With the NBA 2K servers trashing my online league, I was desperately searching for a new game to play. So I decided to take a look around, see what the homies were playing and possibly find something to fill the void. Well everyone was playing Nioh and For Honor, so naturally I was like, F both those games I want something different!  I decided to text my friend and hopefully future COAEGM contributor Enrique, to see what he was playing. Unfortunately, he was also playing for honor. But, our conversation reminded me of a game I thought was interesting but never acted on.That game was Yakuza 0.

That game was Yakuza 0.
Now I have never played any of the other yakuza games, I have heard good things about them, but for some reason, I had them all pegged as GTA Japans, much how Sleeping Dogs seemed to be GTA China and that just didn’t pique my interest enough to give it a fair shake. I just filed it mentally in the “Never going to play that” category.
I’m not quite through the entire game, but I am quite a few chapters in, and all I can say is I’m as angry as Arsenio Hall at a wine and cheese party where no one told him how good the cheese is! WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME HOW GOOD YAKUZA IS?!

I’m especially upset because I have a lot of friends who are huge fans of the Shenmue Series, which I enjoyed. But NONE of them mentioned this game, or the series, they were always up on the latest fighting game, except BlazBlue (Because that’s the one they couldn’t beat me at) and the occasional shooter. But these “fans” of Shenmue didn’t tell me about the series, that from what I can tell from Yakuza 0, is a damn Decent love letter to Ryo Hazuki himself!

Anyway, I’ll settle that beef with them later, let’s talk about Yakuza 0.
Let me start off by saying, it is by far, the most fun game I have played since Persona 4.
The story takes place in 1988 (shout out to all my other year of the Dragon peoples) and is about to Yakuza Members Named Goro Majima and Kiryu Kazuma, who without spoiling too much of the game caught up in some serious stuff. The two guys are in separate towns, but as the story progresses, you start to understand how the stories are intertwined. If you love Japanese storytelling or a huge fan of anime like myself, you’ll start sniffing out things early, but that doesn’t make the journey any less enjoyable. They have plenty of other twists and turns to keep you on your toes, even if you think you have it figured out.
Random problems arise as you go through each character’s main quest, most of which you can solve by beating the crap out of the disrespectful goons, hooligans, yakuza, menacing men, bikers and Men in Black you come across. The combat can get wonky at times, especially when you fight larger groups, but the different styles of each character along with the cinematic flourishes keep it entertaining. Some problems require you to remember things, play rhythm games and play retro Sega games, all of which are fun. The thing that has become my time sink, however, is the businesses in the game. Which is your primary way to make money, which you need to upgrade your character and become stronger. Both have ties into the story so I won’t go too much into detail but I will say I think I’ve spent more time running the hostess club, than any other thing in the game.
The side quests provide the levity and humor that you come to expect from a game set in the 80s, complete with an appearance from Michael Jackson, AKA Miracle Johnson as he is known in the game. If you like any type of beat’em up games where you learn new moves and unlock new abilities I would Highly recommend Yakuza 0 to you. If you like Shenmue, I would also recommend it to you, and I would recommend you tell any friend who likes Shenmue to look it up because I have a good feeling that new Shenmue game that we were promised, is going to feel a lot like this, and it’s the perfect game to hold you over till then.

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