January 2017 was the first time I actually played a Yakuza game. I’d tried multiple of them for an hour or so before, but Yakuza 0 was the first one I sat down and actually played. From beginning to end.
Did I like it? Hell yeah I did – so much so that I gave it a whopping nine out of ten in my review. And since then, I’ve dropped everything to play each subsequent Yakuza remake and sequel as they’ve been released. Yakuza Kiwami I found to be a bit disappointing after playing Yakuza 0, but still very good. Yakuza 6, on the other hand, was just brilliant. And next, I cant wait to get stuck into Yakuza Kiwami 2. Before that though, I thought I’d reacquaint myself with the game that brought on my newfound love for the series. Now available on PC, Yakuza 0 is a title that’s definitely worth revisiting.
While Yakuza 0 performs admirably on PS4, the job that SEGA has done bringing it over to PC puts it in the shade. A range of graphics options are available, and even on a modest PC you’re likely to be able to match the PS4 version’s performance and graphical fidelity. For those with PCs with a little more oomph though, options such as SSAA really bring Kamurocho and the rest of Yakuza 0‘s environments to life. Maxed out, Yakuza 0 simply looks gorgeous; puddles on the streets reflect the neon lights of clubs, back alleys are thick with grime, and main characters’ faces show more detail than you’d expect. On PC, Yakuza 0 is given a chance to shine, and it really does.
Aside from showcasing Yakuza 0‘s assets, however, there’s little else here to attract those who have already played the PS4 version of the game. Load times are quicker, and you can also play with an Xbox One controller if you wish, complete with the respective button prompts. Otherwise, this is exactly the same game that it was some 18 months ago. If you’ve not yet played Yakuza 0 though, you should really go about changing that right now.
Available for the generously low price of £14.99/$19.99, Yakuza 0 follows the exploits of Kazuma Kiryu, who finds himself in a world of trouble after simple debt collection job takes an unexpected turn. It also allows you to take control of the unhinged Goro Majima, who despite being unpredictable, is also a hell of a lot of fun to be around. With their destinies entwined, you’ll witness their friendship, and rivalry, develop over the course of the game’s 40-odd hour story. And despite its length, it keeps you gripped. Well, mostly.
Admittedly, there are some slumps during Yakuza 0‘s running time; its pacing isn’t always on point. Each trough is followed by mountainous peaks though, meaning on the balance of things you walk away from Yakuza 0 feeling like you’ve played something that towers over a vast majority of AAA epics. It helps that Kazuma Kiryu is such a likeable star. He’s a paradox that’s clever but naive, bold but also caring and apologetic, violent yet gentle. Even though he mostly goes around beating people up in the street, you can’t help but feel like he’s doing it as a hero rather than a ruffian.
Irritatingly, Yakuza 0 on PC also doesn’t address the PS4 version’s other bugbear – needing to visit a phone box to save. It’s not too much of a problem, especially once the game opens up after its first few hours, but it’s still an archaic way of handling things. Just hope that no one is going to want to drag you away from your PC unexpectedly while you’re playing.
Even with these problems unresolved though, Yakuza 0 on PC is simply brilliant. It may not have any additional features or content, but it already has more than its fair share to offer. And at its price point, the visual upgrades sweeten what is already a great deal. If you’ve not yet played Yakuza 0, you’d be a fool to skip it on PC. And if you’ve already played the PS4 version but want to revisit Kiryu’s first outing, there are worse ways to spend your money. If any game is worth double-dipping on, Yakuza 0 is quite possibly the one.