Yakuza 6: The Song of Life - PS4

Also known as: Yakuza 6: The Song of Life: After Hours Premium Edition

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Viewed: 3D Third-person, over the shoulder Genre:
Adventure: Free Roaming
Media: Blu-Ray Arcade origin:No
Developer: SEGA Soft. Co.: SEGA
Publishers: SEGA (GB/GB)
Released: 17 Apr 2018 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 18+
Features: 1080p, PlayStation 4 Pro Enhanced
Accessories: DualShock 4 Vibration function


It's difficult not to fire up Yakuza 6: The Song of Life without at least a little trepidation. After a long and storied run Kiryu, The Dragon of Dojima, is at last getting his final chapter in this epic open world adventure in the seedy underbelly of Japanese organised crime.

Yakuza 6 opens with the familiar scene of Kiryu being released from prison following the events of the previous game. Kiryu returns to the orphanage he had set up in a previous game to meet with his adopted daughter Haruka, whom he has not seen for several years because of his imprisonment. Unfortunately, Haruka has long since left the orphanage and was last seen in Tokyo. Upon arrival back in his old stomping ground of Kamurocho Kiryu, now a civilian having left the Tojo Clan and his Yakuza identity behind, finds that she has not only been involved in a serious accident and is currently hospitalised, but also has a child by the name of Haruto. The 'Dragon of Dojima' is consequently dragged back into the underworld as he seeks to discover the reason for Haruka's accident and the identity of her child's father. This takes place against the usual backdrop of Yakuza scheming, political intrigue, revenge and murder.

Thematically, Yakuza 6 follows similar patterns to its predecessors with a focus on loyalty, family ties and generational conflict. As Kiryu comes to the end of his story, questions of legacy and succession dominate as the narrative focuses on issues such as the difficulty of parenting, the desire for parental approval and the rejection of tradition and expectation. To achieve this, a whole new cast of characters from the city of Hiroshima is introduced. Consequently, the story moves significantly faster than in previous entries, with a great deal of attention paid to character set up and the building of relationships.

The usual distractions exist such as the arcades, karaoke and Mahjong, along with the introduction of a new 'clan creator' mode, whereby you can build up your own gang of vigilantes to fight back against criminals in the town is welcome. This minigame is very similar to the 'tower defence' missions added to Assassin's Creed Revelations and offsets the main action nicely.

The political machinations of the Yakuza are as fascinating as ever and the deeply personal nature of Kiryu's quest, combined with some truly well characterised and excellently acted allies and villains may well leave you hesitant to finish the final chapter. After more than six entries in the series, 'The Dragon of Dojima' has built up a storied and epic past and Yakuza 6 gives him a powerful send-off.