Yakuza 0

aka: Ryū ga Gotoku 0: Chikai no Basho, Yakuza Zero
Moby ID: 83460
PlayStation 3 Specs
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Description official description

Yakuza 0 is a prequel to the original Yakuza game and takes place 10 years earlier. The game story takes place in both Kamurocho (modeled after Kabukicho red light district in Tokyo) and Osaka, and focuses on two protagonists, Kazuma Kiryu and Majima Goro. The story is told in chapters and switches between protagonists every couple of chapters. Even though story entails both areas and both protagonists, Kiryu and Goro don't meet throughout the game and each of them struggles with their own demons and ways to get back to become the full yakuza as known from other games in the franchise that were released before this prequel.

Both Goro and Kiryu have their own unique fighting styles which get introduced as the story progresses, with ability to spend money to upgrade fighting styles. Similar to gameplay in earlier Yakuza games, fights are initiated by running into a random encounter which is comprised of various gangs and other yakuza, some of which can be avoided by running the other way. The player can buy/sell weapons and items, equip own weapons or pick them up from fallen enemies, use objects around you (i.e. bicycles, chairs, neon signs, etc.) during the battle, use health drinks to regain health point and replenish heat mode which is used to perform special devastating attacks, talk to random characters on the street and perform side quests, learn new fighting moves from certain characters, and more.

New gameplay elements in this game is business part. Both Kiryu and Goro will be able to handle business and earn income, not by working as much as by managing. Kiryu will do business in Kamurocho where he will try to drive out the five billionaires by purchasing their turf, hiring managers and security, and upgrading properties to elite status. For Goro, the busines will take place in Osaka where he'll do the similar kind of battle, but against five rich people that are trying to monopolize the area is host clubs and cabaret clubs. Goro will be able to hire new young talents and teach them how to be best hostesses. Changing their clothes, make-up, and other features to make them more sexy or cute or smart is also possible and will require further investment. Earning income is done by opening certain club and serving customers, hopefully by having enough hostesses with the right attributes for the rich clients.

As the game takes place in mid 1980s, protagonists won't carry a cell phone, but will instead use a pager to receive calls and use public payphones to make them. List of calls, character info, and other gathered things can be accessed via pause menu. Throughout the towns player can find various collectible phone cards with photos of various idols. They can be used to watch live-action erotic movies in porn video stores. There are many licensed stores and restaurants which add to authenticity of the area as well as the time the story takes. Similar to previous titles, phone booths are used to save game progress, but also to retrieve items from the item box as there is limited number of items a player character can carry at any given time. Dining at various restaurants and eating fast food is alternative way to replenish one's health when not in mid-battle.

Spellings

  • 龍が如く0 誓いの場所 - Japanese spelling
  • 용과 같이 제로 - 맹세의 장소 - Korean spelling (Hangul)

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Credits (PlayStation 4 version)

938 People (916 developers, 22 thanks) · View all

Kazuma Kiryu
Goro Majima
Akira Nishikiyama
Makoto Makimura
Osamu Kashiwagi
Jun Oda
Homare Nishitani
Wen Hai Lee
Sohei Dojima
Reina
Masaru Ser
Taiga Saejima
Kazuo Shibata
Yamagata
Yamanoi
Yoneda
Futoshi Shimano
Takashi Niihara
Additional Voices
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 87% (based on 41 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.4 out of 5 (based on 21 ratings with 1 reviews)

Of Mice and Majima

The Good
+ A seriously immersive world + Great combat in some fairly large open worlds + Characters are fun (and dark) + Lots of content and plenty of hours to sink into

The Bad
- Seriously slow pacing with cutscenes and story - Occassionally questionable translation - Story can be rather cliche and anime-like - Difficulty can be cheap

The Bottom Line
I've been eyeing Yakuza 0 since Sega announced a Western release here for a bit now. 0 was sung with praise from my circle of friends, and despite procrastination and struggling to build up the courage to try it out I finally got the game last month. Now, most of us westerners like a good crime story, especially in video games. When the first Yakuza game was first released here in the west, it was seen as a Japanese GTA. Oddly enough, it's more like Mafia than it is GTA, in terms of story and tone. Yakuza is a bonafide hit in Japan and a cult classic here in the West. Personally, the only Yakuza game I played, beat and somewhat liked was Dead Souls, even if it's considered the black sheep of the Yakuza family. 0, on the other hand, introduced me to the main stray of the series. I was enthralled, confused...and dissapointed.

Yakuza 0 is set in December 1988, taking place at a time where Japan had a bubble economy going on. 0 has two plots focusing on the characters of Kazuma Kiryu and Goro Majima. Kiryu is framed for the murder of an innocent man in a patch of land that's incredibly vital to the Dojima clan, and tries to clear his name and find the murderer. Meanwhile, Goro Majima is the manager of a swanky host club, and to return to his former glory, is called in to kill someone that ends up leaving him in a rock and a hard place. If we're looking at previous Yakuza games, Yakuza 0 has a more darker and gritty story, and while it is fairly well told and dramatic for the most part, the story is also seriously bogged down with anime-like cliches and some really terrible pacing. I'll get to that later.

