Late to the Party #9 – Yakuza 0

For quite a while now, I’ve been hearing great things about the Yakuza series. I mean, thanks to Humble Monthly and Choice, I own Yakuza 0, Kiwami and Kiwami 2 already, so it was only a matter of time until I’d play one of the games and despite me being late to the party here, I was quite overjoyed with having played and beaten Yakuza 0!

Note: This is not a review… It may look like one… but it’s not… I just played through the game and made a post about it… Enjoy the post! Also remember to hydrate properly because Kiryu and Majima make me thirsty!

Kiryu may be scary sometimes but he ain’t a killer!

So, so,… where do I start? Uh, we play as two characters in the game. Kazuma Kiryu who’s a young yakuza in his 20s and who’s part of the Dojima Family gets framed for a murder he didn’t commit (because he canonically never officially killed anyone) and that’s quite bad for the Family since yakuza don’t kill civilians. Since Kiryu has been taken in by Kazuma, Kazuma is supposed to be held accountable for Kiryu’s murder, which is why Kiryu’s trying to leave the family and to find the actual culprit. This whole thing, however, is part of something much bigger because of the empty piece of land that the murder was committed on. Meanwhile, we also play as Goro Majima, an ex-yakuza that runs a cabaret in Sotenbori to pay off a debt and to get back into the yakuza. There are a lot of circumstances going on but eventually, his story gets intertwined into Kiryu’s and it all becomes a bit of a mess that can be a bit overwhelming and confusing… but in a good way. I won’t spoil anything but I loved it and loved seeing the parallels between the characters’ ideals and playstyles. Similarly, I had to pause the game now and then to think about what the implications and revelations meant for the story and why things were turning out the way they were turning out. There are a lot of parties involved, a lot of characters get introduced, and a lot of things happen, resulting in a brilliant story that ends up getting resolved with basically no plot holes left. I enjoyed it.

Kiryu is such a cutie. I love it!

At its core, though, Yakuza 0 is an Open World Action game where you fight off enemies using three different fighting styles (per character) and a plethora of weapons and techniques. It’s fun, it’s entertaining and kind of challenging, at first. For my playthrough, I played on the Hard difficulty and struggled quite a bit against the first boss, Kuze, but after that, the game turned out to be rather easy… which may be due to the upgrades I got. I ended up abusing the food system that lets you heal even during combat and ended up investing all of my money into my own body to unlock new abilities, more health, and stronger attacks. The damage you receive in fights can be healed using food from your inventory or by visiting eateries outside of combat. There are also a lot of side-quests and activities around town to get you sidetracked and make you lose your time. You know that amazing story I mentioned? Yeah, I delayed by an hour to play Shogi instead, after learning in the game how to play shogi… and then I delayed for another two hours after finding out about Karaoke and Pocket Circuit, the local racing game.

GOOOOOROOOOO MAJIMAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

The substories are the best part of the game, though. These sidequests are hilarious and ridiculous and it suits the game a lot. The rewards may not be worth it at first… but eventually, when you progress through the game, a lot of the side characters return to help you out, which is quite nice. And the ridiculous stories fit quite well into the game because of the fun little conversation choices and the over-the-top-combat. The story may be serious but when I can ram a bike into someone’s head and they still survive that, I can’t take a game that seriously… I mean… Again, the story is brilliant,… but at the beginning, I didn’t think that the main plot would be so good, judging from the amusing combat experience. Eventually, I ended up rushing through the game as I wanted to finish it before NieR Replicant comes out, so I ended up not doing too many sidequests for a while and didn’t regret that actually, at all. I even cried for a bit during one of the scenes.

It burns… a lot…. it pains me in my kokoro to be called out like that.

You may notice that I’m a bit all over the place right now but I still can’t believe that I’m done with Yakuza 0 already… and I’m a bit bummed out about it but there are still 34 achievements for me to collect and I really wanna clear them all… or at least most of them! Apart from that, the game’s somewhat old… I mean, it’s from 2015 as far as I know… but it still aged well! Don’t look at the water and you’ll be fine, though. The rest of the world is super pretty and the characters look and sound amazing. The Japanese dub is great and I loved listening to the fun soundtrack, too. It certainly aged well for a game that is six years old – I’ve seen newer games that looked a lot worse!

