Yakuza 6: The Song of Life

Release date: April 17, 2018
Platforms: PlayStation 4

How To Play Yakuza 6: The Song Of Life

Advice on game’s mechanics, controls and combat, side missions, experience gaining and character development

Despite all sacrifices that were made in favor of a new engine, Yakuza 6: The Song Of Life is an enormous game. While seasoned players will certainly feel at home in the sixth part of the game, newcomers need a crash course.

We have already showed what is the Yakuza franchise and what can you do in Kamuro-te in a separate article. Here, we concentrate on The Song of Life and main gameplay mechanics – the role-playing component and the combat system.

First things first

If Yakuza 6: The Song of Life is your first game in the series, you’ll be better off familiarizing yourself with the summary of the previous parts’ storyline in the main menu. If you don’t have time for this, focus on the fifth part.

However, The Song of Life is friendly to new players even if they don’t bother with reading the content of the previous games. The story in each «Yakuza» is sufficiently independent. In the case of Yakuza 6, gamers will go through a thorough introduction with a literal walk at the reminiscence alley.

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You’ll have to get used to the pace of the game to get maximum pleasure from Yakuza 6. Just like its predecessors, the sixth part contains plenty of clips that sometimes run for 10 minutes. Apart from one quest, there’s no choice in dialogues or storyline offshoots.

At the same time, Yakuza 6: The Song of Life has multiple side occupations that are closely tied to the character development system, as well as a multitude of fights that you will have to endure during the whole 30-hour adventure.

How to earn experience points

Despite the fact that Yakuza 6: The Song of Life has role-playing elements, you can’t customize the appearance of Kazuma Kiryu. Instead of this, the main hero gets experience points for almost any action in the world of the game. These points may be used to improve basic characteristics, buy skills and passive abilities.

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Experience points increase is showed at the top right corner of the screen

Experience is divided into five categories: strength, agility, spirit, technique and charm. Whatever you do - be it a storyline mission, a snack in the café or a fight with local bullies on the street – the game will award a combination of experience points from the above-mentioned categories to the main hero. The nature of such combinations depends on the type of your occupation:

  • Main, side and «problem» missions are the main source of all categories of experience. Experience is delivered in amount corresponding to the «size» of the mission.
  • Casual rows in the streets – local bullies will be «happy» to provide you with points of strength, agility and spirit.
  • Mini-games – the amount of experience increase depends on Kiryu’s success in his endeavors. For example, a gym membership will allow him to evenly upgrade all categories of experience.
  • Rewards – among other things, Yakuza 6 rewards the player for cumulative achievements, like talking to several dozens of people, playing all mini-games or running 10 kilometers. The reward tab is located in Kiryu’s smartphone menu.

We should separately highlight the eating process, which has become an important gameplay element in Yakuza 6. Each position in the menu of the next restaurant will provide Kiryu with several experience points. The type and quantity of these experience points depends on the product he orders. Several dishes may be combined to get an addition to experience points.

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You can order up to nine dishes simultaneously but don’t forget that the hero’s stomach is not made of rubber. Initially, Kiryu’s stomach capacity is limited at 100 units, but it can be increased later. You’ll have to watch food prices at the beginning of the game, but after several hours of game the hero’s wallet will be full of cash.

What is a «problem» mission

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Soon after the beginning of the game, Kiryu gets access to the app called Troublr (a Tumblr analogy). It’s a kind of a social network that is used to discuss problems in Kamuro-te or Onomity. To take part in a quest, you should answer the message about a threat.

For example, Troublr may tell you about a bomb that is planted somewhere in the city, or about a man hanging from a roof of a baseball center, or about a group of bandits who assault local couples. In most cases, such tasks are time-limited, so if you want to help someone you should act fast.

Completing such missions is not necessary to complete the game, so you can ignore them if you wish. Nevertheless, due to their transience (most of them take a couple of minutes to complete), Troublr missions can be an additional source of experience of all types.

