Yakuza 6: The Song of Life marks an end to the tale of series protagonist Kazuma Kiryu. As sad as those words are to write, the sixth mainline title in this franchise leaves me with a gigantic grin on my face. Coming off the incredible Yakuza 0 and the first Yakuza remaster, Kiwami, Yakuza 6 is at a high point in the series popularity here in the states. Thankfully this latest entry in the series will continue that high as it gives fans more of what makes these titles great.
Earlier in the year SEGA released Yakuza 0, a prequel to the first Yakuza game released over a decade ago. It was one I rather enjoyed a lot. The combat was fun, the story intense, and the side objectives were entertaining. I never got around to reviewing the game, but it is definitely a contender for my Game of the Year list. Yakuza 0 made me a fan of this series and I’ve been eagerly awaiting Yakuza Kiwami. Fast forward a few months and Kiwami is here; a remake of the first Yakuza title utilizing the game engine from Yakuza 0. The game doesn’t disappoint either, it’s wonderful.
One of the most important things a Yakuza must know is how to beat people’s faces to a pulp. We’re talking about brutal, bloody and no-holds-barred street fighting. Kiryu and Saejima didn’t get street cred by adopting puppies and saving the trees, they got it by beating the ever-living crap out of everyone who dared stand in their way.
Today during its keynote address at the PlayStation Experience community event in Las Vegas, Sony Computer Entertainment America announced a partnership with SEGA® of America, Inc. and SEGA® Europe Ltd. to release Yakuza 5™, the much awaited fifth installment in the critically acclaimed main Yakuza™ series, on PlayStation®Network for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system in 2015. Yakuza 5 will make its Western debut as one of the most requested titles from the #Buildingthelist campaign, Gio Corsi, Director of Third Party Production at SCEA, announced at the event. Both companies also revealed that Yakuza™ 4 and Yakuza™: Dead Souls are available on PlayStation®Network today.
When I first heard of the Yakuza series, I was a heartbroken fan of the Shenmue series looking for a replacement. Many of the initial impressions I heard of the game were that it was a spiritual successor to Shenmue. Others would claim it was nothing like Shenmue. I eventually got around to Yakuza 3 during the incredible drought of games this summer. At first blush, this game is an open-world Action/Adventure game that is incredibly similar to Shenmue. It contains all of the elements of Shenmue (Story, Combat, QTEs, RPG/Experience system, Mini-Games), but puts a different amount of emphasis of each of those elements.