Recently, I’ve been playing through Yakuza 0, the prequel to the Sega’s Yakuza series. Unfortunately, I had missed out on previous Yakuza games and was excited to finally get my hands on this one. So, let’s find out if it lived up to expectations.

The character modelling is beautifully done. You can see so much detail in the characters’ faces, helping to bring them to life. It is probably some of the best I’ve seen in recently released games. Unfortunately, the same level of detail isn’t in the environment texturing, which is understandable in such an open world game.

While it does show the game’s age a bit, it’s something that I ended up not noticing after playing for a while. It’s easy to become completely engrossed in the world that Sega created.

At its very core, Yakuza 0 is a fighting game. You can tell the amount of work Sega has put into the combat mechanics. However, it is possible to still play the game without great skill in fighting games or relying on button mashing. Saying it is just a fighting game, however, is doing Yakuza 0 a disservice, as it is a game that wears many hats.

Ther is a back catalog of retro Sega arcade games that you can play in many of the arcades dotted around Tokyo and Osaka. Players can also become a property magnate, buying and renting out properties around Tokyo, which ended up becoming so distracting I completely forgot about the main story for hours at a time. While in Osaka, you will run and operate a cabaret club and manage the girls who work there. You can also send out people to gather materials and blueprtints for weapons to use in the game. There are dozens of side quests to find just by walking around and finding people to talk to.

The only niggle I had with the gameplay is that it’s a very slow burning game. It will take a few hours to unlock all gameplay areas. Even after several chapters, you’ll still uncover new features. I understand why this is, though, as having it all from the start could be daunting. Plus, it all ties in with the story. You spend time switching between two main characters until you unlock the ability to switch between them at will. Eventually, it’s possible to share resources between the two of them.

I did feel the fighting to be slightly unresponsive, making it more difficult. This became an issue when I would stumble across large thugs. I had to devise a completely different strategy for them depending on the character. For one, I would keep high-tailing it away and, for the other, it turned into a Dark Souls-style boss battle.

Mr. Shakedown the nightmare makerThe story is massive, even featuring fully fleshed out side characters. In addition, side quests take on whole stories in their own right. As it grows, each chapter adding new layers and details, I was unable to put it down. wanting to see what happened next. It caused me to repeatedly say, “just 10 more minutes,” only to find out that 4 hours have passed.

All in all, this is a massive game that aimed high, hitting almost every mark. It has its flaws, but it is definitely worth the time.

Pros

  • Great story
  • Detailed character models
  • Excellent voice acting

Cons

  • Dated world textures
  • Invisible walls blocking off inaccessible areas
  • Fighting can seem unresponsive

Check out my videos below if you’d like to check out some gameplay!

8/10 Stars 

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