Kazuma Kiryu’s final outing is an emotionally charged tale of familial bonds and the violence that threatens to rip them asunder
A video-game character’s story is often over after a single game; only a lucky few get to hang around longer. Few can equal Yakuza star Kazuma Kiryu’s run. His story stretches back to the PlayStation 2, spanning six games set all over modern-day Japan, two period spinoffs and a zombie-themed offshoot. In the pitiless Tokyo underworld of the Yakuza games, gangsters’ lives are often cut brutally short – but this is one goodbye that’s rare and special.
To his chagrin, Kiryu is drawn back to Kamurocho, the Tokyo nightlife district where he made his name as one of the city’s most feared and respected figures in 2005’s first Yakuza game. This is a city constantly under renovation, overhauled every few years as technologyimproves. Kiryu might be reluctant to return to Tokyo, but for players it is a pleasure. At night especially, it feels alluring and dangerous, a maelstrom of neon and noise. You’ll bump into salarymen letting their hair down and youths staring at their phones, as well as groups of prowling thugs with suits as loud as the clamour and thumping beats emanating from clubs and pachinko parlours.