Yakuza 6: The Song of Life, is the send-off title for series protagonist Kazuma Kiryu. Developed and published by SEGA, the action-adventure PlayStation 4 exclusive was released on April 17, 2018. Technically the seventh main entry in the series, Yakuza 6 is an open-world adventure with a heartwarming and enchanting story to tell. As well as an incredible story to finish. Set in modern day 2016 (due to localization timing it’s actually two years behind) Yakuza 6 continues the series history of providing a look into Japanese culture and locations. Does Yakuza 6 do the series justice as a closing chapter?
Running on the all-new Dragon engine, Yakuza 6 is one of the most beautiful games of this generation. What makes the game even more beautiful is the transition away from the massive amount of loading screens in previous series entries. The fluidity of the game mixing cinematic moments and gameplay is stunning. The game takes the player to various cities throughout fictional Japan that represent the various environments that represent real Japan. The fictional city of Kamorucho is just as vibrant, commercial filled, and beautiful as the real Tokyo city. The biggest area to appreciate the graphics overall though absolutely goes toward character models. Every major character in the game looks inserted directly from real life. In some moments the facial expressions are so powerful, it was nearly impossible to resist tearing up. Even secondary characters, who obviously receive less attention, looked stellar. Nothing ever falls flat against the background, which makes the world feel truly alive and fully immersive. There may be a few games out there that look better in some areas but very few pull together all the elements in such a glorious way.
The final entry in the adventure of the Dragon of Dojima does an excellent job of bringing this narrative full circle. All the things that are loved and hated about Kazuma Kiryu appear to boost him or attempt to destroy him. His Yakuza past is just as damaging as it is protective of his family at the orphanage. Civilians, Yakuza, and the newly included Triad and Korean gangs all get a sense of the man that has been built over the past 20 years. From start to finish, this game is about how the life and choices of one man can have a larger impact on the world around him. This story shows growth, evolution, and humanity in a world shrouded in darkness. It brings hope for a greater future for everyone by testing the resolve of a man many wish they could be. His lifestyle has made it possible for him to explore things others never could as well as things others never want to. The biggest impact is Kazuma’s commitment to his own rules and regulations. He even comments on it while struggling with an insane decision. This is the type of story that needs to be adapted to other forms of media because it needs to be experienced by that many more people. If this is the final time we see Kazuma Kiryu, the Dragon of Dojima in action the send-off was perfect. Honestly, the story is told so perfectly that even someone who has never played a game in the series before can appreciate it.
It’s always tough to look at voice acting for Japanese voiceover games and give it a solid review because it’s a completely different language. Although the voice acting sounds great, who knows how cheesy it really sounds at home. What really gives this game a strong shine is the way the sound effects of the city pull the world together. Everything happening on screen can be heard and everything that can be heard serves a purpose. Walking past the arcade, the sound of all the games can be heard, just as walking by schoolgirls provides the annoying giggles. Menu sound effects are short and sweet. The one major issue with audio was the lack of any option to alter the levels of dialogue and sound effects. It does, however, have a really cool speaker placement control system. Making sure all the angles of sound and voices are perfect.
The Yakuza series has always been a quirky series filled with outlandish mini-games and Japanese cultural references. Although not as heavily jam-packed with mini-games as some of the later entries, in this case less is more. Batting cages and karaoke return alongside newcomers like gang building and underwater spearfishing. Contrary to the last two non-remake entries’ wide roster of playable characters, The Song of Life is strictly about Kazuma. The gameplay does an excellent job embracing that by also limiting fighting styles that older Kazuma uses to one style he’s mastered over the past two decades. This focused approach makes the game more about character building and really creates a strong relationship between player and antagonist. The quirkiness of the gameplay definitely isn’t for everyone but for those who know what to expect, the surprises are endless.
Yakuza has been a ridiculously fun game from the beginning. Yakuza 6 takes advantage of technological advancements and continues the legacy. Whether playing through the powerful main story or getting involved with a ridiculous side story like “I, Hiji,” putting the control down is hard. The only thing that’s always gotten in the way for many players is the lack of English voice acting. It becomes easy to fall out of the story when cutscenes begin and the reading part ensues. Outside of that everything else that takes place is amazing. Want to hit up an online chat room? Go for it. Want to spend the day chasing and beating up thugs around the city? Go for it. So few things are off limits that it’s really hard to not enjoy the time spent in fictional Japan.And if for whatever reason more excitement is needed, visit any of the Sega arcades and switch to a number of games. Heck, invite a friend over and beat them up in the B version of Virtual Fighter 5 right inside of Yakuza 6. Tell me where this game lacks fun again.
