While everyone is beyond excited to play Shenmue 3, there’s a separate sector of fans ready to delve into Sega’s other open-world epic.
The Yakuza franchise has been gaining steam ever since it migrated from Japan over to other territories. Following Kazuma Kiryu and his growth from a gang member to a more upstanding member of society has made fans fall in love with him along the way. The next installment of the series is on its way, but this time it’ll delve into the early portions of Kiryu’s start as a member of the Dojima Family. Yakuza 0 is a prequel adventure where Kiryu and Goro Majima will find themselves embroiled in an intense Yakuza power struggle.
Let’s prepare to take a trip into the seedy gangster underworld of Yakuza 0 with our in-depth preview.
1. This Entry in the Series is a Prequel to the Entire Yakuza Saga
Yakuza 0 takes place in 1988. A power struggle between several illegal organizations has erupted due to the “Vacant Lot” dispute. The game’s main protagonists (Kazuma Kiryu of the Kantō region and Goro Majima of the Kansai Region) suddenly find themselves embroiled within this fight for power as they investigate the main players behind this dispute.
Kiryu also comes under fire after he’s suspected of murdering a man he collects financial debts from. What makes this situation even more chaotic is the fact that this man was connected to a piece of real estate that many Yakuza groups desire. Kiryu sets out to prove his innocence, defend his family from death threats and fend off members of his own Dojima Family gang when they’re promised a promotion if they can find the deed to the valuable piece of land.
Majima also has a secondary conflict to deal with. After getting exiled from the Tojo Clan, Goro transitions into working as a cabaret club owner. However, his safety comes into question when he discovers that he’s still under surveillance by seedy underworld figures. During one special occasion, Majima gets the opportunity to redeem himself – perform a hit on a specified target. He ends up taking the job, but he chooses to not see it all the way through once he discovers that his target is a blind woman. Majima then sets out to keep her safe and find out why she’s been marked for death.
2. Money and Beauty Play a Big Part in How You’ll Spend Your Leisure Time
The Kamurocho and Sotenbori regions have a wealth of side missions to accomplish for both characters. Kiryu has his hand in real estate, so most of his work entails running a local real estate firm. You’ll have five regions to take control over as you compete with Kiryu’s business rivals – the Entertainment District, Electronics District, Adult District, Gambling District and Arts District. This portion of the game deals with asset management, human resources, asset acquisitions and rival battles in a more strategic form.
Both Kiryu and Majima can spend some leisure time with the beautiful ladies of Yakuza 0. Both characters can head into telephone booths and collect special cards adorned with glamour models. It’s possible to call these ladies and set up actual dates with them. You’ll also get to gamble on swimsuit model competitions (which are actually set up as “Cat Fights”).
3. Kazuma and Goro Can Switch Their Associated Fighting Styles in the Heat of Battle
When the situation arrises and you need to beat down some thugs, Kiryu and Majima can hand out punishment in style. While in the midst of battle, both characters can switch off into other styles of combat. Kiryu has three styles at his disposal (Brawler, Beast and Rush), while Majima cracks heads while he’s in Thug, Slugger or Breaker style.
Upgrading either character is done through purchasing new abilities from an ever evolving skill tree. Kiryu and Majima can enhance their fighting styles by training with their respective masters. Bacchus (Brawler), Miss Tatsu (Beast) and Kamoji (Rush) all teach Kiryu how to improve; Komeki (Thug), Fei Hu (Slugger) and Areshi (Breaker) do the same for Majima.
Getting money is a simple affair – take down your enemies with stronger attacks and you’ll find yourself swimming in additional cash. But it’s possible to lose all your hard-earned funds if you come across special baddies dubbed “Mr. Shakedown.” Lose to any of these stronger characters and you’ll lose all your cash. You can get all that money right back if you take them down in a rematch, though. Plus, you’ll walk away with some extra money for your troubles. From time to time, you’ll also get embroiled in Escort Battles. Not only will you have to safely bring a woman to her desired location, you’ll also need to fend off any attackers you both encounter.
4. You Can Explore Both Kamurocho and Sotenbori and Get Into a Wealth of Side Activities
The Yakuza series has always offered its fans several side activities to enjoy besides smashing in goons’ faces. Sega classic games can actually be accessed through an in-game arcade. The playable games featured here includes Space Harrier, Outrun, Hang-On and Fantasy Zone. You can even check out that old faithful crane game that most modern arcades feature. There’s also Karaoke bars to sing at, plus you can dance all night long and impress the ladies during the Disco minigames. Along with those activities, Kiryu and Majima can also go bowling, shoot darts, go fishing etc.
5. Yakuza 0’s Best Package Comes Outfitted in “The Business Edition”
If you happen to get yourself a pre-order of Yakuza 0, your copy of the game will automatically be upgraded to “The Business Edition.” This special collector’s package comes with a physical copy of the game, a stainless steel business card holder (hence the name of this whole pre-order deal), double-sided bilingual cards for both Kiryu and Majima and an exclusive card that features five of the game’s hostesses.