Yakuza 6 review: a brilliant send-off for one of gaming's best … – The Verge

Built on a brand-new engine and billed as leading man Kazuma Kiryu’s exit from the long-running Sega series, Yakuza 6: The Song of Life manages to feel like a reboot and a finale all at once. The result is a subdued, surprisingly intimate game that ends with a satisfying bang.

The Yakuza series has always been something of an enigma outside of Japan. Its distinct combination of tense crime drama, quirky writing, and classic brawling action never garnered a huge audience in the West. Last year, though, that started to change. First Sega released Yakuza 0, a prequel that served as the perfect entry point to the series and followed it with a modern PS4 remake of the original PS2 game. (A remake of Yakuza 2 is also launching in August.) These releases helped set the stage for Kiryu’s final quest.

Although Yakuza 6’s plot contains as many dizzying twists as much of the rest of the series, it’s largely self-contained and doesn’t rely on much prior knowledge. After spending three years in prison, Kiryu emerges to find that his adoptive daughter Haruka is missing. What begins as a simple quest to learn what happened to her ends up leading him to expose dark secrets in a sleepy Hiroshima town while battling rival yakuza, Korean mafia, and Chinese triads along the way.

It’s a good story well told, and although longtime Yakuza fans might be disappointed with the relatively small number of returning characters, the new cast is uniformly excellent. Battle Royale and Death Note star Tatsuya Fujiwara has a major role, but the most notable part is a small-time elderly mob boss played by yakuza movie legend “Beat” Takeshi Kitano, whose turn is laced with pathos and woven through the heart of Yakuza 6’s narrative.

While Kitano’s

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