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Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Yakuza 6: The Song of Life

The seventh mainline Yakuza game and the first to be released exclusively for the Playstation 4 (though it has since seen PC and XBox releases as well).  It switches engines once again to the Dragon Engine, bringing a new level of realism to its visuals and a weightier feel to its combat. The gameplay also goes a bit back to basics, paring it down to one playable character again (Kiryu) and using the same experience system as Kiwami 2, with five different categories of experience earned by completing various tasks.  Its story is fittingly heavier and more personal in tone than previous entries, with Kiryu and his family and friends facing the harsh reality of age, a new threat emerging in Kamurocho and their past actions beginning to catch up to them.  A welcome, change, I feel - after several entries with plot points and conflicts and over-the-top brawls that just got more and more unbelievable and silly, it's nice to see one that's more grounded and personal again.  The story itself is a bit of a jumble, though, with a lot of elements seemingly pasted in at random, subplots abruptly dropped with no satisfying resolution and a rather abrupt and ridiculous conclusion.  A passable, if not entirely satisfying, wrap-up to the story of Kazuma Kiryu's life in the underworld.

Developer: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio
Publisher: Sega
Released: 2016, 2018, 2021
Platforms: Playstation 4, XBox One, PC