While the Asia region PS3 and PS4 players are now playing Ryū ga Gotoku 0, what we would called Yakuza 0 in the North American and European regions, the rest of the world is relegated to playing the demo version if you know how to setup a Japanese Playstation Network account. We can only hope that Yakuza 0 makes it to other regions, as Sega’s track record for bringing things over hasn’t been that great over the past few years. Yakuza 3 and 4 both eventually came out in North America, though years later, but we never saw the historical offshoots of the series in Ishin! and Kenzan! Yakuza 5 has been finally announced for the rest of the world, but with no official release date set, we approach more than 2 1/2 calendar years since it’s initial Japanese release.

If you know the series, you’re excited already, but a taste of what Yakuza looks and feels like on the next-gen will make it even harder to wait for more content. The following is obviously in Japanese.

Being able to read only a non-knaji characters, and translate even less, I can’t tell you a ton about what is being said directly. However, knowing the series and the characters fairly well, I can provide some of the basics. Kazuma Kiryu, the man who would become “The Dragon” of the Dojima Yakuza clan for most of the entirety of the first 4 entries of the series, is a lower-level thug at this point. He is angry and mean, and the demo starts of with him shaking down and beating a man before taking his money.

Kazuma nonchalantly strolls down the familiar streets of Kamurocho, having a classic Yakuza encounter, wherein a passerby is offended and/or looking for trouble, only to cower in fear once they realize that we are Kazuma of the Yakuza. The character mostly have been vastly upgraded. People are where you will find the best visuals of the game, as the series is dialogue and story heavy, balanced out by fights in random encounters, wacky Japanese culture, and simply experiencing Japanese restaurants, drink places and various hotspots.

Kazuma hands off his ill-gotten gains to a man in a towncar, who appears to be some sort of underboss, before we take control of him on the streets of Kamurocho. He immediately sees a man being accosted and we get our first taste of combo, going over the basics. As the demo, which lasts more than an hour goes on, much more plot is revealed and we also experience some deeper combat, showcasing the combos, weapon pick-ups and contextually dependent finishers. We also close our first 15 with a character familiar to Yakuza fans in Nishki.

James Schumacher
Freelance writer and used-to-be artist based out of the Pacific Northwest. I studied Game Art & Design in college. I have been writing web content for the last 6 years, including for my own website dedicated to entertainment, gaming & photography. I have been playing games dating back to the NES era. My other interests are film, books and music. I sometimes pretend to be great at photography. You can find me on Youtube, Twitch, Twitter, 500px, DeviantArt and elsewhere under my nick: JamesInDigital.

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  1. It’s actually only out for Japan now, the Chinese version is coming this May 14.

    1. Huh, that’s weird. Play-Asia’s versions of games and films are sometimes a little confusing. It does show a Japan and separate “Asia” release of the game available (when not sold out) now.

  2. I hope that, if yakuza 5 sells well enough, sega will localize 0 aswell. And maybe the HD collection, but am not holding my breath on that one,

    1. Yeah, they have been very hard on us Yakuza fans. The biggest issue is that they cave into demands for localization 2+ years later on these games. In the case of Yakuza 5, obviously it will be on last-gen, which will at least partially inhibit sales. Then they come out afterwards and say, “Sorry, it didn’t sell well enough”. It’s a vicious cycle. There is a real love-hate relationship at times between SEGA and fans of its franchises – we love the games, they hate us! Regardless, I will be personally grabbing a copy of 5, playing the demo for 0 really reinvigorated my love for the franchise.

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