There are maybe a couple dozen video game series and characters that have attempted to bring the story arc to a complete close. There are even fewer spanning a length of time as long as Yakuza. And even less that have done justice to the story that was started. Yakuza 6: The Song of Life is the perfect ending to a story that has been a part of the PlayStation legacy almost as long as the PlayStation itself. Yakuza 6 is fun, unforgettable, and unique. It packages the end of an era with the beginning of the next so well, it leaves nothing but awe-inspiring appreciation.
God of War, Yakuza 6 and some other less important stuff.
It’s been a long time coming but the worst part of the pre-E3 drought is here. Well, I guess that’s not entirely true. It was a great release week for PS4 so it can’t be the worst. The worst is when there are no good releases and news is as dry as last week. Either way this week sucked pretty bad too. But as always I did my best to bring some glorious, or at least interesting, news for my fellow Lucky Gamers:
1. To play alone or not to play alone?
I would never have thought that the day would come where I would be questioning how much longer single player games have left. Sure on one hand we have the incredible single player adventures like God of War or Yakuza. But on the other, we have the recent rumor that this years Call of Duty may arrive with no single player campaign. That is crazy. Absolutely unexpected. The rumor is this years Call of Duty ran out of development time to perfect the single player campaign and it was scrapped. Of course, this could all be hype train boarding because all parties involved have declined to comment. If Call of Duty goes campaign free, it may set the example that single player is dead. At least for triple A titles. Is that something we are ready for? My answer: No.
2. The Anthem Story.
Mass Effect: Andromeda’s story was so poorly received that EA and Bioware haven’t been able to shake the nightmares. Now on the rumors of an industry shaking decision, Bioware has go on record to say that they are focusing heavily on the story for the upcoming Anthem. Anthem was shown off last year and immediately touted as a Destiny clone. In a world dominated by Battle Royale it may have become apparent that a Destiny clone might not be enough. Anthem was set to launch this year but was recently delayed to 2019. Let’s just hope they don’t butcher the story before launch because “there wasn’t enough time”.
3. Battle Royale!?
Let’s sum up the interesting Battle Royale news category real briefly this week. First off congratulations to Epic for Fortnite mobile bringing in over $25 million in its first month. That’s a lot of money. Like a lot of money. So much so that it brings us to point two. Dice is currently prototyping a Battle Royale mode for Battlefield V. Reports say that they are testing mechanics and gameplay styles in engine but it most likely will not be ready for launch. Rumors also claim Treyarch is doing the same for Black Ops 4. And while the big guys are playing catch up the other little big name on the scene is innovating to compete. PUBG just added a new underground cave system to the map. The cave had various exit ways and an entire underground system of its own.
4. Switch delay Switch Hooray!
Bad news out the way first. Dark Souls Remastered for Switch has been delayed. The Dark Souls amiibo has also been delayed and Bandai Namco did not provide any clear reason. The delay only effects the Switch version with the remaster still releasing for all other platforms on May 25th. Good news, NBA Playgrounds 2 will be launching this summer. Season mode, over 200 players, and a championship online mode are just a few of the new improvements to the game. And random over speculation of possible great news, new Wave Racer incoming. I’m talking about the game series, not the musician. In a brief interview at BAFTA, series producer Takahashi said it may be one of the games they are working on bringing back.
5. One long awaited, one hardly expected.
This console generation has seen the long over due return of traditional horror games. Great experiences like Resident Evil 7 and Outlast have given the genre new life. Canceled projects like Silent Hills have shown us how crazy things can really get. Now Agony, a kickstarter horror game, will be released on May 29th on PS4, Xbox One, and PC will be aiming to further darken your underwear. The other genre this console generation has has a massive impact on is Open World. With damn near every game exploring the idea of open world for better or worse. Still not enough and so we have the announcement of Serious Sam 4: Planet Badass. Not much was shown about the game besides the announcement trailer but I’m sure we’ll see more at E3.
6. It’s never too late for training.
If you’ve ever thought to yourself after playing a game for a whole year, “man this game could really use a training or practice mode”, don’t give up. That’s what I’m guessing happened over at Ubisoft. Some noob kept getting wrecked in For Honor and finally someone was like “Fine Steve! We’ll put a training mode in so you can ‘git good’ and stop crying”. So now a whole year later, For Honor will have a training mode. Dreams do come true. And if that was enough class in a game how about Disgaea 1 making a comeback on Nintendo Switch and PS4. No exact date was given yet but it will be coming sometime this year with collector’s editions available for preorder now.