Skills and characteristics

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Now that we know more about experience points and how to earn them, let’s look at how you can spend these points. Yakuza 6: The Song of Life has 4 skills and characteristics tabs:

  • Characteristics – health, attack, defense, evasion and battle rage scale. To study certain skills, you’ll need a certain number of points of a certain characteristic.
  • Battle skills – additional close fight techniques for Kiryu. You’ll fight often in Yakuza 6, so this tab is very useful.
  • Skills for battle rage mode – additional techniques that can be used in fights when the battle rage scale is full. In this mode, Kiryu gets addition to damage and the ability to deal fascinating final blows.
  • Other skills – everything that does not fall under the above-mentioned categories: experience increase speed, the size of the stomach and lungs of the hero, his immunity to alcohol, his ability to make friends in the bar and so on.

Skills and characteristics to improve first

In Yakuza 6: The Song of Life you won’t have enough experience points for everything, so, sooner or later (better sooner than later) you’ll have to prioritize.

You should start developing Kiryu’s basic characteristics first. The hero will use them throughout the game and they will be necessary to unlock certain skills. We recommend starting by increasing his health and his attack to deal more damage to opponents and avoid getting knocked out.

Next, we recommend upgrading the experience increase speed («other skills» tab). You’ll have to improve each category separately, but this will pay off in the long run. Also, think about increasing the hero’s stomach capacity and cleansing speed. Thanks to these abilities, you’ll be able to visit restaurants more often and to consume more food, that, in turn, will help you get more experience.

Don’t ignore Kiryu’s fighting skills as you’ll get tired of fighting ordinary opponents as you progress through the game. So, we advise to diversify your fighting skill set with new dangerous kicks and battle rage skills. At late stages of the game, they can be decisive arguments in winning the fight.

The upgrade of all other skills depends on your own preferences. If you don’t like to move around the city like a turtle, improve the range of sprint. In case you want to develop your own clan, upgrade the rate of its growth, and so on. Unlike previous games of the series, the sixth «Yakuza» allows you to develop the character at your own pace.

How the combat system works

Here’s who fights look like in Yakuza 6: Song of Life

You will often fight in Yakuza 6: The Song of Life. Even routine business in Kamuro-te and Onomity can end up with a brawl. That’s why you should get used to the game’s combat system as soon as possible. Here’s our advice:

  • Don’t allow fights to drag on – the reward does not depend on the length of the fight, so you are better off dealing with another pack of local bullies as fast as possible.
  • You can now escape the fight – you won’t get any reward (except for Live to Fight Another Day trophy) but you have this opportunity if you are not in a fighting mood.
  • Don’t forget to defend yourself and to evade attack – Kiryu is a strong fighter but he is not immortal, so don’t let the enemies kick him too much or drive him into the corner.
  • Use the surroundings – there’s no option to craft your own weapons, but you can use casual items in the fight. One hit with a bicycle and the fight may be over.
  • Throw enemies (literally) – if you have no bicycle near you, you can take one of the enemies, twist him and throw at his comrades. In combination with a Splash Damage skill (damage increases with the number of enemies hit), this is a great way to fight against a crowd.
  • Use battle rage – the scale is filled quickly so there’s no reason to store it; this mode helps finish fights faster than usual.
  • Armed opponents are your first target – enemies often carry weapons (including guns) that will cause you much trouble if you ignore them. A pistol or a sword taken from an enemy will come in handy when dealing with other bullies.
  • Also, focus on weak opponents – in Yakuza 6, enemies are divided into dangerous (big guys and bosses) and standard ones. The faster you clear the battlefield from standard enemies, the sooner you’ll be able to focus on the tough opponents.
  • Learn useful combinations – the basic kick set consists of several «squares» and one or two «triangles», however, as you develop the hero, you’ll get access to more advanced and dangerous combinations that should not be ignored.
  • Always carry healing items with you – don’t forget that you can heal the hero during the fight: pause the game, open inventory, drink a tonic and return to the fight.

John Davis