Yakuza 0 originally launched on PlayStation 3 in 2015 in Japan. Since then it's been available on PlayStation 4 and PC, but Xbox One owners were left out until now. Head of Xbox Phil Spencer has been making a lot of trips to Japan lately, and it looks like those efforts are paying off. Not only are more Yakuza games coming to Xbox One, but the Kingdom Hearts franchise is also available on the platform.
Yakuza 0 gameplay and story
If you're new to the acclaimed and quirky franchise, Yakuza 0 is the prequel to the original game. You're transported to 1980's Tokyo and Osaka where you have to maneuver out of a sticky situation. Kazuma Kiryu finds himself in a world of hurt when a simple debt collection mission goes wrong and his mark ends up dead. However, you also get to play as Goro Majima and explore his life as the owner of a nightclub.
A hallmark of Yakuza 0 is the ability to switch up fighting styles. You'll have to experiment to figure out what works for you. However, later on in the game, you may want to change the way you tackle various combat scenarios. In my opinion, "Rush" is great for taking on bosses or other enemies you're having trouble with defeating because it rewards defensive combat. However, if you're fighting a ton of annoying "Hooligans," then you'll probably want to use "Beast" to quickly dispatch them.
Environmental interactions during combat also play an important role in making fighting easier. Try to use car doors, bicycles, and other objects you find scattered around the world to quickly take down your opponents. Keep in mind that a brick is a better weapon than your fists.
Yakuza 0 performance and visuals
The Microsoft Store page for Yakuza 0 doesn't say whether the game is Xbox One X Enhanced, but it looks spectacular on a 4K display if you're playing on the company's latest console. While it's definitely not running at 4K resolution, it looks like post-processing effects give it a sharp presentation.
Yakuza 0 may be running at 1080p on Xbox One X, but just like Rage 2, it looks like a 1440p game due to added enhancements. If you were worried that it was going to look blurry because no Xbox One X enhancements were mentioned on the Microsoft Store, then you can put those fears aside.
However, the highlight of the experience has to be the 60 frames per second (FPS) presentation. While many third-person action games are 30 FPS even on Xbox One X, Yakuza 0 is 60 FPS. Combat is responsive, traversal is easy, and it seems like it's locked to 60 FPS all the time. Sega did a great job optimizing the experience for a new platform.
Yakuza 0 reoccuring problems
While Yakuza 0 may be an excellent game, it does have some issues. The biggest concern for many players will be the saving mechanics. In order to quit the game and not lose all your progress, you have to go to a phone booth and manually save. This can get quite annoying after some time. An auto-save feature should've been added to the game, especially if it's coming to Xbox One in 2020.
The other problem I encountered in Yakuza 0 were the camera controls. In tight alleys, it's hard to see enemies that are behind you because your field-of-view is rather limited. If you're taking on a lot of enemies, try to avoid claustrophobic environments. These issues appear to be a result of dated design more than anything else. It did originally launch in 2015!
Yakuza 0 final thoughts
Yakuza 0 is the same great game that's available on PlayStation and PC. It's one of my all-time favorite franchises and I hope that other, more recent Yakuza titles – and even Judgement – make their way to the console soon.
While the game's quirky nature may not appeal to everyone, you'll begin to love it a lot more if you view the karaoke and other side missions as integral parts of the story. Even gangsters need to relax! If you're an Xbox One owner, you should pick up Yakuza 0. If you're an Xbox Game Pass subscriber, you should download it right now. It's a must-have title for the console.
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Yakuza 0 was reviewed on an Xbox One X with a code provided by the publisher.
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