On the surface Yakuza 0 is a story about a criminal family with a plot that involves real estate, but there is a lot more this game has to offer. Between the segments of the story, you can encounter various sidequests that have a story of their own.
The game itself is a fairly open world beat em up. Not open world on the same level as GTA, but a fairly condensed district of Japan that features a lot of deal and a lot of life, especially at night. Aside from going to point A to point B for the main story missions, in between there is a lot of sidequests and even side activities.
The story goes like this… you are a member of the Dojima Family known as Kiryu who somehow gets framed for a murder he did not commit, so he leaves the family in order to clear his name and not bring the family down with him. This leads up to a massive plot the Dojima family has planned that involves… real estate… Trust me there is a lot more to this story, but I don’t want to say too much. The story is very well acted and just shows the seriousness and depth these characters have. Of course, the story isn’t devoid of humor, sometimes the serious tone can shift to soemthing pretty off the wall, like this moment…
That actually happens in the game’s main story. It is chock full of very weird and funny moments, and that is most apparent in the side quests. The side quests for me are my favorite part of this game, just smaller independent stories that have a lot of character. As you go along with the story and walk around the town of Kamurocho, you’ll encounter people who will come up to you for help, or just wind up encountering people that get into trouble. To name a few of the side quest without revealing too much: You help out a film crew trying to film a segment for a TV show with you acting as the producer, pretending to be some girls boyfriend to help get their father off her back, and helping that same film crew put together a music video for Michael Jacks… I mean… Miracle Johnson, while fighting off zombies…
It doesn’t stop there, there are other side activities like gambling games such as blackjack and roulette, pool, darts, you can go to the arcade to play Outrun or Space Harrier. Of course, my favorite activities is the slot car racing and the disco dancing game at the local disco club.
Of course, it’s not all hijinks and whatnot, the main part of the game is the beat ’em up combat. As you go along with the story there will be instances where you have to fight. The fighting is very fun, as you go along with the story you’ll learn different fighting styles that you can switch between at any time, and even some learn some more moves (if you got the money for it). There’s Brawler which features both light and heavy attacks and using objects to attack, Rush that involves dodging as well as using fast attacks to stun enemies, and Beast which involves wide attacks and even incorporates random objects into combos. A nice little touch is that while in combat those fighting styles have their own music to accompany it. It especially feels good to bash a couple of thugs against a wall that thinks they can shake you down.
Overall I really enjoyed this game, there is a lot more to this game I haven’t described yet, but its better left to be unsaid and to be discovered. Yakuza 0 has a lot to offer and for $20 (USD) that is a good price for what is on offer. I highly recommend this game for anyone that for something that is worth their time and money and is an ideal starting point for anyone that has not played anything from the Yakuza series. Now if you excuse me, the dance floor is calling me!