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All things Yakuza! - Start with Yakuza Zero


womblingfree
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35 minutes ago, Mr. Gerbik said:

I see what you're saying but I don't agree. Mainly because if people start with Kiwami 1 they're far more likely to bounce off it and miss out on the brilliance of the series. With Zero they have the biggest chance to get hooked, which is a bigger factor to take into consideration for newcomers.

 

...but Kiwami 1 is really, really good! This is why it makes not much sense to me? 

 

It's shorter, the main story is great, the combat options and upgrades are more stream lined. It's the perfect intro and Zero is a great follow up to it where there's more of everything. 

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1 minute ago, Kevvy Metal said:

 

...but Kiwami 1 is really, really good! This is why it makes not much sense to me? 

 

It's shorter, the main story is great, the combat options and upgrades are more stream lined. It's the perfect intro and Zero is a great follow up to it where there's more of everything. 

I love you for saying that, Y1 on PS2 -which Kiwami is based on- was also my first entry into the series and I immediately fell in love. But even so it's the weakest in a strong series and Zero is more approachable imho. Anecdotally a lot of people don't seem to like Kiwami 1 as much and are glad they did Zero first in hindsight, so I'm going with that :)

 

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I get what yer saying Kev, but whenever I first started on this multiple-entry journey, I wasn’t 100% sure it would be for me. I simply wanted to play a stand-alone story, and the best game in the series, and Yak0 appeared to be all of those things, so that’s the one I played. I have since been playing through the whole lot of them sequentially (in terms of story chronology) while always allowing for a good amount of time to elapse between playing each entry (cramming 3 and 4 consecutively in order to get hyped up for an eventually cancelled holiday to Japan aside). I’m glad I started with 0. I’m not sure I’d have been as motivated to play through the lot had I gone with Kiwami (which wasn’t actually an option for me at the time, but still :lol: )

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Conversely, 0 killed a lot of my interest in the future of the series, having been a fan from the very beginning. I played 6 due to it being the finale of Kiryu, but have not bothered with Kiwami 2, Judgment and am only interested by 7 due to the change to RPG mechanics (though I am majorly bummed out upon hearing

Spoiler

that Kiryu actually turns up in it. Really takes the wind out of his ending to see him again so soon

). I vastly prefer Kiwami to 0 and would rather replay any game in the series over 0. I'm a bit of a broken record with regards to repeating that statement but it feels weird to be in such a minority with regards to 0, I wish I could see what almost everyone else does in it, but instead I rank it way down the list.

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That's fair enugh. Only way to know how you feel about it is to play them all! :D

 

of course different people are going to have different opinions and that's okay. But the vast majority seems to adore Zero so it's the safest recommendation you can give to a newcomer regardless of personal preference.

 

@Cheyenne

give it some time and then give Judgment a go when you can get it cheap. Big chance that if you go in with low expectations you'll end up loving it because it's something different, it stands apart from the Kiryu saga. 

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9 minutes ago, JoeK said:

Yakuza 6 could well end up as my fave one based on the initial hour or so I’ve played. It was a strangely emotional moment seeing all my wards in the orphanage again :) .

It might be my favorite too. Lots of nostalgia, story is great and Onomichi is my favorite town in all the games. Really has that JRPG vibe to it. 

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I've been playing Yakuza 0 while it's on Gamepass and I'm really struggling with it, to be honest. I'm up to Chapter 4 now (I think) and I like the characters and the worldbuilding, but twice now I've been playing the game and the cut scenes have gone on that long that the controller has gone to sleep followed by the console dimming the screen. When I'm exploring the city, I'm enjoying myself, but then the game randomly throws huge cutscenes at you. I hate games which don't respect the players time - it's the reason I gave up on the Metal Gear Solid series and this is dangerously close to being abandoned. 

 

Does it improve at all? I want to like it, but if it's going to be like this all the way through then I'm dropping it now. 

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57 minutes ago, Mr. Gerbik said:

That's fair enugh. Only way to know how you feel about it is to play them all! :D

 

of course different people are going to have different opinions and that's okay. But the vast majority seems to adore Zero so it's the safest recommendation you can give to a newcomer regardless of personal preference.

 

@Cheyenne

give it some time and then give Judgment a go when you can get it cheap. Big chance that if you go in with low expectations you'll end up loving it because it's something different, it stands apart from the Kiryu saga. 

I definitely will. A burnout definitely came into play (it took 9 years to get six Yakuza games released in the EU, and since 2017 we've had just as many!) and I'm being sure to let my opinions cool down and play other stuff to let the appetite for it build up again. The same for Kiwami 2 and Fist of the North Star; I've invested enough time with the developer and still overrall enjoy the games, majorly helped by few if any other developers putting out this kind of game, even if I've been oversaturated.

