Ryu ga Gotoku 6: Inochi no Uta (PlayStation 4) Preview

By Chris 23.09.2016 6

Review for Ryu ga Gotoku 6: Inochi no Uta on PlayStation 4

Upon arriving at Makuhari Messe, it is apparent that the Holy Trinity of TGS 2016 consists of PSVR, Persona 5 and Ryu ga Gotoku 6: Inochi no Uta—the latter better known as Yakuza 6 to Western fans. A Persona 5 decorated mini-van greets attendees at the entrance, and on the inside, large PSVR advertisements hang high as Kazuma Kiryu looms over the massive crowd. Sony has invested a lot in this event.

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The attendance at Tokyo Game Show this year reached a whopping 271,224 people—the largest in the event's 20-year history. While that may sound like something to celebrate, it is not. Bigger crowds inevitably mean longer queues, and Ryu ga Gotoku 6: Inochi no Uta, the latest entry in the Yakuza series, was no exception. The Theatre Booth, which consisted of a 20-minute video and 20-minute playable demo, had queues of up to three hours long. It was like Disneyland, but with the violence cranked up.

In true Yakuza style, the models of the in-game hostesses took turns at sitting in front of the booth that was emblazoned with the game's logo. To either side of this lay extravagant congratulatory flowers from companies that work with SEGA—a typical business practice in Japan. Series director, the trendy Nagoshi Toshihiro, also showed up for a view moments before he took to the stage, and was happy enough to take photos with the fans who asked. Some real-life Yakuza, complete with suits and battle wounds, were on hand to smash the flower stands of the heads of unruly attendees. Actually, in hindsight, they may have just been SEGA staff in cosplay.

After three hours of cooling off in the queue using the Ryu ga Gotoku-themed fan (Japan is still hot and humid in September), the doors to a mini theatre area open. The 30 or so people at the top of the queue are ushered in, while the rest are forced to wait in the sweltering heat until the next showing.

Screenshot for Ryu ga Gotoku 6: Inochi no Uta on PlayStation 4

A trailer begins with a scene of a battered Kiryu walking through a snowy street, picking up from the events of Yakuza 5. He is then taken to hospital, where he is surrounded by familiar faces such as Haruka, Majima and Saejima. The police arrive and arrest Kiryu under suspicion of causing bodily harm and damage to property. He has done both excessively for five games now, which would leave one to believe that these police are not the most efficient. Faced with four years in prison, Kiryu decides that he will use the time for reflection and become someone that the kids at Sunshine Orphanage can be proud of.

A slow yet dramatic piece of music full of melancholy plays over this scene. It seems out of place in the Yakuza series where the soundtrack is often comprised of heavy rock and hip-hop. For this instalment, SEGA has enlisted the help of Tatsuro Yamashita, an acclaimed artist and producer who has also worked on films and television. It seems clear that the story of Ryu ga Gotoku 6 will aim to pull on the heartstrings of the player, but with music of this calibre, they may end up pulling them clean off. The music comes to a sudden stop and we see Haruka get hit by a car. She was holding a baby at the time.

It turns out that Haruka decided to run away after images of her at Sunshine Orphanage appeared online, and her link to the Yakuza became apparent. When Kiryu makes it out of prison, he finds Haruka unconscious in a hospital bed. Police detective and long-time friend, Makoto Date, introduces Kiryu to Haruto, a baby believed to be Haruka's son. Kiryu heads to Hiroshima, one of the last places Haruka was seen, to try to find out who the father is.

Screenshot for Ryu ga Gotoku 6: Inochi no Uta on PlayStation 4

The regular complicated storylines following the feuds of the Tojo clan are here, too, and will see Kiryu travel between the sprawling city of Kamurocho, Tokyo and the quiet country-side life of Onomichijingaicho, Hiroshima. It is safe to say that they will shorten that latter name if it gets an English translation.

While the Yakuza series is known for hiring real actors to bring life to the world, they have gone overboard this time with a cast that likes of are unseen in video games. Even non-Japanese fans will instantly recognise faces such as Beat Takeshi and Tatsuya Fujiwara (Battle Royale, Death Note series). The melodramatic stories in the previous games were entertaining enough to make hour-long cut-scenes worth it, and it is safe to say that SEGA will keep up the quality with this instalment, too.

