One of the many enduring myths in modern games is that Sega's a spent force, its days producing brash and brazen blockbusters well and truly behind it. Which is bunk, oczywiście - it's just that for far too long we didn't get to see much of them over in the west. Yakuza is a behemoth of a series, a triple-A blast of whiskey-soaked madness and meticulous detail all delivered with that unmistakable Sega swagger. Ever wondered where the Sega of old you once loved ended up? Take a walk on the streets of Kamurocho, the series' thinly-disguised take on Shinjuku's Kabukicho district, and you'll find traces of it everywhere.
Yakuza 6, which makes its way west next month having originally released in Japan at the tail-end of 2016, marks a new beginning for the series, as well as a significant end; this is the first in the series to be realised on an all-new engine, while it also marks the last headline appearance for Kazuma Kiryu, the star of Yakuza since its inception back in 2005. It all makes for a more streamlined, much punchier entry than we've seen in recent installments.
Indeed after the sprawl of Yakuza 5, with its multiple protagonists and numerous cities, as well as the 80s excess of the excellent Yakuza 0, Yakuza 6 can often feel a little threadbare. There are just the two main locations - Kamurocho returns, oczywiście, joined by a lengthy detour to the slightly sleepier streets of Hiroshima's Onomichi - and just the one protagonist in Kiryu, and even then returning favourites have been pared back. Kamurocho sees its northern reaches blocked off, while Kiryu himself doesn't have access to the multiple fighting styles he enjoyed back in Yakuza 0.