Yakuza 6: The Song of Life PS4 Review
There are two reasons that people play Yakuza games, those being the immersive world and the complex story with deep characters and an ever-expanding cast. In the last year Sega was gracious enough to release three Yakuza games in the west, this being the most recent title – the others being a remake and a prequel that we have already covered on our site. With the games that came before this the story was inspiring, and the world was fleshed out to new extremes. The problem is that this Yakuza 6: The Song of Life had to come out in their wake and doesn’t live up to that hallmark in one of the categories.
The one thing that is on point with Yakuza 6 is the story. For a serialized plot that would fill several books and has now filled seven games (0-6), it is impressive that at its core everything remains interesting. The games also manage to not just ignore past events either, as characters in them will constantly have call backs to past events as their motivations and actions throughout. But probably one of the most defining factor about the Yakuza series is that nothing, and no one, is permanent. The most important thing in the game is the story, and if that means that some of the characters must suffer they will—and the main cast in these games are fully familiar with the concept of suffering.
Visually the game is using the same engine as Zero and Kiwami, so everything looks rather impressive. The menus inside of shops have gotten a once over to make navigating them slightly easier, as has the main user interface. Also of note the game no longer requires the player to hunt down a payphone to save the game, and while plentiful in the previous games it was kind of annoying to have to stop and find a place to do so at times. The way that the Kazuma levels up is slightly different, but only the devoted to the series will really notice any drastic to a negative there as the combat system is still rather solid and fun.
But the combat system is where the game also starts to show some flaws. Normally in the game there are tons of items that the player is able to pick up and beat the NPCs down with without issue. Those returning to the game will notice that many of them, namely motorcycles, are no longer able to be interacted with –although they can be destroyed if attacked. This oddity extends to other parts of the game as well, such as going to club Sega has a plentiful amount of games – the inclusion of a full version of the newest release of Virtua Fighter 5 for example – but no UFO catchers. The problem is that in some areas there are UFO catchers that can be even seen, they just can’t be used in any way. This problem is similar to the vending machines as there only appears to be soft drink machines, and gone are any other types.
If this would have been the first Yakuza game played, aside from being very confused about what is going on with the plot at times, it would have been a staggering and mind-blowing feat. The issue starts to become when it has to compete with itself, and not just itself but with titles that have come out very recently as well. This is by no means a bad game, and should be played by any fan of the series as this is the last entry for the main character of the series. But this also means that anyone who is new to the series should either start with Kiwami or Zero instead of this one.