Yakuza 6: The Song of Life

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Yakuza 6: The Song of Life Game Poster Image
Tale of revenge, redemption ... if you get around to it.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Bulk of story focuses on revenge, but Kiryu's story also includes themes of strong family ties, making amends for past mistakes.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Kiryu, despite being part of Japan's organized crime families, is actually an honorable, even caring character. Family is important to him, as is making up for his past crimes. His sense of honor has him helping out friends (even total strangers) in need with little hesitation.

Ease of Play

Aside from different styles of combat, navigating different menus, there are a lot of different controls to learn for various mini-games. Learning all controls, how to interact with game can be daunting.

Violence

Frequent violence includes scenes showing characters getting neck broken, shot in head, slammed into walls, stabbed, more. Plenty of blood spilled.

Sex

Plenty of sexual content, innuendo, language, direct action. Scenes of characters fondling women's breasts, interacting with online webcam girls, undressing while making sexually charged lines. Many characters shown in provocative ways in revealing outfits.

Language

Frequent use of "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole."

Consumerism

Latest game in Sega's popular Yakuza franchise. Also features lots of other classic games from Sega's arcade library built in. Many references to and cameos of Japanese pop culture icons.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters are shown drinking, drunk; player's character can even get drunk, affecting how Kiryu controls in the game for a bit.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Yakuza 6: The Song of Life is an action/adventure game for the PlayStation 4, and the latest entry in Sega's popular Yakuza game franchise. Although players are given a wealth of side game options, the main story is a tale of revenge and redemption. There's plenty of violence as a result, complete with lots of brutality and blood. The game also features a substantial amount of other mature content, including frequent use of strong profanity and lots of sexual content. Players will interact with webcam girls, fondle women, and interact with characters in varying levels of undress. Players also see characters drinking and getting drunk, and the player's character can get drunk as well, which affects the controls for a while.

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What's it about?

YAKUZA 6: THE SONG OF LIFE picks up immediately after the events of Yakuza 5, with protagonist Kazuma Kiryu arrested for his past crimes and serving out a three-year prison sentence. After his release, Kiryu's road to redemption hits a tragic speed bump. Kiryu learns that Haruka, the young girl he's raised and the closest thing he has to family, was the victim of an apparent hit and run and now lies in a coma, leaving a newborn son behind. Taking his foster grandson with him, Kiryu sets out on a tale of revenge, redemption, and even day-to-day life, as he searches for those responsible and seeks to uncover the truth of what happened while he was in prison.

Is it any good?

This huge open-world adventure will take you on a tale of revenge and redemption, if you decide to play the main story instead of getting lost in Tokyo. Yakuza 6: The Song of Life brings the story of Kazuma Kiryu to a close with a new adventure built from the ground up for the PlayStation 4, returning players to the seedy underbelly of Japan's criminal underground while also showcasing the day-to-day life and culture in the Land of the Rising Sun. Since this is an original entry, as opposed to a remake or remaster, Yakuza 6 manages to take full advantage of the PS4, cramming in a ridiculous amount of content and some gorgeous visuals, making this the best Yakuza entry to date.

Yakuza 6 continues the series' tradition of giving players plenty to do outside of the main story. There are so many side jobs and mini-games, it's easy to forget that you're a man on a mission. In fact, one of the few faults in Yakuza 6 is that experiencing all the extras the game has to offer can sometimes be more entertaining than actually moving the plot forward. Sure, you could spend every waking moment seeking out revenge against those who've wronged you ... but why would you when you could spend that same time playing Virtua Fighter 5 and Outrun in the arcade or rustling up stray cats so you can open up your own kitten-themed café? It winds up making the main crux of the entire game feel almost secondary and optional. That's not to say that there isn't some depth to Kiryu's predicament, but sometimes the siren's call of a random karaoke moment just proves too tempting to ignore.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about mature content in media. What are some ways that violence, sex, and other adult themes show up in everyday media? How can that content affect younger audiences?

  • Talk about the popularization of crime. What is the appeal of playing as an antihero or a criminal in a game?

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