I’ve written my Yakuza 6 preview based on the demo that is now publicly available. While it’s only a demo, the Yakuza 6 prologue is more than enough to reignite my excitement for the upcoming release.
Even though I played Yakuza Kiwami less than a year ago, there’s just something about the series that makes me a fan.
Thus far, Yakuza 6 is no exception, in fact, it seems bigger and better than ever.
The power of the PS4 has made the world of Yakuza come alive more than ever before.
The character models and their expressiveness is unbelievable and having every line of dialogue voice-acted just brings the entire package together in a way that’s never been done before.
Yakuza 6 preview
As soon as I started the Yakuza 6 I was met with a familiar situation; an incredibly long series of cutscenes, exposition and scene-setting.
This is par for the course with Yakuza and also probably accounts for the enormous 37GB download size.
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These opening scenes bring us up to speed with what’s happened since we last saw Kiryu and Haruka.
Having gone back to prison, Kiryu leaves Haruka in charge of Morning Glory. All is well until tabloids start to call the orphanage a Yakuza safehouse and accusing Haruka of being part of organised crime.
In a bid to protect Kiryu’s legacy and the children at the Orphanage, Haruka flees, embarrassed, ashamed and hurt and disappears.
On his release from prison, Kiryu returns to Morning Glory and finds Haruka missing. Determined to find his adopted daughter, Kiryu returns to the one place he never wanted to, Kamurocho.
When you do finally get to take control of Kiryu, everything feels familiar. The movement, combat and exploration have fundamentally remained the same.
It’s quite simply, a lot more polished.
The most impressive thing about Yakuza 6 and its level of polish are the game’s transitions. In previous titles, when you entered combat or a new location, you’d be forced to wait while the game loaded.
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Every transition is seamless. Whether you walk into a restaurant and start ordering or you’re accosted by a group of ‘Menacing Men’, Yakuza 6 never skips a beat.
It makes exploring Kamurocho much more enjoyable. You’re never paused or held up by the game and the immersion of being in a Japanese city is never broken.
After playing Yakuza Kiwami, not being forced to wait in Yakuza 6, really does make a massive difference to the experience
The Kamurocho Playground
In the Yakuza 6 preview (demo) your search for Haruka is cut short. After investigating a number of clues, you reach the next area only to be greeted with a sign that reads “Not available in the trial version.”
These signs are actually littered all around Kamurocho in the demo version. It’s not a surprise, but it is disappointing.
Only because of how keen I am to experience everything Yakuza 6 has to offer.
There is still plenty to do, despite the inaccessible content.
In the short time I explored, I managed to find and complete a number of substories, sing Karaoke, play in the batting cages, join the RIZAP gym and eat at a bunch of restaurants.
The best part about doing it all is that the saves from the Yakuza 6 demo will carry over to the full game. Playing the demo for an extended period of time and trying to find all the game’s secrets is actually worthwhile.
When Yakuza 6 is launched I can hit the ground running.
April can’t come soon enough
My biggest takeaway from the Yakuza 6 demo is just how streamlined everything is. SEGA has really worked hard to remove any roadblocks in the experience and has certainly seemed to have achieved it.
The demo may be a little light on proper, story content, but there’s more than enough exploration to get on with.
Combat feels great and really strives to make the one fighting system feel like a combination of the four we’ve seen in previous titles.
Yakuza is a series that’s divisive and those who have never liked it won’t find anything in Yakuza 6 to change their minds. Fans on the other hand, are going to absolutely adore it.
Visually, it’s the best looking Yakuza game ever and the same can be said of the audio and gameplay.
Honestly, if the story manages to stack up, Yakuza 6 may very well be both a send-off for Kiryu and the very best game in the franchise.
Bring on April.