In Yakuza 6: The Song of Life, players can build...

In Yakuza 6: The Song of Life, players can build a gang for Kazuma Kiryu using a new clan creator. Credit: Sega

PLOT An ex-con can’t seem to go straight.

RATED M for Mature

DETAILS PlayStation 4; $59.99

BOTTOM LINE A good if not revolutionary entry in the series.

Yakuza 6: The Song of Life, the latest entry in the series about gangster Kazuma Kiryu, finds him at age 48, fresh out of prison and raising a new generation at his orphanage in Okinawa. He’s sworn off the yakuza life but gets pulled back in after Haruka, one of his wards, is injured in a hit-and-run while protecting her baby.

The game is a good experience that goes enough into the back story that newcomers won’t feel lost, but they can’t appreciate the jokes and depth of the storytelling, which has references to previous substories and characters in the series.

The game does retain its melodramatic storytelling and quirky sense of humor. Kiryu’s mission to uncover what happened to Haruka during his time in prison brings him in the middle of a gang turf war. Players can expect twists and turns as his personal life intertwines with underworld politics.

Yakuza 6 introduces new gameplay elements such as the clan creator that lets Kiryu build his own gang. He can command his squad of fighters to battle other street crews with mechanics that resemble a real-time strategy game.

If only the series had taken a more modern approach to its combat system, Yakuza 6 could have been a chapter that revolutionized the series. Right now, it’s a very good chapter that veterans of the franchise will love.

— The Mercury News (San Jose, California)

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