7. Classic gaming in a possible modern classic?
That was an awful title mechanic. Either way stick with me and see where it goes. First, Kingdom Hearts 3 finally gave us a little more information about itself. The game will feature mini games inspired by classic LCD gaming from days of old. Days of old being a quick reference to 1980’s games and old Mickey Mouse animated shorts. Supposedly still slated to release this year it won’t be much longer before you can have Sora reliving our gaming past on his current gaming tech. I really don’t expect this game to still be coming out this year but boy would that be a pleasant surprise.
Welcome back for another Lucky Gamer Recap! Now unfortunately this week was kind of dead on the news scene, but I dug deep to bring you the news you deserve. Why? Because, as a fellow Hard Mode Gamer, I care! Also because at this time my life would finish crumbling without something great to look forward to. With that said let’s get right into it!
1. The Final Fantasy Fighting game you never always knew you wanted gets official!
Although originally a PSP game (remember that old thing?) that was ported to arcades in japan, Final Fantasy Dissidia is getting a major overhaul and releasing on PS4. Oh yea bring on the fighting greatness. I loved this game on PSP but hated the lack of a second joystick so thats something I’m really looking forward to. Oh, and I guess it’s important to note it comes out on January 30, 2018.
2. Yakuza 6 comes with whiskey glasses
Ok, so technicallyy not entirely true but still a whiskey stone cold fact. Sega Announced that the Collector’s edition of Yakuza 6 will come with two Whiskey Glasses, two Ice Stones, and two Tojo Clan coasters (Oh my). The collectors edition retails for $89.99, is available preorder now, and releases on March 20, 2018 alongside the standard version. Guess somebody’s getting hammered while playing Yakuza 6.
3. Xbox One X Pre-Order details to be announced at Gamescon
Do you like news about news? Great, well here you go. Microsoft has officially confirmed that the Xbox One X will be partying hard with all the fine folks attending Gamescon 2017 on August 20th. Not much info has really been heard about the “most powerful console ever made” since it waved its no no square at us during E3 but I’m excited to see what else is in store, because I have to assume they aren’t going to take the stage just show me all the places I can buy one. Oh no, would they do that?
4. Shenmue 3 finally has a publisher attached.
This one is actually pretty exciting for me as a kills a few birds with one stone. The first bird is clarifying Sony’s position in this whole mess. Actually I take that back, I have no idea what Sony is doing in this pot. The second bird is clarifying how much of the Kickstarter money was needed and used to actually develop the game. Well, I guess this doesn’t really answer that either. The third bird is proving that this game is actually coming out. Now this one I am super confidant on because the publishing company taking on the task is Deep Silver. Those Deep Silver fellows are the ones who published to incredible games stateside – Persona 5 & Yakuza Kiwami – so i absolutely believe in them. There you have it folks, three birds one stone.
5. Crackdown 3 delayed!?
One of the most anticipated games of this console generation has been delayed, again. Microsoft announced that Crackdown 3, originally planned for November 7th release, has been pushed backed to “Spring 2018”. That is a major disappointment for people who were really looking forward to an exclusive title for their new Xbox One X. They cited the reason as “needing more time in the oven”. Who do they think they are fooling? I know games aren’t baked in ovens, they are created in deep fryers. Oh well, I guess we’ll just have to find other amazing games to play this year.
6. The Good Life: A Swery Game
The developer behind one of the most cult classic cult classics of all time (Deadly Premonition, if you didn’t know what I was talking about you proved my pint) is at it again with a brand new game. Not only is this a new game but it has a title inspired by one of my favorite Kanye West tracks of all time. The Good Life is a mystery RPG that appears to be in line with the developers history of being completely weird. Just to some things up briefly: You play as a girl named Naomi who lives in a town where everyone turns into a cat at night. Your move Kojima.
7. Quake Champions Early Access begins soon.
How soon? Well it actually begin next Tuesday August 22nd. Early access will cost you a warm fee of $30 exactly $10 cheaper than waiting for the games full release some day in 2018. I’m not entirely behind this whole “Pay for the demo” concept but for those of you who are, prime opportunity to get the edge on your competition. Oh and I guess it’s worth mentioning along with your demo purchase you will receive exclusive loot chest, skins, and a “guarantee” that at least six new champions will be released between now and the end of 2018. Yea, nope, still not paying for a demo.