As someone who is not known for bouts of hyperbole, I can easily say that Ryu Ga Gotoku 6: Inochi no Uta, (Yakuza 6: Song Of Life) is by far the most fun I have had with a game in the year 2016, and is easily my game of the year.
There are of course many other games that I have enjoyed throughout this year, however there isn't any other game that has impressed me with the sheer scope, and variety of gameplay that I have experienced here, with Kazuma Kiryu, and compatriots.
This is the final chapter in the story of the titular "Dojima no Ryu (Dragon of Dojima), and it uses that narrative weight well. Of course for fans of the series, it still retains its high level melodrama, entertainingly mixed with its famously Japanese goofy humor to lighten the mood.
Of course its not for everyone, and if you do not have any pre-existing knowledge of Japanese culture, it will make even less sense. That said, if you put in the effort to understand it, you will enjoy it even more. While this game is set to release in the West in early 2018, so at this moment, the only way to play it is either in Japanese, or Chinese languages.
Yakuza as a series is one of constant change, and this game is the best example of that. On the previous generation sony consoles, loading was an ever present issue that plagued the game all the way to the remake of the first game, though to a lesser degree. Yakuza 6 thankfully bucks that trend, for the most part, other than when cutscenes, or chapter transitions are loading, and they are graciously mostly short, ranging from 5-15 seconds on average.
The best part about this, is when neither of those things are happening, there is no loading whatsoever. Going to the nearest Poppo convenience store? Just walk on through, the doors slide open, and in you go!
The fights in Yakuza, still fun, visceral, and brutal to the point of ridiculous also got a bit of an overhaul. Instead of seeing people that want to fight you, then going to a loading screen that takes you to a fight, people spot you, you walk towards them, and the fight commences right there!
If you like to play open world games, but prefer them to be slightly more stereamlined and self contained of a story, and play area, then this game is worth giving a shot, If you prefer your open world games to be more of a sandbox, then this is likely not something you will enjoy too much.
This game has a lot to offer to people who a willing to jump in head first and immerse themselves in a well thought-out world that has many facets to it, and characters that feel as if you could meet them in the real world. While the camera could be slightly tweaked, and drawn further out, what has changed, added, and refreshed in this game is enough to entertain you for many weeks or months to come.
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