Yakuza 0

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Yakuza 0 Game Poster Image
Mature mafia story packs loads of violence, repetitive acts.

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 3 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Storylines focus on revenge, murder, and betrayal. There are also strong themes of duty, loyalty, and honor within criminal organizations.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Most characters are criminals. Some behave kindly and help others, but still continue to engage in criminal activity. While it sends a message that anyone's capable of kindness, it doesn't explore how behaviors are able to coexist. 

Ease of Play

Combat alternates between strategy and button-mashing, but the sheer variety of what you can do creates a steep learning curve. Multiple difficulty levels allow players to adjust the level of challenge.

Violence

Over-the-top violence with blood and gore's shown as the player's character engages in frequent melee combat involving punching, kicking, and ad-hoc weapons such as bats and chairs. Finishing moves show close-ups of faces being smashed into objects and bones being crushed via blunt trauma. Non-interactive scenes show a character chopping off his own finger, or others being shot or impaled.

Sex

Women are frequently shown wearing revealing outfits, with the camera lingering on jiggling breasts. Gangsters grope and demean women, and the player's character can flirt with sex workers.

Language

Regular use of all kinds of profanity by almost every character, including "f--k" and "s--t."

Consumerism

Latest installment of long-running Yakuza series.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The player's character frequently visits bars and can imbibe a variety of alcoholic beverages. A bottle icon appears to indicate intoxication. Characters are often shown smoking cigarettes. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Yakuza 0 is an action-adventure game for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PCs. It's filled with morally gray gangster characters who act with honor in their organizations and even occasionally help people, but still take part in vicious criminal activity. The player's character engages in melee combat, primarily using punches and kicks but also picking up makeshift weapons and knives to maim and injure enemies. Blood spatters with most hits, and finishing moves show faces being smashed, as well as bones and necks broken. There are also scenes of torture and gore, including a man who chops off his own finger and people who get shot at point blank range. Characters use strong profanity throughout dialogue, and there are frequent moments where players go into bars and drink heavily, their drunkenness indicated by an onscreen icon. Characters are seen smoking cigarettes, often in glamorous fashion. Women are frequently shown wearing revealing outfits, and the camera sometimes lingers on jiggling breasts. Some scenes depict gangsters groping women in bars and clubs, and the player's character can flirt with sex workers.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byAirborne022 October 28, 2019

A Great game but not for kids!

The game is set in 80s Japan during the bubble economy - which means that the backdrop is a time of sex, booze and gangsters. Which should be enough to keep kid... Continue reading
Adult Written byJack D. November 7, 2017

Amazing

While this could be one of the best of the Yakuza games, it full of violence and swearing, the fights are mostly tame however the heat action moves could range... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byGamersnews32 April 29, 2019

Most violent one of the series

You can tune down blood amount. Although attacks can still be cruelly violent. Strong language is frequent, but heard in Japanese(still seen in dialogue). Smoki... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byfrosneibv February 11, 2019

Yes.

As a teenager who played worse games before this (GTA, Saints Row, Etc.) this game is pretty tame compared to them but a hell of alot more fun and a more intere... Continue reading

What's it about?

In YAKUZA 0, you play as both the series' main protagonist Kazuma Kiryu and familiar face Goro Majima as they struggle to make a name for themselves and keep the peace with the way of the yakuza in 1980s Japan. Kiryu is investigating why he was framed for murder, which causes him to be expelled and ultimately turn against his Tojo Clan family to clear his name. Meanwhile, Majima emerges from a year of torture -- a punishment for being part of a plot to assassinate someone within his own family -- and tries to work his way back into his superior officers' good graces. They both struggle with what it means to be loyal and true to your word, even when you're on the wrong side of the law and trying to be a good person. Action is focused on melee combat, with players taking on groups of thugs with martial arts skills that involve both disciplined combos and brute force attacks. Players spend much of their time between objectives and battles wandering around urban Japanese streets, chatting with characters and engaging in side activities such as a batting cage game, karaoke, and dancing.

Is it any good?

This action game has a compelling story, though it can become repetitive in places. Yakuza 0's story is engaging, featuring complicated criminal characters with their own moral codes who are grappling with difficult situations. There's some over-the-top action (you can pick up a bicycle and wield it as a club or even find a stray salt shaker to season people's eyeballs), but the overall tone's serious, and is bound to leave players wondering what they would do in similar situations. That said, there's some comic relief in the form of goofy side missions, such as one in which players help Miracle Johnson -- a clear stand-in for Michael Jackson -- shoot a music video by punching "Thriller"-style zombies away from him.

Yakuza 0 is bound to draw comparisons to Grand Theft Auto for its bloody open world crime drama antics and occasional dabbling in bizarre side activities. Indeed, other than the intriguing setting of Japan in the 1980s, there isn't much here that will feel particularly original to veteran players, especially those who've worked their way through the rest of the games in this epic, ongoing series. But it's also polished. The combat's smooth and satisfying, providing plenty of options that allow players to develop their own style. And the dialogue -- though lengthy and spoken entirely in Japanese with English subtitles -- draws us into the characters' stories and plights effectively and emotionally. Like a good gangster movie, you're bound to care about these hard men. You'll appreciate their motives even as you question their actions. It's not quite a classic in the open world gangster genus, but Yakuza 0 is still worth a look-see for those interested in a glimpse into the criminal underworld.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Yakuza 0 affected by its focus on blood and gore? The action glamorizes its violence with gory close-ups and a general sense that toughness equates to coolness, but does this make sense to you? Does it seem over the top and unrealistic?

  • Why would someone who makes a living through criminal enterprise sometimes choose to help others? Is it possible to make up for the bad things one does by doing equal acts of good?

Game details

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