A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Storylines focus on revenge, murder, and betrayal. There are also strong themes of duty, loyalty, and honor within criminal organizations.
Positive Role Models
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 & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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.
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Regular use of all kinds of profanity by almost every character, including "f--k" and "s--t."
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Products & Purchases
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.
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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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.