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Why am I just now discovering that I love Yakuza?

I’ve barely scratched the surface of Marvel vs Capcom Infinite. I’ve only gotten to Area 3 in Metroid: Samus Returns. Sonic Mania still remains unconquered on my Switch. Only two bad guys have been reformed by the Phantom Thieves in Persona 5. Hell, I haven’t even beaten Breath of the Wild, even though I’ve had it since launch. All I can really think about is how much I want to keep playing Yakuza 5 which was released two years ago (at least in the US).

I’ve owned the game for awhile now thanks to PlayStation Plus. The series had always looked appealing, but I never bothered to pick it up for some inexplicable reason. It wasn’t until I started watching Beast in the East recently (I not only have a game backlog, but a Giantbomb backlog) that I was convinced I should finally dive into this fun universe.

I don’t really play open world games much. I’ve never completed a GTA game. I haven’t even played GTA V. Read Dead Redemption is the closest I’ve gotten to completing a Rockstar game (I’ve heard Mexico isn’t the best part of the game). I’ve ignored Assassin’s Creed since Brotherhood came out. I’ve been trying to pinpoint exactly why I’ve become so engrossed with this game when these other games have failed to capture me.

I think it’s the positivity. It’s unlike anything in other open world games that I’ve played. Kiryu is just a helpful guy who helps people without thought of reward. He races a gang called the Devil Killers because a cop asks him to. Climbing the ladder of their hierarchy, he eventually gets a young street racer a job, bonds more with his coworkers, and heals the rift between three old friends. That’s just one subset of side stories.

The action is also positive in its own way by making everything Kiryu does super badass. Every attack has a splash of color when it connects, much like Tekken, which makes everything feel powerful. I especially love picking up a downed opponent by his legs and spinning him into his friends before letting him go crashing to the ground. Or during one of the races, getting his car up on two wheels so he can drive in between the tight space of two semis. It’s ridiculous. It’s incredible. I love it.

I’m only one-third through the game, I think. I can’t wait to see where this story ends up going. I like the themes that this game represents: honor, persistence and love. I need to hurry up and finish it so that I can be ready for the US release of Yakuza 6 early next year.

-Also, Destiny 2 is finally released on PC at the end of month. Boy, am I going to have a time problem when I can play that.