No menu items!

    Yakuza 6: The Song of Life review

    Need to know

    What is it? The seventh Yakuza game, set before Like a Dragon in the chronology.
    Expect to pay $20/£15
    Developer RGG Studio
    Publisher Sega
    Reviewed on GeForce GTX 1070, 32GB RAM, Ryzen 7 3700X
    Multiplayer? Yes, for minigames
    Link Official site (opens in new tab)

    $24.99 (opens in new tab)View at Amazon (opens in new tab)149 Amazon customer reviews (opens in new tab)☆☆☆☆☆

    One of the peculiarities of Sega’s PC port release schedule—releasing the series (almost) chronologically, rather than in the order they were made—is it lessens the original impact that Yakuza 6 once had. It’s no longer a showcase for the new Dragon engine, because Yakuza Kiwami 2 exists and does that better. And it’s not as experimental or new as Yakuza: Like a Dragon, which features turn-based combat and a different protagonist—making it a fine jumping on point for anyone looking to skip ahead to the very latest in the series.

    That means there are a lot of reasons not to play Yakuza 6, at least not yet. On PC, the entire series has released at a relatively breakneck pace, with the remasters of Yakuza 3-5 all arriving at the beginning of this year. Have you played Yakuza 5? You should: it’s wild, arguably the most ambitious the series has ever been, and delightful as a result. Have you played Yakuza 4? It’s not my favourite, but it introduces a handful of characters that have a major presence in subsequent games. Have you played Yakuza 3? To be honest, you can probably get away with skipping that one.

    Yakuza 6, then, is Kazama Kiryu’s final game as protagonist—the end of a story that has played out over hundreds of hours across six previous games. And while each game throws up a different central antagonist, ensuring the immediate threat is always somewhat standalone, the series’ connective tissue has always been the relationships that Kiryu has forged along the way.

    Kiryu and allies fighting a large corridor full of foes.

    (Image credit: Sega)

    Yakuza 6, does, at least, get a big performance update on PC, with uncapped framerates providing a nice upgrade over the PS4 version. I was a little worried early on, when Kiryu’s luggage started jiggling uncontrollably in that way that suggests the physics had been hardcoded to a now-unleashed framerate, but otherwise it all seemed to work as intended.

    Even playing on an increasingly aging GTX 1070 graphics card at near-maximum settings on 1440p, it held consistent at around 60fps. And while Yakuza has never exactly been the prettiest series, the Dragon Engine games continue to look great with incredibly detailed faces and animations (at least for those characters deemed important enough to bother with). That said, the subtitles are still slightly too low-res, with noticeable aliasing. It’s a minor problem, but an ongoing one.

    The broad strokes of every Yakuza game are the same: a story that runs the gamut from hard-boiled mystery to interpersonal drama, a suite of ridiculous substories that almost always end with punching a guy into having a heartwarming revelation, a handful of minigames and side stories, all tied together with a likeable protagonist able to withstand the tonal shifts. The difference between each comes down to a handful of things: the plot, the themes, the surprising new distractions, the feel of the destinations. Yakuza 6 isn’t the best game in the series, but it’s nonetheless a deserving part of it, and well worth playing… at least when you’re ready.

    TODAY’S BEST DEALS$24.99 (opens in new tab)at Amazon (opens in new tab)

    As seen on PCgamer

    Latest articles

    Related articles