Yakuza 0 introduced me to the world of remarkably deep, well-executed, rich mini-games. I adored the Real Estate Royale “arc” that Kiryu went on, and now it’s Ichiban’s turn. As soon as it unlocked, I completed the entirety of the Business Management game. Scattered thoughts/spoilers ahead!
Humble Beginnings – Early on the gameplay felt complex. I just wanted to get out there and make money. Trial and error were enough for me to thumb my way through the first few rounds. Once understood how all of the interlocking systems functioned, it became impossible to put down. Seeing numbers go up turns my brain into an endorphin factory.
Please Accept Our humble apologies – I LOVED the shareholder meetings. The numbers portion of the game is little more than a spreadsheet with a fancy UI (an enjoyable spreadsheet, but a spreadsheet nonetheless)… During the shareholder meetings, that was where I felt myself coming alive. Thematically, the nature of the “combat” style during these meetings fit perfectly in line with the game. I adored beating the crap out of my enemies in an exchange of wit, rather than a weapon.
Climbing the Ladder – Progression feels good. I like progression. Getting a new office with a commanding view is a reward that I enjoyed. It felt earned. The further I progressed in this game, the wackier and wackier it got. From a Yakuza game, this is precisely what I want out of my experience. I am 100% here for the cheesiest of moments, and I brought plenty of senbai and wine.
Bonus! – A few things I’m passionate about: JRPG fishing mini-games, numbers increasing, and flavor text. Two of these three are present within this game, which is more than enough to satisfy me. Flavor text brings me life. Each new hire has their blurb about their personality, as well as each real-estate location you can purchase and invest in. The amount of optional text here allows me to help build this world out in my mind. Yes, I have a grocery store run by an ex(?) weapons smuggler. Yes, that politician that kept falling asleep at debates during his tenure in Congress is now my most aggressive champion during shareholder meetings.
It took me around two days to complete this, across two very long sessions of play. I’m looking forward to going back at various points in the game to see how things are. I know there are more employees to find out in the wild I’ll continue to hire everyone I see. I didn’t mention this earlier, but I was genuinely surprised to see that Eri-chan would become a playable character! I think that’s a smart way to reward the player for participating in optional content.
By the end of the game, I was making so much money that I hired every single person available. Might as well bring everyone to the top with me. After all, I think that’s what Ichiban would do!