GOTY 2018: The Top 10 Games of the Year: #9
Welcome to the Tenth Annual Silicon Sasquatch Top 10 Games of the Year list! Using our tried-and-true methodology (i.e., we play a lot of games and argue until we’re tired,) we've finally narrowed down the 10 games that we feel accurately represent the best and most important that 2018 had to offer.
#9 – Yakuza 6: The Song of Life
Sega CS1 | April 17th, 2018 | PlayStation 4
Over the course of the last few years, the Yakuza series and I have risen up to meet each other.
Which leads me to our number 9 entry on the 2018 Top 10, Yakuza 6: The Song of Life. Both a continuation and distillation of what has made the Yakuza series great, Yakuza 6 is also a capstone—it’s planned to be the final game starring series protagonist Kazuma Kiryu, and it’s one final run through the tropes and beats that have built the series.
For starters: You’re playing as Kiryu, once again dragged into yakuza politics and a potential clan war. Yakuza 6 is set in Kamurocho and Another Place, this time taking the Dragon of Dojima down to a small fishing town in Hiroshima to help uncover the truth. How the rest unfolds is classic Yakuza, down to the the melodramatic exposition of the main story, the wacky side missions, and the Extremely Japanese minigames. But at the heart is a continuing conversation about fathers and sons, those we help and those who help us out, and the various definitions of “family” that can exist. Oh, and one of those father AND son figures is Beat Takeshi, chewing the scenery in the best way possible. You don’t have to be a long-time fan to get emotional about the relationships in the main story and how they resolve by the end of the game.
If you consider Yakuza 0 a soft reboot of the series, Yakuza 6 is the next strong entry in this catalog. (Yakuza Kiwami also was released last year, but is hamstrung by the smaller scope of what it’s a re-creation of). It’s strange to think the earliest and latest games in the timeline can fit together well, but there’s enough context in the game to catch up on the story beats. And the built-for-PlayStation 4 Dragon Engine helps lift the fidelity and fighting engine up to new levels, especially with how crowded some of the story fights can get.
One of the greatest joys in gaming I’ve had the last two years is discovering Yakuza and finding just how up my alley the story, setting, and ambience are. Yakuza 6 is an excellent package. – Doug Bonham