When the trailer came to a close, there was a short video explaining the new game mechanics. After which, the attendees were allowed into the next room where the Yakuza, or SEGA staff, were waiting to guide them to a PS4 to try the game for themselves. The controllers and headphones were wiped with disinfectant cloth after each use. If there's one thing the Yakuza love killing, it's germs.

Screenshot for Ryu ga Gotoku 6: Inochi no Uta on PlayStation 4

Both Onomichijingaicho and Kamurocho were available to play in the demo. The first thing the player notices is how "seamless" (as SEGA calls it) everything has become. Gone are the days of waiting through a clunky transition to battle scenes or loading shop interiors. It all flows as one now. If some street thugs get cocky and start a fight, Kiryu instantly enters a fighting stance and it is all go. Those who are used to the pre-fight cut-scenes seen in previous games will find themselves being attacked by the enemies as they were not expecting the fight to begin so quickly. Fights can even be taken into convenience stores, where all of the shelves are destructible. This feels like a natural progression for the series, and fluidity makes the game more enjoyable as the bothersome loading before fights is no more.

Side-quests are a staple of the series, and it seems that Ryu ga Gotoku 6 will not disappoint. One side-quest available in the demo sees Kiryu fall victim to an 'It's me! It's me!' scam. Quite rampant in Japan, it involves the scammer making a phone call and pretending to be a relative or friend in need of money. The money is then handed over to a third-party, usually an unknown "friend" or "colleague." Kiryu must use his wit to outsmart the scammer and force them to reveal their true identity. All of the humour of past games is present here.

As Kiryu walks through Kamurocho, the place we have been frequenting for over 10 years now, it is clear that the game is evolving in the right direction. The gritty Tokyo neon has never looked so good. Visuals have had a complete overhaul and there is more to see than ever before, without the load times when entering buildings that previously had prohibited exploration.

Screenshot for Ryu ga Gotoku 6: Inochi no Uta on PlayStation 4

Final Thoughts

Fans of the series can definitely have high expectations, but it will also be the most inviting entry into the series for newcomers. Set to be released in Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong on 8th December, 2016, there is currently no word of an English translation, but with Yakuza 5 released late last year, and Yakuza 0 coming to the PS4 in a few months, Western fans can stay hopeful.

Leaving the demo area, attendees were presented with a Yakuza 6-themed box of tissues. This may be a reference to the trailer that mentions that it is the final chapter of Kazuma Kiryu's legacy, and ends with him on a hospital bed saying, "I would gladly die for them."

For more TGS 2016 photos and screenshots from Yakuza 6, be sure to check out the image gallery.

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Also known as

Ryu ga Gotoku 6: Inochi no Uta

Developer

SEGA

Publisher

SEGA

Genre

Action Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date None   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date None   

Comments

This looks the most action-packed Yakuza yet! I'm so glad this series exists. Gonna be a long wait till this comes West, but can't wait for it.

I do hope they let us play in Kiryu's blue jacket/white vest combo he wore in the beta demo they were showing off earlier in the year. I really liked that get-up - different to what we normally see him in. I also find it silly Haruka is wearing the same clothes so many years after the events of the last game.

I'm thinking there's a twist involved in Haruka's story. I can't imagine she actually had a kid. Seems way out of character for her, unless something bad happened. But thinking it's not really hers, and she took it on to look after or something. It's rubbed quite a few people the wrong way lol.

One thing I really loved the look of in the fights is that new button mashing sequence. Okay, it's button mashing, but it actually looks extremely satisfying the way they throw those punches together, especially with the last kick I've seen Kiryu do to finish them with in slow-mo. You can really feel the brute force with the way they've pulled it off!

Thanks for a great write-up, Chris. Proper jelly you got to meet Nagoshi-san!

You're right, the kid seems out of place for her character, and I know the Yakuza series always inadvertantly challenges social constructs, but I don't they'd go so far as having a single mother in her 20s. Anyway, Kiryu voted to look after Haruto as his own, so I'm looking forward to seeing how this pans out in December!

So looking forward to this! Hope it comes west quite soon after Zero!

I play games... sometimes.

Yeah, just hope we can still get the Yakuza 1 remake eventually, too... and then hopefully one of Yakuza 2, as well.

Seeing as Best Takeshi is going to be in the 6, it would be nice if they put a Takeshi's Castle side quest in it. They could use that as marketing in the West too! Get Craig Charles to narrate it!

In the world of Yakuza, that would not even seem out of place, haha.

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