Should You Play Yakuza 0 On Xbox One? | Yakuza 0 Xbox One Review

Should You Play Yakuza 0 On Xbox One? | Yakuza 0 Xbox One Review


For years the Yakuza series has largely been
associated with PlayStation consoles, but this week that’s changing in a big way with
the release of Yakuza 0 on Xbox One, which in turn also means a release on Windows 10. Today we’ll be talking about just the base
console version as my laptop can’t do the game justice, but it’s quite interesting and,
a little weird, frankly, to see this game surface in Xbox’s ecosystem. It feels like a great time to answer some
questions. Is it worth downloading if you’re a Game Pass
member who has heard a lot about the series but doesn’t know much about it? What’s all the fuss about with this series,
anyway? In short, just how is Yakuza 0 on the Xbox
One? Well, thanks to a review code generously provided
to me by SEGA I’ll happily answer those questions for you. The Yakuza series was introduced in late 2005
in Japan on the PlayStation 2. The primary protagonist is Kazuma Kiryu, an
ex-clan chairman who despite his best efforts to escape his past involvement with the Yakuza
and lead an honest life just keeps getting roped back into their affairs. Under his tough exterior is a man who can
only be faulted for caring too much for those in his life, and for acting without thinking
at crucial times. Thankfully it always tends to work out. Barring some exceptions, the series is set
in the modern day and aligns with the Japanese release dates of the games. These are very difficult games to condense
and convey briefly, to be frank. This is an epic saga spanning across decades
in-game with many recurring characters and plot threads. But if I had to provide a metaphor…in essence
they’re the Swiss army knife of video games. They offer up fantastic crime dramas filled
with twists and turns, emotional crescendos, weird humor, arcade-like brawling combat,
side stories that show a palpable belief in the good of humanity, and dozens of hours
of side content that you can easily lose yourself in; forgetting all about everything else it
has on offer. Yakuza 0 was a watershed moment for the series,
not only for being the entry that finally made it see more acclaim outside of Japan,
but also by markedly being the best entry up to that point. It’s a prequel to the rest of the series that’s
set in 1988, taking place during an economic upswing in Japan. Everyone has money to burn, which means those
with ill intent have all the more opportunity to sneak in and strike it big. The game features two playable protagonists
in their younger years; the aforementioned Kazuma Kiryu, and fan favorite Goro Majima. Kiryu’s story centers on him leaving the Yakuza
and trying to prove his innocence after being framed for a murder that’s disrupting the
clan’s agenda to take over a key part of the Kamurocho district. Meanwhile, Majima’s tale is about him falling
in love with a woman he needs to kill to be allowed back into his own family in the Yakuza,
an end goal he wants with every fiber of his being. These one sentence summaries do an absolute
disservice to the narrative conveyed in the game. Those summaries may sound very simple, but
each character is so wonderfully portrayed in such tense and gripping scenarios that
it’s impossible to not be enraptured. The game is dubbed in Japanese so you’ll need
to read along with the subtitles, but I promise you it is worth it. A lot of prequels are created with poor intention
and wind up rather sloppy, and while a couple key things in Yakuza 0 don’t gel very smoothly
with the rest of the series, it by and large avoids the curse of prequels and more than
justifies itself. It provides a very interesting take on its
lead characters all the while giving desperately needed screen time to key figures from Yakuza
1 that frankly just weren’t given the context they needed in that game. The only real fault I’d give the story is
that it does take some time to get its hooks in you, and the game is pretty story heavy
up front. So if you’re a newcomer, I ask that you just
give it some time. I guarantee that if you can make it to Chapter
3, you’ll be in love. Part of that guarantee rests on the strength
of the characters and narrative, but the rest of it lies in everything else the game has
to offer. The game’s two settings are rife with detail
and personality. The sets are dense, and they’re filled with
things to do and memorable characters to meet. When you’re not deep in the trenches of crime
drama, you may be navigating odd social situations by helping a timid punk band work on their
image for their fans, or pretending to be a stranger’s boyfriend at dinner with her
father, or helping a dominatrix get the hang of her job. In any other series, exiting an intense cutscene
where a man angrily chops off his own finger to go race cars in a room full of children
would just immediately fall apart tonally. But somehow Yakuza 0, and by extension the
entire series, confidently strides along that tricky tightrope act with aplomb. It really just gives you a little bit of everything
on the emotional spectrum, all the while with a confident swagger. It just radiates as a passion project from
all involved. I’ve focused a lot on the story aspects here,
but the game play is no slouch either. Both characters each have 3 fighting styles,
allowing them to control crowds, get in quick hits, or have a balanced approach to the game’s
many brawls. It’s not perfect combat by any means, on harder
difficulties enemies and bosses have annoying patterns and hit stun that can get frustrating. But it’s all so fluid and varied that it more
than holds its own. Yakuza games tend to run for a couple dozen
hours or so on a typical playthrough so being able to switch between styles on the fly helps
keep things lively. Also keeping things lively is everything else
on offer. Bowling, darts, real estate management, running
a cabaret club, customizing and racing pocket cars, fishing…these are just a handful of
the ways you can lose yourself. Some of these activities just serve as small
distractions, while others have entire substories with unique characters dedicated to them. Combined with the setting and memorable characters,
Yakuza 0 offers a sublime, unique form of virtual escapism unlike anything else. If you couldn’t tell by this point, Yakuza
0 is one of my favorite games ever created. Which is why I’m stoked that it’s came to
Xbox One for an entirely new audience to appreciate. Thankfully, the game performs just as well
as it did on PS4. Arguably it runs a bit better, as I haven’t
run into nearly as much screen tearing as the game exhibited on PS4. And just like on PS4 it runs at a mostly smooth
60 frames per second. It occasionally dips here and there, and cutscenes
still run at 30, but it never impacts the feel of the gameplay which is what really
matters at the end of the day. At times the visuals may look less than impressive,
but it’s important to keep in mind that Yakuza 0 was also developed for the PlayStation 3,
releasing in early 2015 in Japan. The visual splendor comes across where it
counts though, in the game’s wonderful higher production cutscenes and in its lighting in
night environments. All in all, the Xbox One version of Yakuza
0 is a fantastic way to experience the game, whether for the first time or to re-experience
it all over again. If you’re a lapsed SEGA fan who has ever found
yourself wondering what happened to their game’s unique brand of depth, charm, and style,
you’ll find it in this game…and sometimes quite literally, you’ll find it in this game. I’ve done my best to answer the questions
I posed at the start of this video quickly, but this is a dense game with so much on offer
that there’s just simply no way for me to do so as effectively as it deserves without
going on for way too long. There are so many things I had to skip over
to keep this condensed. The best remedy in lieu of that is for you
to go experience it for yourself. To put it bluntly, Yakuza 0 is one of the
best games SEGA has ever produced and if you haven’t played it you’re just missing out. Sign up for Game Pass for a buck, download
the game, and then Play Yakuza. And if you’re curious to hear more about later
games in the series that are likely coming to Xbox One down the road I have a review
of Yakuza 2’s remake on GameXplain as well as a review of the PS4 remasters of 3 through
5 here on my channel. I’d like to thank SEGA again for the review
code, and all of my patrons for helping to keep this thing going. In particular, capric0rnus, TheLegendOfGroose,
PotateJello, GoldStorm07, Patrick Thompson, JEET, CalicoPlus, and The Craziest Even this
side of Broadway. Thank you.