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Yakuza 6: The Song of Life - Review


When I was finished playing Yakuza 6, I was like WOW!. That was the impression I got after I was done with the whole story and it was certainly emotional. This game also utilizes the new Dragon Engine and this is where it was first used. Now, I did play through Yakuza Kiwami 2 (YK2), which had a few issues with this new engine and they are all present here as well, I’ll talk about these issues later on in the review.


Pros and Cons

Pros

An emotional story that shows what some will sacrifice for family

Very fun combat with lots of moves to utilize

Lots of upgrades to help beat down your enemies

Amazing graphics throughout the game


Cons

The story has a few issues

The gameplay may take some time to get used to

Grabbing enemies can be tricky at times

Bosses only have one health bar

The soundtrack is not as memorable


Story

After the events of Yakuza 5, Kiryu Kazuma is recovering from his wounds from his previous battle. He is with his adoptive daughter Haruka Sawamura after she found him wounded on a street. However, the police come in and arrested Kiryu because of the conflict between the Tojo Clan and the Omi Alliance. He is sent to jail and hopes the media outcry will die down between him and Haruka.


Six months later, the ongoing media harassment has involved the orphanage and because of that, Haruka decides to run away. Three years later, Kiryu is released from prison and finds out that Haruka has gone missing. Later he finds her in the hospital and also finds out that Haruka has a son named Haruto and the father is an unknown man. Kamurocho is also dealing with the Saio Triad, a section of the Chinese mafia, and is at war with the Tojo Clan, some of the higher-ups are awaiting trial due to escalating violence.


There is a lot to unfold with the story of Yakuza 6 as it shoves a lot of it into your face and you will want to find out more about the whole thing. The characters are all likable and the last chapter made me feel tenser than any other Yakuza game out there, it’s amazing.



Although, I do have a few issues with the story as a whole. The first issue I had was with Kiryu trying to find Haruto’s father. At no point, did anyone doctor or someone, recommend a DNA test. Now I don’t know if Japan has some sort of law or hoops you have to go through to get a DNA test, but I personally felt that Kiryu was going on a wild goose chase to find the father of this baby when a simple DNA test was the only thing they needed.


Another issue I had was the story arc with Shun Akiyama, who is on the run from the Saio Triad. The issue here is that there was never a reason why the Saio Triad is after him, to begin with, making the whole thing kind of odd.


If anyone has any answers to these two plot holes, then by all means let me know in the comments below, I will greatly appreciate it. There were a few more of these in the story but I would just end up spoiling things at this point and I want to avoid that.


Gameplay

The game utilizes the new Dragon Engine for its gameplay. The engine itself is fine and I do like it but had a bit of trouble getting used to the gameplay. This is because combat itself, felt a little weird, I had this exact problem with YK2 and that is because I was so used to the gameplay in Y0 and YK1. Even Y3, 4, and 5 had some sort of familiarity with them that I could pick up and play with. Now, I am not saying the combat was bad, it’s actually quite good and becomes really interesting when you pick up some upgrades, it’s just something you have to get used to a little.


Combat is very fun after I got used to the engine change, it feels very smooth and fleshed out. The only character you play as is Kiryu and he controls just as fine as he usually does, some of his moves are taken out in my eyes when he grabs enemies but that’s it mostly. Kiryu can enter in this mode called extreme heat mode where he can do his combo attacks while getting hit and can do these combo finishers. You get EXP by defeating enemies and bosses but you will mainly be getting it by eating food at the restaurants that are in the game. You can get increased stats like more health, attack power, or defense, more moves to use in combat, or social stuff like more conversation options at bars.


As much as I do like the gameplay, I do have two other issues that are worth noting. The first issue is that grabbing enemies can be a bit tricky at times. This is because they will slide off sometimes or the game will instead register you grabbing an object to use as a weapon. Another issue I had was when it came to the bosses, they only have one health bar which ruins the challenge of fighting them. That one health bar did not make them as intimidating as the ones in the previous entries and I felt that was missing here.


Soundtrack

Another issue I have had that is similar to YK2 was with the soundtrack, it’s just not as memorable as the previous games. There were some good songs thrown in but nothing really stood out to me and I felt kind of disappointed at the end.


That’s not to say that I did not find any that were good, Theory of Beauty really stood out to me and is probably one of my favorite songs in the Yakuza series.


Graphics and Performance

Yakuza 6 is really beautiful and has to be one of the best-looking games in the series. All the areas felt alive and full of color with lots of detail put in thanks to the Dragon Engine. I really loved how Kamurocho looked in this game as it really felt like a part of Tokyo.


I tested the on an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB, AMD Ryzen 5 1500X Quad-Core Processor 3.50, with16 GB of RAM. I experienced no issues with the performance and everything ran at a smooth 60 FPS for the gameplay.




Final Verdict

While Yakuza 6 may not be a proper send-off to everyone, I can’t deny that I enjoyed this game to the fullest. I have played through six titles to finally see the end of Kiryu’s journey. I and many others have enjoyed the entire ride, and if you are a Yakuza fan, then I can say for sure that you will enjoy this game!



My Original Review

Steam Store Page