Tuesday 16 January, 2018
Yesterday I played through the entirety of the first chapter of Yakuza 0, which took over 2 hours. Iíve never played any of the Yakuza games before and I knew nothing about them other than the high praise the series has received. From what Iíve played so far, I can see why it was so highly praised.
The game focuses on the Japanese mafia in the late 1980ís. The protagonist, Kiryu, is framed for a murder he didnít commit and is sub-sequentially expelled from the Dojima family in order to prove his innocence. During this itís also made very clear that Kiryu has no actual family and his unfortunate situation growing up is why he is so dedicated to being a yakuza. There is a strong focus on the story and creating a world that is interesting and believable. This includes the politics within the Dojima family, nightlife activities, and dealing with the police; which is predominately shown through plenty of cut scenes. My only real complaint was that there was such an emphasis on telling the story through cut scenes that the actual gameplay, while simplistic is fast paced and engaging, felt like it was limited to tutorials and when it was absolutely necessary to progress the story.
I also thought this game was an interesting take on morality, the opening scene is Kiryu essentially beating a man to death for money, but he isnít necessarily portrayed as a bad person. If anything, the game makes it feel as if this is Kiryuís only option in life since he has no family and its said plenty of orphans get involved in the yakuza. Thereís also the question of if itís even right in the first place to make a game about the mafia since it involves so much violence and the game could be seen as normalizing these subjects.