Yakuza Zero

I've been playing this recently and enjoying it. The Yakuza series is a fairly long one mostly released on playstation up to its 6th game with a multitude of spinoffs, recently they've been remastering the original games and releasing them on PS4 and PC.

Anyway Yakuza 0 which came out relatively recently is a prequel to the existing games set before the first one and features two playable characters Kazuma Kiryu and Goro Majima. Set in the 1980s the story revolves around an empty lot in Kamurocho Tokyo the ownership of which is the lynch pin to controlling the redevelopment of up and coming leisure district and all the income from it. Kiryu a young yakuza just starting out gets framed for a murder that is somehow related to the ownership of the empty lot. This draws the ire of the Yakuza bosses who have been tasked with the lots acquisition and which ever one manages it will be promoted to second in command of the clan. Kiryu has to go on the run to find who was responsible and prevent retribution for his supposed actions falling on his foster father.

Meanwhile Majima is running the most successful cabaret club in Sōtenbori, Osaka on the surface he is a charismatic and successful businessman nicknamed "lord of the night" but he is in fact a prisoner of the area a disgraced and exiled former Yakuza who disobeyed orders and was then tortured and now is trying to work his way back into the clan.

These two stories play out in chapters with a few chapters on Kiryu in tokyo then switching to Majima in Osaka showing their tales play out.

In amongst this are a lot of side quests often quite odd here is a small selection of the sort of things I've done so far. Helped a dominatrix who was no good at her job learn how to properly dominate her customers. Helped a puzzle obsessed man propose to his girlfriend by way of a crossword. Helped a man who wanted to get a rare necklace for his girlfriends birthday have a fake made. Taught a band of greaser rockers who have this artificial hardcore thug image pretend convincingly during a fan meetup. Helped a man who was acting as a statue but needed the bathroom escape by distracting a crowd watching him so he didn't break the illusion. It's all a bit mental and very japanese.

On top of that there are a multitude of other side activities like Karaoke, Dancing, Mahjong, Fishing, Bowling, RC car racing, Underground Cat Fight Wrestling matches each with their own minigames and a series of classic sega arcades all fully playable (outrun, space harrier and others) and eventually things like business activities for Kiryu, and club running for Majima which are ways to make more cash.

Each character has three distinct fighting styles they can switch to Kiryu has Thug, Beast, and Rush and Majima has Brawler, Weapons, and Breakdance (it is the 80's). They each have their own upgrade trees and individual trainers you can find to unlock better moves. The combat is fluid and fun with most normal fights being against 3-4 opponents larger fights going up to 10 or so and then boss fights being a mix of group fights and one on one battles. The fighting mechanic is that as you pummel your foes you bash cash out of them which can be used to buy stuff in game or "invested" in skills.

The gameworld is pseudo openworld but it's confined to the block of either Tokyo or Osaka the side quests and various minigames are then packed in fairly dense into this small area such that it never suffers from the huge area with a small amount of content spread thin across the game map.

It's a fun game with a interesting story interspersed with these random side quests which are often fairly humorous and a fun combat and progressions system. The port is fairly good I did run into one bug with the claw machine not working correctly hopefully they fix that fairly soon but other than that is was pretty polished and looks pretty good. I've been enjoying it quite a lot.