The future is NOW! (The game plays in the 1980s btw)

Now apart from that, there are a few things I don’t like. For starters, food is overpowered. Once you stock up on Sushi Sets you are nearly invincible. The combat felt great at the start but eventually, I noticed, that on Hard Difficulty the fights just turn into a button-mashing contest. Two styles aren’t that good in my opinion while the other two are overwhelmingly good, so there’s a balancing issue. The “Breaker” Style that you unlock later on, for instance, lets you deal with a ton of enemies at the same but it’s also great in One-on-One situations. I won’t spoil the other ones but I noticed that eventually I was quite strong and I frankly didn’t have a hard time at all. Fights were just me getting the heat gauge up and then smashing the enemies with motorcycles and stuff. Until the final chapter, combat felt somewhat easy, to be honest, so again, balance. I would have enjoyed a more even difficulty curve that would steadily make things harder, either by equipping guns onto them and other stronger weaponry or by buffing their damage more. There is also this one guy that you defeat a bunch of times and he just doubles up on health but doesn’t get stronger, in my opinion, making him a bad boss fight in a way…

Gotta beat up the imposter!

So, I’d love to talk about characters that get introduced more but that’d be a spoiler… the story then? Oh, right, that’d be a spoiler… The minigames? Well, one of them can get you banned on Twitch, but the rest are fine. Also technically spoilers. I’d recommend Yakuza 0 to anyone and everyone. It’s a great game and after 42.7 hours in it, I don’t think I’ll be done with the game just yet. There is still so much to do! I want to be good at most of the minigames and be friends with all the NPCs and fight Mr Shakedown until there is none left… and then there’s the different fighting styles I need to improve, all the food I need to taste, and just so much more. Great game! Looking forward to Yakuza Kiwami!

What are your opinions on the Yakuza series or Yakuza 0 in particular? Have you played it yet? Do you plan to? Let me know!

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Indietail – Behind Every Great One

Behind every great man, stands a great woman – but who stands behind that woman? 

From the makers of The Red Strings Club and Gods Will Be Watching comes a game that explores the life of Gabriel and Victorine, a couple in their 30s that live a comfortable life. Gabriel’s a famous artist who’s currently working on his next grand piece. Victorine, his loving wife and muse, is supporting him in every way possible but as time goes on, it all becomes a burden for Vic and we start to run out of space.

Developer: Deconstructeam
Publisher: Deconstructeam
Genre: Interactive Fiction, Adventure, 2D, Drama
Release Date: August 23rd, 2018 (updated: February 18th, 2019)
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC (itch.io)
Copy is available for free.

Originally made for the Ludum Dare 42 with the concept of “running out of space” in mind, Behind Every Great One explores serious topics like gaslighting, guilt-tripping and toxic relationships by putting you into the role of one of those great women. Time passes slowly and you only have so much time to get done with your chores. 

Clean the house, water the plants, do the laundry, wash the dishes, prepare dinner,… there is way too much to do for just two people, especially when Gabriel is obsessed with his magnum opus and hence doesn’t bother helping at all. Slowly, the small rooms of the flat feel bigger and bigger. I felt so small when I tried to get done with my tasks. 

And there’s more to it. The conversations we have with our husband change over time. From him putting us on a pedestal at the beginning to eventually him blaming us indirectly for his problems.

Stuff happens and eventually, Gaby’s parents stop by and stay for a few days. Needing a place to sleep in, they take up the small library, which results in us losing our refuge and one of our hobbies. When we’re feeling down, we don’t have anyone to turn to. Gabriel’s mother is a viper and his father is often not the most tactful person. 

It’s hard to breathe air when these people quite literally take space away from you. When you feel like crying, you need to find a place to be alone. With more people joining, that’s not quite possible. Eventually, it all is too much to handle for us and only time will tell what we’ll do about it.

Though relatively short, Deconstructeam managed to create an interesting and deep experience that really captures the feel of toxic relationships well. Abusive relationships don’t need domestic violence. It can be a few simple words, sentences, and demands to ruin someone’s day, week or life. 

The game utilizes a minimalistic style and bright colours to show us the world we live in. It doesn’t matter who these people are or what they look like. They could be anyone and everyone. The bright colours contrast the dark feelings quite well and the changes in camera-movements and perspectives really add a lot to the experience.

A rather atmospheric soundtrack accompanies the experience that is fitting. For a game made in a day, I’m impressed at how well this all fits together.

Sadly, I’m not able to talk about anything else really since the risk of spoiling something is rather high with a game like this. It’s a short experience that still has a lot of surprises to offer that I haven’t touched upon in this review.

Personally, I really enjoyed the experience, although I hated the oppressive feeling that goes with it. I hated more toxic relationships that I had in the past and this game really reminded me all too well about those. It’s saddening that Victorine’s experience is so relatable. 

Hence, I’d recommend this title. It’s a really well-made narrative experience by Deconstructeam. You can find Behind Every Great One over here on itch.io.

