Yakuza 6: The Song of Life Review

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The last chapter in the story of Kazuma Kiryu is finally upon us, but is it a fitting end for this enduring icon?

Release Date April 17. 2018
Genre Action/Adventure
Platforms PS4
Developer Sega
Price $59.99 US
ESRB Rating Mature
Players 1 Player

 

*A copy of this game was provided by SEGA to FYIG for review purposes*

Yakuza 6: The Song of Life is the climax of the story of Kazuma Kiryu, a character that has been the focal point of the entire series thus far. That being said, this is an important game in the series. This game has a bit more of a realistic, or believable story compared to some of the past games in the series. It even looks a bit better than previous games, which is saying something since games in the Yakuza series always seem to look pretty good. It’s a pretty spot-on recreation of Tokyo and Hiroshima. Unfortunately, the combat has been simplified and there aren’t many gameplay additions to speak of. But hey, you can save whenever you want now!

Much like past Yakuza games, the main story of Yakuza 6 centers battles for control between various groups in the Japanese underground. There are a few new protagonists and antagonists introduced in this way, however, many of notable characters from past Yakuza games only have cameo appearances. This didn’t take away from the story, but it would have been nice for some of those characters to have a bigger role. Kiryu’s search for the suspect of a hit and run on his stepdaughter Haruka is one of the more emotional stories we’ve seen in this series, although it did become a bit outlandish by the end.

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It’s Kazuma Kiryu’s swan song.

As you can expect, Kiryu’s search to find the suspect is a violent one. It’s a basic rinse and repeat of going to a point on the map and beating people up until you get the information that you desire. While that would normally be fun, it becomes slightly more tedious with the simplified combat mechanics. There are no fighting stances that work better with different types of opponents, each battle is pretty much the same. I did nearly the same things every battle with a little tweak here and there. I’d either swung a guy around to knock every other person down and then beat them down one by one or I grabbed a weapon and started smashing it over people’s heads. It’s great that it makes the combat easy for newcomers to the series, but it doesn’t offer much for series veterans. There are new context-sensitive attacks to unlock, but these end up being more of a novelty than something you’ll use all the time.

The good thing about the combat in Yakuza 6 is that it’s integrated right into the game. There are no load screens to sit through while waiting for a battle to start. I also enjoyed the number of objects you were able to hit people with. There is everything from bicycles to hammers and everything in between. The best part is that there are more enemies on-screen than ever before so the battles can get quite chaotic. The downside to that is the grab button is the same for grabbing weapons as it is people. This obviously creates a lot of opportunities for the enemy to get a cheap shot in.

Yakuza 6 makes a lot of improvements in the way you get around the game map. As I already said, there are no load times when getting into a battle, but you also don’t have to wait to go inside or outside a building. You spend a good portion of the main story in Onomichi which is a rural seaside spot that is the complete opposite of Kamarucho which is a vibrant urban atmosphere. This keeps you away from some of the side activities like Club SEGA and karaoke for an extended period of time in the game. Back in Kamarucho, there are more activities like I’ve mentioned, but many of the better ones from Yakuza 0 have been taken away like pool, bowling, and RC racing in favour of things like the fetch quest, cat café.

There is one substantial gameplay addition in the form of the Clan Creator mini-game. This allows you to direct your clan members in a battle from a god-view. You can even recruit special members into your clan by defeating them that will give your clan special abilities in battle like healing. It’s a light RTS-type game and it’s not very difficult. I understand the developers desire to give players something more, but I had a hard time understanding how this mode even fit into a game with such a lone-wolf character.

The side activities were pretty comical and a fun diversion from the main story. Most of them make fun of contemporary pop-culture like chasing down a rogue drone. These sid-activities are also easier to find than ever with the new Troublr app which alerts you to situations nearby making it a lot easier for you to find out what’s going on around you rather than searching it out.

Pros Cons
Tons of side-activities Clean creator seems out of place
Loading is nearly non-existent  
   

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REVIEW OVERVIEW
Graphics
8
Audio
7
Gameplay
6
Story
7
Value
9.5
Technical Performance
9
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I started FYIG in 2012 as a place for people to write about whatever interests them. My wife, Danielle Crandell, has joined me in making this site the best it can possibly be. You'll usually find me writing about hockey, gaming, or the latest in technology.