Originally released in February of last year, Yakuza 0 was a prequel to the Yakuza series that showed the humble, face-punching beginnings of rookie Yakuza members Kazuma Kiryu and Goro Majima. If you’re wondering why we’re bringing this up a year and some change after the fact, it’s because, after much anticipation and fan pleading, the game is finally being ported to PC via Steam, the first of the Yakuza series to do so. Since this will likely be the first foray into this dense series for many PC gamers, we’ve compiled a few tips to help get you started on your path to becoming the fearsome Dragon of Dojima. And also the Mad Dog of Shimano. It’ll make sense later, don’t worry.
Money makes this city and its denizens go ‘round. It’s not particularly difficult to accrue large stacks of yen. Playing the main story, completing subquests, and just getting into street fights will fill your coffers quite nicely. It’s what you do with that money that really counts. “Invest in yourself,” as the in-game advice goes. Spend your money to improve your stats and combat skills, as well as keep a constant stockpile of health and heat-boosting energy drinks. There are convenience stores all over the place (it is Japan, after all), so restock at every available opportunity. As a special side note, watch out for “Mr. Shakedown,” a collective name for several muscular enemies that, if encountered, will draw you into a dangerous fight with all of the cash you have on hand on the line. The Shakedowns roam the streets and will chase you if they see you. There are stunning weapons and money-securing measures you can utilize later in the game, but until then, your best bet is to steer clear.
MIND THE SWAP
As you progress through the story, the perspective will shift from Kiryu to Majima and back at specified intervals. There are no missable sidequests, but it’s still a pain in the butt to be temporarily barred from finishing something due to an inopportune main quest completion. As such, if there’s something you want to pursue with a particular character, take care of it before continuing the story. The story will be there when you’re ready for it, so proceed at your own pace.
EXPERIMENT WITH YOUR STYLES
Kiryu and Majima each obtain two additional fighting styles to the ones they start with, plus special legendary styles they can unlock late in the game. Kiryu starts with his balanced Brawler style and picks up the light-speed Rush style and bicycle-swinging Beast style. Majima starts with Thug style and learns the baseball bat-centric Slugger style and the breakdancing-inspired Breaker style. Naturally, each style has its positives and negatives. Kiryu’s Beast style, for instance, is powerful and allows heavier weapon use, but is slow and leaves you open longer. Majima’s Breaker style is fast and hits wide, but takes a bit of rhythm and skill to get used to. Experiment with the styles as you learn them, and allocate your money into the ones that gel the most with your personal playstyle.
This is probably the most important element of this game, as well as the Yakuza series overall: explore the living heck out of the city. Compared to other video game sandboxes, Kamurocho and Sotenburi might not seem that big, but what they lack in public roads, they make up for in hidden back alleys. There are all manner of secrets and stories to uncover on and off the city streets. Don’t be afraid to enter every single building you see and talk to every interactable NPC. With any luck, you’ll uncover a sidequest, and sidequests usually lead to money, prizes, and, if you’re lucky, special hidden upgrade options. Heck, even if there weren’t prizes, some of this game’s side content is so utterly ridiculous that it has to be seen to be believed. Incidentally, this game also utilizes a “friend” system with many NPCs and shopkeepers. Frequent their businesses and get to know them, and they’ll return the favor with hints and discounts.
INVEST IN THE FUTURE
Besides the main story and sidequests, Kiryu and Majima run their own side businesses, a real-estate company and a cabaret club, respectively. Pop in on your business occasionally to sort out any hang-ups and keep things running smooth, and in return, you’ll receive a steady supply of income to bolster your skills even further. Characters you’ve befriended during sidequests will also show up occasionally to lend their services to you as employees and connections. It might seem a little tedious to manage this stuff, but it’s well worth the effort, not just for the money, but for the special sidequests these businesses unlock.
This is the 80s, buddy. They don’t have any fancy autosaves in the 80s. The only way to save the game is by visiting a phone booth and doing it manually. Make a habit of saving the game at every opportunity. About to start a story mission? Save the game. Anticipating a big fight? Save the game. Just finish a sidequest? Save the game. There’s no downside here; save at every possible interval and save yourself a possible headache later on.