus, can I just start with those games or will I be completely lost?


#4

Yakuza 4 is actually a pretty good jumping on point, because it includes video summaries of the first three games you can access from the main menu!


#5

In the earlier games you get into fights less if you keep a low profile by walking by a group instead of running, in the later games you run fast enough that you can just choose to avoid a fight if you want. Kiwami 1 is the only one I played where I felt like I was running to dudes every five seconds at points.

I think Yakuza 5 balanced it the best. You get a lot of very powerful heat moves very quickly, and the fights are often against a large number of very weak enemies instead of a few tougher ones, so you can really steam roll through folks. It also has more pre-set enemy placement so you can just avoid X street corner when you don’t really like running into Y gang. I think 5 would be my favorite game in the series if the pacing and writing were better. The little moment to moment interactions and conversations are generally really good but the overall story has too many playable characters and it feels like you switch chapters every time one character’s story is just about to get good. The combat in it is just perfect though.

I’ve been really obsessed with these games since the first one, it’s been awesome to see its popularity very very very slowly grow in the US over the years and all the positive attention Yakuza 0 has gotten in the US. Like it feels like yesterday I was begging Sega to bring Yakuza 3 over. :heart:

Even knowing the general plot of the games, I’d still recommend playing all of them (except 1 and 2 since we now will have Kiwami and Kiwami 2) but maybe not one after the other because they all have a couple of unique cool things in them. Even the combat feels subtly different in each because of little changes to how the upgrading effects your abilities and how beneficial it is to have a full heat gauge and stuff.

One thing I will say, 3, and 4 have much shorter stories than the rest, so if you don’t want to really lose yourself in the mini-games or perfect every karaoke track with practice they’re not that long to get through.

Some people hate 3 for how long the opening parts are but I liked Ryukyu a lot. It was a little more interesting to be in this sunny friendly vacationy place and then still find all of the sleazy bullshit and corrupt political dealings and stuff under it, and the game does a good job intertwining that with the local culture. It also has one of the most annoying boss fights in the entire series though. 3 also very importantly has the most brazen Don Quixote endorsement of the entire series. :smiley:


#6

Yeah the encounter rate absolutely sucks. I’m in the final chapters of 0 right now and it really undercuts the story (and is absurdly fucking annoying) when I literally cannot walk more than a block without getting attacked by jacked up fuckheads for no reason.