Ryū ga Gotoku 0 or what would be called Yakuza 0 in Europe and North America, is actually the 6th numbered titled and the 9thth overall game on consoles for the Yakuza series. The previous five numbered titles follow Kazuma Kiryu, the “Dragon” or enforcer of the Yakuza’s Dojima clan and his sometime quest for redemption through the saving of a young girl named Haruka. Ryū ga Gotoku 0 sees the series go back in time, and not into feudal Japan like the offshoot games Ishin! and Kenzan!, no this game takes us to a time before Kazuma was the Dragon.
My Japanese is minimal at best. I can read (prnoune) most katakana and hiragana, barely any kanji, and can translate only very small, simple words out of the lot. However, I am familiar enough with the series to understand what’s basically happening.
Our demo begins with Kazuma shaking down a man for money, he appears to be doing this at the behest of an underboss. He is either not a member of a clan, or if he is, it’s certainly not the Dojima, as Nishki, who would be his enemy in the original Yakuza, shows up as his good friend, to try and convince him to join the Dojima. The demo gives us a taste of combat, the character-strong, narrative-driven style of Yakuza, and the familiar surroundings of Japan in fictional Kamurocho.
Ryū ga Gotoku 0 is out now in Japan and Asia markets.