After a strong 2017 with prequel title Yakuza 0 and Yakuza: Kiwami, Sega is continuing Kazuma Kiryu's journey through the Japanese underworld in Yakuza 6: The Song of Life this year. The game picks up some time after the events of Yakuza 5, with Kiryu returning to the Sunflower Orphanage to find Haruka is missing. Naturally, Kiryu takes it upon himself to solve the mystery of her disappearance, which inevitably embroils him in Yakuza politics once again.
We recently got to spend some hands-on time with Yakuza 6 and have put together a video of the first 30 minutes of gameplay for you to watch. It must be clarified that this isn't actually the opening of the game, as much of that is spent recounting the events of previous titles and catching players up on the various characters that have been involved in Kiryu's journey so far. This is instead the first significant chunk of gameplay that becomes available to the player.
As you'll be able to tell, it's a familiar setup to previous titles in the series, with players exploring a large, detailed depiction of Kamurocho to find missions, fight gangs of no-goodniks, engage in weird but entertaining side stories, and pump hours into activities such as bowling and karaoke. In the video, we get a decent look at a small slice of the game, mainly focused on combat and exploration, as well as an introduction to the main antagonists.
Early impressions are good, Kamurocho looks better than ever, there's a greater amount of voiced dialogue, and the game is overflowing with that eccentric Yakuza charm that fans love. Combat has also been streamlined to place less of an emphasis on switching styles, but still feels rewarding and, most importantly, brutal.
Sega recently revealed that it has pushed Yakuza 6's release back about a month, so now it will release in North America and Europe on April 17 instead of launching on March 20, as previously planned. To make up for this, a demo will be available to download on February 27, providing players with an early taste of the game.