Yakuza 6 PS4 Review Roundup: What Critics Are Saying
Is The Song of Life a fitting swan song for Kazuma Kiryu?
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It's a big week for PS4 owners. In addition to the highly anticipated God of War, this week marks the release of Yakuza 6: The Song of Life, the latest installment in the Yakuza series and the final chapter in protagonist Kazuma Kiryu's saga.
First released in Japan nearly two years ago, Yakuza 6 finds the former mobster struggling to reconcile his criminal past with raising a baby. After serving out his prison sentence, Kiryu learns that his adoptive daughter is in a coma following a hit-and-run. He takes her infant child into his care and travels to Onomichi, Hiroshima to investigate the incident.
For the last chapter in Kiryu's story, Sega has pared back some of the series' extraneous elements, resulting in a leaner--and more impactful--experience. In GameSpot's Yakuza 6 review, Edmond Tran said the game "successfully uses its smaller footprint to create a deeper, more meaningful impression."
Other reviews for Yakuza 6 are also now available online ahead of the game's release. We've compiled a selection of them below to give you an idea of what critics are saying about Kazuma Kiryu's swan song. For a broader look at Yakuza 6's critical reception, be sure to visit GameSpot sister site Metacritic.
- Game: Yakuza 6: The Song of Life
- Developer: Sega
- Platform: PS4
- Release date: April 17
- Price: US $60 / £50 / AU $84.95
GameSpot -- 8/10
"Yakuza 6 reins in its scope, but doubles down on what has made the series great. It's a unique and fascinating representation of the modern Japanese experience, worth playing even if you're a newcomer. The narrative is dramatic and sincere, and the game's endearing characters--coming from all walks of life--are interesting studies. The world is dense and rewarding to exist in, the dynamic combat system stays exciting even after you've kicked the crap out of five thousand enemies, and perhaps most importantly, Yakuza 6: The Song Of Life serves as a fulfilling conclusion to the turbulent, decade-long saga of its beloved icon, Kazuma Kiryu." -- Edmond Tran [Full review]
IGN -- 7.5/10
"Yakuza 6: The Song of Life presents the most detailed virtual chunk of Japan the series has managed to date, and its story provides a satisfying end to the Kazuma Kiryu saga. However, as far as gameplay goes, Yakuza 6 doesn't make enough of an effort to break new ground, making it weaker overall than last year's Yakuza Zero. In a way it's a good place to jump in if you're new to the series because its overly simplified combat system is easy to learn, but anybody who learns the ropes here might not return for more because they may be burnt out on the repetitive nature of the fights. Series stalwarts, meanwhile, will no doubt be hoping that whatever comes next will feel less like a watered-down retread of what’s come before." -- Tristan Ogilvie [Full review]
Polygon -- 8.5/10
"Even with my criticisms of the admittedly optional and inconsequential aspects of the game, Yakuza 6 succeeds because its core story is so compelling. Every seemingly disconnected part serves a purpose: Without fights, it'd just be a movie; without cutscenes, it'd just be a series of contextless fights; without exploration, it'd be an on-rails punching simulator. All of those unexpected pieces and the (oh-so-long) cutscenes interact to make an equal parts story- and punching-driven game that is heart-wrenching. This is so much more than that game about a crime guy that I had expected. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go befriend some more cats." -- Jeffrey Parkin [Full review]
Game Informer -- 9.25/10
"As fun as it all was, I'm still sad to see Kiryu off. He leaves the series on his own terms, and the conclusion is a fitting tribute to the character. One of the things I've liked most about him is how he remained decent, even though his lifestyle frequently put him into contact with decidedly less decent folks. Heck, one of the game's lengthiest mission chains is focused on making friends with all the patrons at a bar. Kiryu approaches the bizarre situations he encounters with grace and empathy, while also bringing a righteous rage when necessary. I'll certainly miss Kiryu, but we clearly haven't seen the end of Yakuza." -- Jeff Cork [Full review]
US Gamer -- 4/5
"If you're coming to this game from Yakuza Kiwami, the transition feels a bit better than the one from Yakuza 0. Yakuza 0 is simply the better game overall, leaving Yakuza 6 as just a great game. Of course, a number of games aspire to be 'great,' so Yakuza hitting that benchmark even on an off year is a testament to the development team and the strength of the franchise. Yakuza 6 is well worth your time, but remember to manage your expectations." -- Mike Williams [Full review]
GamesRadar+ -- 4.5/5
"As a parting paean for its lead character, Yakuza 6 is sweet, sagely, and surprisingly subtle in its storytelling. As a culmination of over ten years of Yakuza games, it's also just as crazy and comical as you'd expect. The fact that it successfully pulls off both of these ambitions is The Song of Life's crowning achievement." -- Alex Avard [Full review]
EGM Now -- 9/10
"It's taken me a long time to experience the Yakuza series, but Yakuza 6 makes me so thankful that I finally have. The insurmountable badass Kazuma Kiryu is surrounded by a fantastic cast of characters and some gripping drama--it's just a shame that the 'game' portion of this video game isn't quite what it could be. Still, this is a superb adventure from beginning to end, and further proof of the magic that Japanese developers can weave when they put their minds to it." -- Mollie L. Patterson [Full review]