We have to get over it: this last chapter of Yakuza is the end of the story of Kazuma Kiryu, the Dragon of Dojima. Yakuza 6: The Song of Life leads us to experience what, right from the start, was shown as the latest effort by Kiryu, a character who since the PlayStation 2 has entered the hearts of old fans and who, thanks to Yakuza Kiwami, has made his way into the new generation . It is often said that it is easier to start a story than to finish it, and the Yakuza storywriters must have tried it firsthand: yet this sixth episode has courage to spare, although it is not without flaws.
The end of an era
Leaving a video game character always hurts: we have been used to losing historical sagas without seeing a sequel, but knowing that a possible and future Yakuza 7 will have other characters as protagonists leaves a bit of a vacuum. On the other hand, Kiryu's journey in this sixth chapter could also leave you a little bitter in your mouth due to bold and, most likely, right stylistic choices.
In fact, it must be understood that in front of you you will not find the vast and deep Yakuza 0 and Yakuza Kiwami, nor the complex and rich plots of co-protagonists of Yakuza 4 and Yakuza 5. The Song of Life is a hybrid, something that innovates, defines and improves, and to do so sacrifices some things. Mainly, Kiryu's swan song sees as the protagonist only and exclusively the Dragon of Dojima: this is not reduced only to the playable character, but also to the whole script, written to make the player live the experiences only and exclusively of Kazuma. The Dragon Engine graphics engine manages, now as never before, to bring realistic characters to the screen, full of expressions and sprinkling pathos from all pores: this, together with photography and filming, makes Yakuza 6: The Song of Life one of the best chapters in terms of directing.
The novelty obstacle is overcome after a few hours, and the bravest, having come to understand the soul of this sixth chapter, will be able to enjoy what is the best adventure dedicated to Kamurocho, despite the limitations: do not expect the same depth seen in the chapters. previous, as many mini-games will disappear to encourage a deepening of those that will remain. Darts and fishing have in fact completely revolutionized their system, becoming more extensive and detailed: there will be karaoke and cabinets, containing games such as Puyo Puyo and Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown. The pace of the game has also become more peaceful: Kiryu no longer has fighting styles, the moves have decreased and their concatenation has become more reasoned, almost as if to mark the time more slowly, like the last beats of a heart. The deliberate choice, and quite courageous, manages to catapult the series dedicated to the Japanese mafia towards a more modern style, and between this and the new graphics engine, this time we are facing a real Next-Gen Yakuza.
The rest of the Dragon
If you have not had the opportunity to try some chapters, or simply your memory is having a tantrum, the game will allow you to see very synthetic summaries narrating all the plots of the various chapters, so as to catch up in less than 20 minutes.
The beginning of the whole game is positioned right at the conclusion of Yakuza 5: the consequences of Kiryu's actions will lead him to spend a period in prison, and will lead Haruka to have to face the revelations made on stage during her concert. After getting out of prison, Kiryu will have to protect Haruka again, this time in the hospital, because in danger of life.
Without making further hints to the plot, of vital importance to enjoy the game to the fullest, this time Kiryu will have to solve many problems, especially personal, to prevent the people he cares about getting into trouble. As a collection of bills, Kazuma will face dangers in the future, present and past, and can only do so thanks to his courage, his experience and the people who rely on him. We will have the opportunity to discuss the ending, which many might like while others make disgust (we are talking about an ending that reaches the seventh chapter, it is assumed that it will not satisfy everyone), but for now it remains only to accept that, for better or for worse , this time it's over (even if hope is the last to die).
The choice to bet everything on the Dojima Dragon it has even taken away a lot of space from historical figures such as Majima or Daigo, but rightly, to avoid going further into the game, it was necessary this time to concentrate well on one thing. Accompanying the ever-present Kamurocho, a stage of a thousand meetings and the whole story of the Yakuza series, there will be Onomichi, Hiroshima, a really important location for the development of the plot.
The real novelty, however, a pivotal point that shows the teeth of the whole production, is the disappearance of the loads: now to move from the Kamurocho road to a shop you will not have to wait for a tedious loading: just open the door, and you can continue playing without interruptions. Even from inside the buildings, the street will show life, becoming one of the liveliest reproductions of the famous city in comparison to the old chapters. Only the fights will require a slight loading, not even a second, probably to change the game controls from exploration to combat.