 

What is the general length of Judgment, and how would you place its narrative and characters next to Yakuza? For context, the primary reason why I bounced hard off 0 was due to its length which I felt was unnecessarily long (huge reason why I enjoyed Kiwami that much more, you get all the fun of the multiple combat styles in a package about 1/3rd the length) and I felt the characters had become hollow fanservice versions of themselves. I genuinely dislike Majima in 0 and view it as the game that turned him into the Jack Sparrow/Poochie of the series. I imagine Judgment doesn't have to worry about continuity and can be its own individual thing, which excites me as I still view Binary Domain as being amongst the very best the studio has put out.

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1 hour ago, mdn2 said:

I've been playing Yakuza 0 while it's on Gamepass and I'm really struggling with it, to be honest. I'm up to Chapter 4 now (I think) and I like the characters and the worldbuilding, but twice now I've been playing the game and the cut scenes have gone on that long that the controller has gone to sleep followed by the console dimming the screen. When I'm exploring the city, I'm enjoying myself, but then the game randomly throws huge cutscenes at you. I hate games which don't respect the players time - it's the reason I gave up on the Metal Gear Solid series and this is dangerously close to being abandoned. 

 

Does it improve at all? I want to like it, but if it's going to be like this all the way through then I'm dropping it now. 

 

...see, this is why I would recommend Kiwami over Zero. I found Zero to be quite bloated and verbose in comparison to the FAR tighter experience that is Kiwami, then I'd imagine once you get the idea of what these Yakuza games are all about, a game like Zero makes more sense. 

 

Zero doesn't even let you save anywhere either which is an option available in Kiwami, and Zero takes an absolute AGE to get going. 

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47 minutes ago, Cheyenne said:

I definitely will. A burnout definitely came into play (it took 9 years to get six Yakuza games released in the EU, and since 2017 we've had just as many!) and I'm being sure to let my opinions cool down and play other stuff to let the appetite for it build up again. The same for Kiwami 2 and Fist of the North Star; I've invested enough time with the developer and still overrall enjoy the games, majorly helped by few if any other developers putting out this kind of game, even if I've been oversaturated.

 

What is the general length of Judgment, and how would you place its narrative and characters next to Yakuza? For context, the primary reason why I bounced hard off 0 was due to its length which I felt was unnecessarily long (huge reason why I enjoyed Kiwami that much more, you get all the fun of the multiple combat styles in a package about 1/3rd the length) and I felt the characters had become hollow fanservice versions of themselves. I genuinely dislike Majima in 0 and view it as the game that turned him into the Jack Sparrow/Poochie of the series. I imagine Judgment doesn't have to worry about continuity and can be its own individual thing, which excites me as I still view Binary Domain as being amongst the very best the studio has put out.

 

 

..absolutely this as well. I just couldn't get my head around the quite complex battle options in Zero as there's a lot of it. Where as it's SO much tighter in Kiwami. 

 

This is all some kind of glass half-empty/half-full type scenario, where some people would consider Kiwami a disappointingly slight Yakuza game coming off Zero, where as I found it to be a far tighter and focused and ultimately far better introduction to the series, and I'm sure I would of enjoyed Zero a whole lot more off the back of Kiwami. 

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Maybe the Zero vs Kiwami thing comes down to whether you prefer big open-ended games or tighter narrative experiences. Kiwami’s main plot is pretty good and if you mainly stick to that then you’ll have a good time. But there’s no doubt that its side activities and (especially) its sub stories are a pale shadow of what you can find in Zero. It’s really a game to rush though for the story, before getting stuck into the much more satisfying Kiwami 2. 

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Good shout, Gar. The stories in these things are way low down on what I enjoy most about these games. I lose track of who’s double crossed who. What I enjoy most about them is the side story and mini game absurdity. Getting on with the story is just eating your vegetables, really. Gimme Miracle Johnson’s silly sweets ahead of all that any day. 
 

I love just dicking about and pootling around, seeing what I can see, kicking some cunts in as I go. Bliss.

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It’s only cutscene heavy when there’s story stuff happening, so at the beginning and end of any given chapter. Once it eventually opens up you can fuck all that in the bin for a bit and go disco dancing, wanking and bowling to your heart’s content. Go several hours without seeing a cutscene, other than the daft wee low-cost non-voice acted in-game-engine ones that you get doing subquests and that. With those you could always just mash the chat button to batter through the 4 or so lines of text, but then you miss out on wannabe bad boy punk rockers who’ve never even seen a boob.

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If you’re just playing it through for the story you’re gonna get annihilated with long cutscenes, let’s be honest. But I can’t fathom just battering through these games in order to see some story stuff. You really need to stop and smell the panties flowers.

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1 hour ago, Garwoofoo said:

Maybe the Zero vs Kiwami thing comes down to whether you prefer big open-ended games or tighter narrative experiences. Kiwami’s main plot is pretty good and if you mainly stick to that then you’ll have a good time. But there’s no doubt that its side activities and (especially) its sub stories are a pale shadow of what you can find in Zero. It’s really a game to rush though for the story, before getting stuck into the much more satisfying Kiwami 2. 

