This guy knows what he’s talking about. He also has amazing taste in forum avatars so you really can’t go wrong following this advice.
I went into Yakuza 0 not expecting to like it much at all and bounce off it hard. 92 hours and counting later, it has been one of the best gaming experiences I’ve had.
Surprisingly great fun this, despite having many of the things I hate in games (poor checkpointing, overlong cutscenes, and button mashing for grinding.) Something about the unapologetic full blown gonzo nature of it appeals.
There is just something insanely compelling about what in the west would be labelled the “cheesiness” of Japanese games. I played MGS 5 yesterday for the first time and found the prologue utterly captivating even though my brain told me it was jumping the shark. I expect the same here in Yakuza 0 - looking forward to it! Its part of my annual Christmas gaming stockpile.
Oh hell no, MGS V is not jumping the shark. It’s putting a parachute on the shark and shooting it into the sky. That game is also amazing and you should play it.
I love that many Japanese games have these little creative things that make zero sense in the real world but are just so dang cool in videogames.
I feel like the Japanese do a good job creating characters that play it straight in absurd situations. The player is in on the joke, but the characters are so earnest it becomes charming.
No need to convince me re MGSV! I am enjoying it thoroughly. :)
I’m loving this game so very much. So very much. It is truly a delight.
In the interests of not lurking I will necro this thread. See what you get?
So I have been playing this and greatly enjoying myself. I play very slowly through long games as I get maybe 2 nights a week to really get into something, so I guess I’ve been playing this for maybe 6 weeks? I’m now at the point (Chapter 11) where I’m mainlining through the game so I can see what happens. It really is like a TV crime show, except the main characters are actually sympathetic. I love Kiryu as a character, ridiculously earnest and a yakuza with a heart of gold. And the side missions are ridiculous and great.
Plus I’m really into the real estate game for some reason. Mostly I think it’s because there are small bits of story as payoff (the 5 billionaires).
The main downside of the game is the casual background of sexism. The other main character, Goro, has a minigame which revolves around this bizarre world of hostesses who keep men company and (non-sexually) convince them to buy more from the club. I am not sure if this actually existed in Japan of the time period or not, does anyone know? In any case, the feeling I get from the game is of treating women as property to be “improved” and used to earn money…sort of like the real estate game, but with women instead of businesses. Which leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
The rest of the game easily overcomes this, thankfully.
If I were to attempt to play the games chronologically, which ones should I skip? I’ve read various things about Kiwami, for example, which makes it hard to tell if it’s worth playing, or just skip to Kiwami 2. Or all the way to 6, or whatever.
Yeah, sexism is going to be pretty unavoidable in the Yakuza games, by virtue of the setting. It’s seems like team Yakuza is trying to mitigate this somewhat (casting secondary roles with women occasionally e.g. the Beast Mode tutor), but it’s a big part of the milieu.
Hostess clubs in particular are very much a thing in Japan, both historically, and today. I think my wife was assigned this book as a textbook in college:
I played through Kiwami first, after bouncing off Zero initially. I thought Kiwami did a good job of establishing the characters and their relationships, and gave Zero a lot of meaning that I was not getting before. Kiwami 2 is bought and sitting on the shelf, as are 3, 4, and 5. My understanding is that once you get past Kiwami, the number of viewpoint characters increases over the course of the games. But I’m not hurrying.
Notable is that 0 and Kiwami are now “PlayStation Hits” releases for $20.
Thanks for the replies! I might check that book out. Supposedly Kiwami might be a PSPlus freebie in Nov, so I am holding out for that. Plus I will need a break after 0 is finished anyway.
I find myself feeling this way about a lot of games recently, but especially Japanese games. Persona 5 has incredible gameplay for a jrpg but some of the cutscenes has me embarrassed to be playing it. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 was a gd train wreck.
The best part of Yakuza 0, right.
I mean, they’re basically geisha girls for clubs. They also exist around the world to this day. But they’re biggest in Asia.
Hostess clubs are weird but I don’t think I agree with this take. The hostesses are not property, they’re employees. That’s a significant difference. I also really liked all of the interactions between Majima and the hostesses, he’s definitely there to make sure it’s a safe environment for them. It’s goofy but he runs it like it’s a family business.
Also I like the interactions between Majima and everybody. That guy is great.
I’ll give you that it’s more nuanced, and I also like the way Majima runs the business and treats his girls like people. But I can’t get past the story mission early in Majima’s arc, where he literally trades some of his girls with the owner of another club, to get that owner’s main girl. The girls have no say. Straight up property.
I do like the essential humanity of both Majima and Kiryu, though. There’s a positivity to Yakuza that really comes out through the way those two react to everything and everyone that I love.
My favorite thing about these games is that rather than “Dragon of Dojima”, my wife calls Kiryu the “Legendary Busybody of Kamurocho”. Like, he just walks up to randos on the street and is like “hey, what’s up bro, have a problem with your girlfriend, huh? I’m going to help you regardless of whether you want it or not”.
It makes sense for Majima, because he’s literally a maniac, so he doesn’t need any justification for anything he does. But Kazuma mostly presents as a normal person, so it just comes across as him being incredibly nosy.
I can see your perspective on this, but when I played through that scene, it felt more like baseball teams making a player trade. The established pro needed for a championship run in exchange for new talent that will pay off later.
Oh yeah, I forgot about that part. Good point. Maybe Majima runs his business more like a baseball team family.
I still love that minigame, though. I’d play Majima’s Club: The Game.
Yakuza 6, the full minigame IS a baseball team.