The Yakuza series has always tried to give people new elements to enjoy and experiment with in every installment. Sometimes we get to run a cabaret. Disco dancing is a thing. You are always welcome to take part in a Mah-jong game. Not to mention, fishing is an option. Yakuza 6: The Song of Life is no exception. Here, one of the most striking additions is Clan Creator. When Kazuma Kiryu makes his own clan to fight JUSTIS, he ends up giving players an opportunity to enjoy a different sort of battle.
In Yakuza, we are accustomed to mostly brief brawls. Kiryu, or occasionally one of his friends, runs into enemies of some sort, you press buttons to beat them up, and you are often rewarded with money, items or experience when it is done. Yakuza 6: The Song of Life’s Clan Creator brings real-time strategy matches to the mix. After encountering two of JUSTIS’ Six Lunatic leaders outside New Serena early in the game, Kiryu learns about the group that is allegedly bringing justice to Kamurocho. But once he comes to Onomichi, he learns there is more to the group. Kazuchika “Rainmaker” Okada and Joe founded it, but Joe left and returned home to Hiroshima after its ideals were compromised and it became no better than the gangs it was formed to fight. Kiryu becomes leader of the Kiryu Clan and works to bring them down.
Clan Creator is one of those minigames that can start out rather easy, but gradually grows in difficuly. You are able to have six of your major soldiers in your crew, as well as a number of more minor minions. The major characters all have optional skills you can use as needed. As the bar fills at the bottom, you can deploy more units. Your goal is to wipe out the enemy before time runs out. Offline, these matches are restricted to main Missions, though online you can participate in Events, Ranked Raids, Friend Raids and general Raids. It is all about finding a crew of characters that works for you, due to their skills, stats and growth, then knowing when it is right to deploy people who have strong attacks, healing skills and supplemental abilities. There is also the actual organization of your, well, organization. Arranging characters can make them stronger, meaning they will be better in battle.
Here is the thing about Yakuza 6: The Song of Life’s Clan Creator. It is a very easy game to break. Sega has been doling out codes rather frequently, most notably on the PlayStation Blog. Some of these codes give you iconic characters. So “the6thheadoftojo” would give you Daigo Dojima. Other codes will give you the members of JUSTIS (who also happen to be New Japan Pro-Wrestling) at a relatively high level. An example of this is “rainmakermrokada” for Rainmaker. While part of the fun of Clan Creator is looking around for people to join and fill your ranks, there is a definite appeal to getting these amazing characters the moment you can, sticking them in your organization’s most important places and immediately taking JUSTIS to task.
But one of the best parts of Clan Creator is the satisfaction it brings. We have known for years that Kiryu should have had his own family. While he grudgingly argues that he prefers to fight in his own battles, this mode gives him the family he has deserved for years. By recruiting people, we get the feeling that this is what he would have been like as a Patriarch. We get to experience these extra sub-stories that have the pay-off of knowing a new family member will be a reward. And, should you decide to use codes to immediately get great characters, it is like having an instant dream team. As soon as I was able, I set Majima as Captain under Kiryu, placed Detective Makoto Date, a unit form of Kiryu and Dojima as Lieutenants, then uses no-name basic characters as filler soldiers.
Clan Creator is an opportunity to enjoy a different kind of fight. It is about giving Yakuza fans a chance to finally have their own original organization. Kiryu finally gets to be a chairman and have a family, one that is going to live up to his ideals and bring justice to cities desperately in need of it. Building up a group is a lot of fun, and the missions are short enough to provide an interesting diversion for when you need a break from the game’s more serious elements. It works well and gets us to think about Kiryu in a new way: as the leader we know he can be.
Yakuza 6: The Song of Life will come to the PlayStation 4 on April 17, 2018.