㊗️ Arthur Parallax reviews …Yakuza 0 ㊗️

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After installing Yakuza 0 on my PC… and then promptly uninstalling it because the game crashed every time I pressed ‘Y’ on my controller, I instead purchased it for the PlayStation 4.

I became aware of the Yakuza series back in the days of the PlayStation 2, having missed the first game in the series, I didn’t want to pick up on the story halfway through and thought that I’d instead wait thirteen years for the inevitable ‘Zero’ so that I could pick up again from the true start of the franchise.
Yakuza 0 is a strange game that attempts to be completely ensconced in Japanese culture but fails miserably. Kamurocho, Japan is ostensibly the setting of the game series and yet it clearly isn’t, regardless of how much the game tried to trick me, I could see through the ruse.
My character gets randomly attacked by groups of youths whilst walking down gaudily lit streets and can waltz into shops that sell complete tat whilst also having the ability to play arcade games from the ’80s, including unfair pick-up machines filled with tacky prizes. Almost every person I meet is a twisted caricature of a human and everyone is chain-smoking…
This game is clearly set in Blackpool.
With this realisation out of the way I resolved to get stuck into the narrative and reach the crux of the story which I was certain was the inevitable reveal that the main character, Kiryu, is hooked up to some sort of dream machine and is hallucinating a virtual world (based on Blackpool) from the confines of his own comatose mind. Making my way through the various missions, it became apparent that the developers of the game were really going out of their way to convince me otherwise, that this ‘really’ was Japan and not a representation of Blackpool, but they couldn’t fool me.

The game eventually descends into what I assume is the beating heart of RPGs these days which is arguments over real estate development and the difficulty of purchasing unallocated land. This seemed jarring, I was clearly a man trapped in some sort of cryogenic stasis, living a mental fantasy representation of a city in Northern England located near Poulton-le-Fylde, that much I was sure of…but why was the focus so heavily on property development? I put the game down before I could get truly sucked into it.

My knowledge of land ownership and management is limited and I felt like I couldn’t appreciate the extent of the storyline without having a richer understanding of real estate marketing, management and the internal politics thereof. Not to mention I was unfamiliar with the topography and geography of Blackpool itself, only having visited it once as a child. Saving my game, I intend to take a week-long trip to Blackpool to really involve myself into the culture and whilst there, spend some time reading up on land ownership so that I don’t feel like the more nuanced parts of Yakuza 0 pass me by.

I assume others out there have been in a similar predicament and so I look forward to sharing our thoughts on what I’ve stated here. It’s an interesting concept but one that I feel should be more fully explained before the game starts in earnest as the artwork, trailers and general promotion of the game don’t match up with the major focus of the title itself, land management in Northern England which I feel could really have been the selling point here.

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