I really didn’t know what to expect with Yakuza going into its trailer screen and demo at Tokyo Game Show 2016. Despite enjoying many SEGA games growing up, somehow Yakuza always slipped through the cracks, especially now that it seems to take its sweet time coming over to America if at all.
Considering that it’s a game that’s only currently slated for release in Japan instead of a worldwide market, I was shocked at just how incredibly high quality the production value is. Closeup in cutscenes, Yakuza 6 goes right up to the uncanny valley, but without crossing it. Everything looks very lifelike, people are animated well and the voice acting seemed superb to me (I don’t speak a word of Japanese though so take that for what it’s worth).
The story trailer screened for us started off extremely dramatic and intense and then slowly devolved into the wacky game that I always thought it to be… and it was wonderful. I can’t wait to find out the backstory behind this baby getting hurled through the air. There is also still a laundry list of minigames to enjoy that range from normal to the completely batshit insane.
Just from what I was shown in the screening there’s going to be a dating sim, arcade cabinets featuring real games, spear fishing, working out, some kind of cat raising simulator, baseball, and more. Every time a new one was shown I thought OK that has to be it, and then something else even crazier came up next. There will be no shortage what so ever of stuff to do in Yakuza 6’s open world in between kicking ass. In the hands-on demo, I got to mess around with the dating sim. Needless to say I’m not as smooth in Japanese as I am in English. Randomly picking dialogue options didn’t get me very far, and I had to spend a ton of money on dinner just to keep her from walking out. Rough.
Anyway, speaking of the hands-on demo, I got to mess around a little bit in the open world, as well as play a short story mission. Again, I’ve never played Yakuza 6, so my initial impression of getting to try it for the first time is that it is a modern day Streets of Rage. I was just running around, beating the crap out of every group of thugs that got in my way. Depending on where you’re fighting, you can dynamically interact with items. For example, mid-combo I was able to finish someone off by smashing their head into a pole.
Over time through effective fighting, you will build up a bar that triggers some kind of trance mode where you can wail on people in high speed and brutally finish someone off if you focus your attacks on them. I’m still not sure how much the combat will evolve over the game, and whether or not it will get repetitive, but I was sure having a great time over the 30 minutes or so I got to play it.
Story wise, I obviously couldn’t get a great feel for everything without being able to speak the language. It was just a bit of walking around until I ended up in a house and into a confrontation with what appears to be one of the major characters from the trailer I watched. Eventually a boss fight was triggered, which played out pretty similar to regular combat but obviously took longer. I took him down pretty easily so I assume that this is one of the early missions in the game.
With only such a small taste of the story and only getting to experience a very basic part of the open world, it’s too early to get overly excited for Yakuza 6. That being said, it was maybe the most fun I had at the show, and everything seems to be lining up the way fans want. It’s never too early to start begging SEGA to localize it, so if you’re a super fan, I’d go ahead and get stared on that.