Yakuza is seriously my all-time favorite game series. With its fantastic storytelling, voice-acting, fighting mechanics, and its realistic portrayal of Japan the series has always taken my heart and caressed it with care as it delivered something amazing almost every time. For its latest chapter, we'll be peering into the lives of Kiryu, Majima, and the rest of the cast before they became the top dogs of the Japanese mafia in Yakuza 0.
For my play-though I was given the chance to play as Majima in the Sotenbori area of the game. Here I got a taste of some of the new combat upgrades the game would feature. As Majima I'm given the option to either fight with fists and feet; transform that style of fighting with a break dancing flare; or grab a baseball bat or nunchucks and go hog-wild on enemy yakuza, hooligans, and other sorts of punks. These new battle techniques add both a stylist flare and a hopping of youth into one of the better characters in the Yakuza series.
After some battle sequences I tried my hand at a side-quest (as the main game wasn't shown in order to avoid spoilers), where I posed as a young girl's fiancé for her overly-protective father. This required me to remember a back story that had Majima being a dentist, and that they've been going out for a few months. It's when you are asked how the two of you met when things can get rather funny. Naturally I chose the old "ran into her with toast in her mouth" routine, which got a huge laugh from myself and the other gamers behind me. After completing the quest -- with the father uncovering the ruse -- the biggest laugh unfolded, which I do not want to spoil here.
Yakuza 0's demo showcased everything I've loved about the series up to this point. The fights are still always a thrill to jump into, and its new mechanics add something fresh to the equation. Most importantly the storytelling looks to be on the same level of cleverness, emotion, and humor that we've come to expect in this prequel. Needless to say, this is one reporter who is looking all the more forward to diving back into the world of the Japanese mafia, even if that means working my way up from the bottom this time around.
Yakuza 0 is due for the PS4 in 2017.