 

or Kiwami into Zero! 

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Ah, see the story is actually what I dig most about the games! I'm really into the slower pacing and those scenes of characters sitting and talking, I'm all in for that. When one starts up I put the kettle on so I can sit back and stew in the melodrama. :D

 

As it's what I enjoy most about the games (well, characters first and foremost, then the stories they're wrapped up in), the prequel nature of 0 is what took me out of it. I genuinely love that each game is a proper continuation of games past, so when you do get to Kiryu's finale in 6, it really feels like the end of a decades long story, where character relationships have slowly grown and evolved. As was mentioned a little earlier, returning to the Orphanage at the beginning of 6 was pretty emotional for me too! It felt like an earned moment, after so many years of drama, to have this sweet moment of reconnection, seeing how the kids have grown in the interim years. The main story characters in 0 by comparison either have zero (ha!) impact on the following events, or do not return in the story, so as I was being introduced to villains my mind was going 'this person is insignificant as I have never heard their name mentioned in the six games that chronologically follow this' and the same extended to protagonist figures. It came across like a retcon. Annoyingly, some characters that would have prominence later in the timeline are either minimally featured (Shimano, Fuma, Sera, Dojima, even Nishiki) or completely absent (where the hell is Yumi!). I dug the bosses standing in Kiryu and Majima's path, apart from Kuze who was a useless annoyance, but never once did I believe their threat as this is the first and last we'll see of them. Piss piss moan moan.

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1 hour ago, Garwoofoo said:

From memory it’s about chapter 6 when Zero really opens up. And when it does... oh boy. 

 

Yes definitely. It was my first Yakuza game and I was thinking the game was just ok at the point mdn2 was at. Then you start Kiryu and Majima's day jobs and the thing goes mental. Throwing millions of side stuff at you. Its easy to then go 10 hours between chapters with the amount of fun stuff to do. That's when the game got great for me.

 

Kiwami 1 hasen't blown me away yet and fucking hell the ring fetch quest at the start of the game and the funeral misson were awful. I turned it off last night after that. I've heard this is when the game opens up and gets good though, so looking forward to messing about later. I'm glad I played through and loved 0 first tbh. I might not have gone back otherwise.

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Yeah, that boss at the funeral in Kiwami is a low point for the whole series, especially if you haven’t unlocked the moves you need to take him down effectively. It took me about half an hour to beat him and it was boring as hell. 
 

It does pick up after that. Never to the same level as Zero but I found unlocking all of Kiryu’s Dragon moves and beating all of Majima’s insane variants quite compulsive. Do stick with it. 

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Doing both back-to-back will cast an unfavorable shadow on Kiwami, as 0 does contain a lot of similar set pieces. I can't help but wonder if it was intentional on the end of the team, a chance to revisit a number of scenarios but now with over a decade of experience being able to deliver a better paced sequence. The two that easily spring to mind are the aforementioned funeral escape/Tojo escape, and the car chase. The latter is why I think it was intentional, as it was notably ropey in the original game and subsequently was never tried again, so why not give it another shot in the final game using that engine?

 

As an aside, if you play Kiwami on Legend it is comfortably the worst part of the game, as it immediately follows the attack against the Snake Flower Triad and you cannot save inbetween. Mega frustrating.

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1 hour ago, Cheyenne said:

Doing both back-to-back will cast an unfavorable shadow on Kiwami, as 0 does contain a lot of similar set pieces. I can't help but wonder if it was intentional on the end of the team, a chance to revisit a number of scenarios but now with over a decade of experience being able to deliver a better paced sequence. The two that easily spring to mind are the aforementioned funeral escape/Tojo escape, and the car chase. The latter is why I think it was intentional, as it was notably ropey in the original game and subsequently was never tried again, so why not give it another shot in the final game using that engine?

 

As an aside, if you play Kiwami on Legend it is comfortably the worst part of the game, as it immediately follows the attack against the Snake Flower Triad and you cannot save inbetween. Mega frustrating.

 

Absolutely agree about the back-to-back issues you might have if you did Zero and then Kiwami. It was precisely this that caused me to stop Kiwami pretty early on and not pick it up again for another 6 months. Upon which I got well into it and absolutely loved it.

 

And then I became hopelessly addicted to the whole series :p . 

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2 minutes ago, Calashnikov said:

Don’t forget that kid wanting a jazz mag in 0. Wonderfully observed.


There’s an awful lot of great bits like that which folk won’t see because everyone loves to go on about the whacky side stories or the over the top main tales. But I’m increasingly convinced that the series has more ‘proper’ thoughtful and ‘human’ writing than anything else out there. It’s just wrapped up in an epic soap opera package!

 

It’s just great.

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