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

The Stray Sheep #35 – en passant

So, I thought I’d talk about the new headers I made for my blog (which I’m rather proud of!), how uni has been (as it just started), and what the current situation/final decision on the Heartbeat review is & something else.

Regarding the “en passant”, I thought it’d be cool to talk about how my week’s been now and then, like a diary – but public. And I like chess, so “en passant” felt like the right choice to make here!
Also “en passant” is a lot better than “Headerache!”, right? 🙂

The original pic

First things first, I love Dr Pepper and I thought the blog should resemble that.

But I needed more cans for that, so I had to buy three more cans which I enjoyed a lot (of course) and then I just shot the photo of this Dr Pepper Wall, made it look better (saturation and stuff?), then I’ve also added different “effects” to it. I really love the Pixel and Spiral one! Though the mosaic-esque (mosaesque? :D) is quite neat as well… Oh well, they’ll cycle through at random, so whenever you reload the page, you’ll see one of eight different header pictures! I may add more to the future and do special ones for Christmas and stuff but for now, these should be good enough.

The reason for me changing it at all was the fact that I actually wanted to do that quite early on when I created my blog back then in July, but then I kind of forgot and when I got annoyed by my headers being so different every time and also not cropped in the right way, I thought I should make a change.

That change was to crop them all in the recommended way, resulting in some games not being recognizable (as a friend mentioned, while someone else said that it sucks).
Also it didn’t make sense to see a header of “Cat Quest 2” when you’re reading a review on any other game.
Now, it looks better, in my opinion, and I’m kind of proud of it. Also, I can get rid of around 78 Dr Pepper cans. I’ll show you some in this post, I guess!

On to the other topic: University!

Uni has just started and I kicked it off with a fever, which was why I missed six hours worth of philosophy classes about Nietzsche, Freud, something about “objectivity, rationality and relativism” – and my Geometry course, which sucked. But apparently, those classes (apart from Geometry) were too full anyway, so that a friend of mine couldn’t listen to the Prof at all. I may have to change my Tuesday-lectures, which will be difficult and annoying to deal with.

Wednesday is my new Monday!

On Wednesdays, I’ve got Uni from 10 am to 6 pm and from 6 pm to 9 pm I’ve got literature club meetups. The courses themselves are quite full as well but really cool. I’m learning about thought experiments in one lecture while I’m trying to understand Machiavelli’s “Discorsi” in another. It’s quite cool actually. The other three hours are filled with math classes, so that’s that, I guess. On Thursday and Friday, I ended up having a huge migraine again, so I decided not to go to uni and instead ask a friend to send me pics of it.

So, I’ll be rather busy in the upcoming semester but I’ll also learn a lot for sure!

And the nearly-last topic is about Heartbeat, again.

I had a huge headache for quite some time now – and it may have been caused by me thinking too hard about whether or not I should review it. Recommending it means supporting a transphobic dev, while not recommending it would means giving some devs at Chumsoft shit for one dev’s views. Not writing a review about it, would be like denying that game’s existence solely based on someone else’s political views… in the end, I’ve decided not to post at all, which I’ve declared in a post-posting-edit, in “Large”. Thought I should say it here as well.

Last but not least: Drama with a person twitter

I don’t like it when people argue and I myself don’t like arguing at all, either. If possible I’d like to resolve things nicely. A while ago I got that rude message (which I’ve made a post about that was meant to be a bit uplifting as in “Don’t change yourself for others” or something like that).
Long story short, that person was rather rude to me in the private messages, called me a stalker in several tweets as I’ve answered to her message once and she kept blocking me, then unblocking me to write a rude and toxic message before ultimately blocking me again.

In the end, I decided to block her myself, too. Blocking someone doesn’t seem like something an adult should do as you should try to just avoid people on your own when you can’t get along with them. Blocking people is like running away while ignoring someone is a bit less childish, in my opinion, but I guess sometimes it’s necessary.

So, all in all:

Ever since I decided not to post about Heartbeat and ever since I’ve blocked that toxic person, my head’s been better, so I guess it’s all fine now. I’m quite sure that the Heartbeat-matter messed with me more but removing all kinds of saltiness and toxicity can’t be bad. Next step would be to stop playing League of Legends, I guess! (that’s a joke btw)

Tomorrow I’ll have to get some duties done and finish this other review here up, but I may as well post it on Monday or Tuesday, as I don’t want to stress myself too much, still being sickly and all of that.

Either way, I hope you all enjoyed this post and I hope that you all are well/not sick at all. Stay hydrated!

Cheers!