Gameplay wise, it's like any other Yakuza game. You complete missions, side stories and beat the %$#@! out of whatever comes your way in two large Japanese cities to explore. For someone not used to playing the other games; Yakuza 0 does feature some fun combat. Kiryu and Majima have their own upgradeable abilities and combat skills; ranging from Kiryu using quick and effective boxing moves and using brute force to Majima pulling off some sweet dancing moves to using melee weapons. For the most part, the combat is quite deep and expansive, and sometimes rather brutal. It's satisfying beating everybody to a bloody pulp. As for the worlds of Yakuza 0, Kamurocho and Sotenbori are really detailed for the most part, considering they're fictional depictions of Tokyo and Osaka's areas. The Yakuza games are known here for being virtual tourist spots, and these areas are very well detailed. For every hostess club is a Sega arcade next door. The wealth of minigames are staggering - from pool and bowling to karaoke and disco dancing, and to lighten the mood are wacky and humorous side stories. Some of these stories are funny and well done, and some are actually quite touching. The passion and love put into this world is heartening, and easily immersive. The characters of Kiryu and Majima are far more fleshed out as we see in the other games. Kiryu is naive and clueless yet you can feel that he's that loveable, big-hearted oaf all fans know and love. Majima is meant to be more humanized and sypmathetic here, in contrast to the eccentric and goofy sadism he shows in the later games. Some of the other characters aren't bad, but some of the atagonists feel gimmicky and more like stereotypical bad guys if any.

Unfortunately, I also had a fair bit of problems that somewhat ruined the game for me. For starters, I hated the game's pacing. I really, really did. Cutscenes during the main story dragged on for way too long...like, levels of "old-sick-mule-dragging-wagon-full-of-bricks" level of pacing. All of this exposition and clunky storytelling with cliches all over the wazoo just really bogged the story down for me. Kiryu may be the "gangster with the heart of gold", but he behaves like a disjointed, edgy anime teenager on some occassion, and sometimes feels formulatic like any other Yakuza game. I also felt that the 80s vibe wasn't expanded upon enough. I wanted extra neon lights, synthwave music, stylish Japanese sports cars and funky hairdos, dammit! (I'd say cocaine too, given the 80s marked the time of the coke trade but Japan isn't known for having the highest rates of drug abuse.) My other problem with the game was the translation. While 0 was fairly well translated for the most part, the English translation felt like it wasn't serious enough at times, especially during more darker and gritty moments in the story. Plus, a nitpick here - I'm pretty sure words like "butthurt" aren't considered in the same category of 80s lingo like "tubular". A real minor nitpick was the sudden difficulty spikes on offer, though during harder moments you can temporarily switch difficulty, which is nice.

Due to these flaws, this is the second game I just...gave up on. I wasn't patient enough to go through the game's 30+ story (seriously, look it up), and the fact that all I heard was gushing and hype led to extra dissapointment. Does that mean Yakuza 0 is terrible? God no! For a prequel to introduce people into the series, it's a great start. The combat is fun and the story is well done when it works, the wealth of side content and passion and love put into the game's worlds are quite admirable. For someone with a fondness for open world games, Yakuza just doesn't cut it for me, it just doesn't. But if you want a proper Japanese equivilant to the Mafia series of games, look no further. Just note that it's not worth the hype, but paitence and a lot of time to be engrossed in this world is required.

PlayStation 4 · by Tony Denis (494) · 2017

Trivia

Michael Jackson's "Thriller" music video

One of the side quests features many known celebrities with slightly altered names, but similar personalities and looks. In that one side quest, Kiryu is asked to help with the music video. The director, Stephen Spining (reference to Steven Spielberg), wants to make an action-packed music video never to be forgotten. He is known to have directed worldwide smash hit movies like Indian Jeans (reference to Indiana Jones movie) and A.T. (reference to E.T. movie) about a boy who rides a unicycle (in the actual E.T. movie it was a bicycle) over the moon. The music star, Miracle Johnson (reference to Michael Jackson) wants to make a music videos where zombies are attacking him while he dances (parody reference to "Thriller" music videos with zombies dancing), but in order to make it more real, zombies should attack for real and that's where Kiryu's help is needed... to fight them off and keep Miracle Johnson safe.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by mars_rulez.

Xbox One added by Rik Hideto. Windows added by Kam1Kaz3NL77. Windows Apps added by Kennyannydenny. Luna added by Sciere. PlayStation 3 added by Terok Nor.

Additional contributors: MAT, Rik Hideto.

Game added February 7, 2017. Last modified February 3, 2024.