Review performed using a review copy of Yakuza 6: Song of Life provided by Sega
Yakuza 6: Song of Life is the first game in the series that I’ve played, and unfortunately it is the last title featuring the series longtime protagonist. I’d thought I would need to research the lore of the series in order to understand the context of the series, but luckily this wasn’t the case. While I felt lost in the story at first, the game does a great job of backfilling the gaps as it moves forward.
I was also worried that I’d be diving into just another open world where it’s easy to get lost in just blowing things up and crazy things happening. This also was not the case. Yakuza 6: The Song of Life is contained in a world where one is free to just walk around and enjoy the atmosphere of the city.
The game begins with the main protagonist, Kazuma Kiryu, sitting in a pub when someone who apparently has taken exception to him wants to fight. Kazuma steps outside with him and the madness begins. Once he returns to the pub, the story becomes more human when Kazuma is seen placing a bottle of milk into a baby’s mouth.
The first things I noticed about the game were that it has the Sega feel with the over-the-top brawling, the sounds of strikes hitting their opponent and the way the names of the opponents flash onto the screen. Secondly, the game is in Japanese with English subtitles. That nuance gave the game even more of an authentic feel.
I found my favorite part of the game to be just walking around, sipping a drink and taking in the sights and sounds. I couldn’t hurt bystanders, I couldn’t rip off cars and blow everything up, but I could interact with almost everything. While walking around I came across a storefront called “Club Sega.” I walked in to find an arcade full of Sega arcade games. I Interacted with one of the machines and I was moved to the game and could play it. Now even though this was something that was possible in other games, this felt different; it felt real and natural. I loved it.
The visuals in Yakuza 6: The Song of Life are colorful and vibrant. I stayed enthralled with the world the entire time and I found something new every with almost every step I took. The character models are varied and realistic. The sights are beautiful and the animations are spot on.
If there are areas of opportunities it’s in the frame rate. When entering certain buildings with a ton of textures I find there to be quite a slowdown. Secondly is the hit detection when walking into citizens. If I accidentally walk into someone, the game registers it while there’s still considerable space between myself and the NPC. The only reason these areas even stand out is that the game is done so well; Most little things are so perfect that if there is an imperfection it really shows.
The audio in Yakuza 6: The Song of Life is great. It’s also busy sounding, which makes the city seem even more alive. the ambient noise is realistic and sound doesn’t overlap and cut off other sounds. it’s a really authentic feel.
My first experience with a Yakuza title left me wanting more. A lot more. Other than the minor areas of opportunity I mentioned above, with a solid story, beautiful visuals, great audio and an incredibly detailed world in which one can heavily interact with, this is a game that no one should miss.