Yakuza 6: The Song of Life

8.5 Overall Score
Gameplay: 8/10
Presentation: 8/10
Longevity: 10/10

Smooth game play, great sound, all the odd quirks like karaoke and batting cages

fan favorite things removed

Yakuza 6 is pretty much a direct follow up to Yakuza 5, as you continue through your journey with Kazuma Kiryu in the city Kamurocho. This time around though things have changed, not only in the core story line of the game, but also in the game mechanics. We’ll touch base on those details soon as we begin talk about Yakuza 6: The Song of Life.


The story picks up directly after Yakuza 5 ends. Kazuma is in the hospital recovering from the ending of the last game. As he recovers in the hospital the police arrest him for past crimes. Kazuma, decides to accept this situation and atone for his crimes. The game then picks up, after he spends roughly 3 years in prison, with Kazuma going back to the orphanage to try and find, Haruka. He finds out some upsetting news about her. She has been involved in a hit and run and is in a hospital in Kamurocho and also finds out that she has had a child. All of this happened in the 3 year absence and is the start of the story to The Song of Life.

The over all game play this time around is maybe, the most stream lined in the series, but as stream lined as it feels it does have it disadvantages. If you’re coming off recent Yakuza games you may not be pleased. The fighting styles are more traditional to the first games. You have one style that you use and upgrade. What ends up happening it every time you go into combat it feels repetitive with only one style. The dragon engine that is implemented here allows you to seamlessly go into combat unlike past games, and allows for all kinds of cool finishers. When talking about the core combat its really a give and take situation for everything that works out well, it seems that you also feel something a bit negative in the controls, but over all it just fits in this game and becomes more comfortable as you progress through. Overall the controls are not an issue, but it was worth being touched on.

The activities in the game have changed, and mostly for the better. The mini games are different and fun. The baseball game is incredibly fun. Even though its a bit automated, at times you take control of a player and will bat or pitch. It plays like an actual baseball game and is a nice change of pace. The new clan recruitment feature is nice as well. Almost playing like an RTS you have to recruit people from the city for your clan. The arcades are nice as always. they feature full game versions of games like OutRun, Super Hang On, Fantasy Zone and Virtua Fighter 5. The truly disappointing thing about the mini games are they they have removed fan favorites, bowling and pool.

Yakuza 6

Other side things have changed as well. Things like eating. Now when you pick a meal plan, the meal actually enhances and helps certain abilities based off what you have ate. For example, when you eat a particular combo of food it may give you bonus experience or even bonus damage. Or when you get intoxicated, you have a place in your skill tree that will allow you to be stronger for being drunk. Or maybe you may want to do a side mission to collect stray cats for a cat cafe. Needless to say there is plenty to do in this game beside the main story

The general look of the game is wonderful. Its clean and smooth with no kind of frame rate lag or anything you may worry about in games that are similar. There is a night and day difference in the general look of the game, but it’s the little things that make it seem like it’s special. Like the newly added first person mode that will let you play and explore in new way and maybe even appreciate the environments around you a little more. In a time when games tend to have either great game play or great graphics this game delivers on both. Like any game that’s pushing the system its running you may see frame rate drop from time to time, but nothing that can’t be forgiven.

At the end of my time with this title, I really had a great time. Not to say I did not have any issues, but as mentioned above, its nothing that should turn anyone away from the game or the series. The die hards that have followed this game for years should be happy and its still very fresh for new players as well. As Sega wraps up Yakuza 6 you get the feeling that future entries may go in a new direction with the series and it seems like as the series is hitting a new high that it may be time to change things up to keep things feeling fresh in a really great way. My final thought here is that the game is a solid entry into a solid series and gamer and fans a like should be very happy with Yakuza 6 and after finishing it, should be eagerly anticipating August and the release of Kiwami 2.


Author: Eric Baumgardner View all posts by
I operate this site. I also have been gaming for 23 years. I am an Xbox LIVE Ambassador and an Xbox Community Xpert. Need anything find me on Twitter @junegore or email me at junegore@jgghgames.com