Geek, gamer, writer, graphic artist. KL Yong's favorite shows and adventures are those that allow him to enjoy the world from his bedroom.
Playing Yakuza 0, also known as Ryu ga Gotoku 0: Chikai no Bash, is a surreal experience.
One moment, you’re a gangland hero/heretic, The next, you’re helping children, playing confidant to a dominatrix, even investigating urban legends.
For some players, such side quests, or substories, could be too distracting or ludicrous. For me, though, they are instead what made this prequel so utterly enjoyable.
Without further ado, allow me to share my 10 favorite Yakuza 0 substories. Hereby, I share too that love some of these mini-adventures so much, I consider them the best moments of the game.
Note: This list is arranged in chapter appearance order.
Kiryu Substory #2 - Arakure Quest (Chapter 2)
This Yakuza 0 substory, available early in the game, is a wonderful example of how such quests complement the main story in Yakuza games. It begins by bringing you all over Kamurocho, thus familiarizing you with the layout. The perseverance Kiryu displays then paints a clear picture of his personality.
There’s also the twist ending, during which the quest suddenly transforms into poignant family drama. In short, this substory is a splendid example of the colorful, often outrageous mini-tales found within Sega’s flagship PlayStation series – tales that are not just simple fetch-and-bring quests, but events that fill up holes left by the main story. In my case, these substories are also what I look forward to most, with each new Yakuza game release.
Kiryu Substory #10 - How to Train Your Dominatrix (Chapter 2)
The Japanese are fascinating in many ways. They are utterly devoted to their jobs. They often have truly weird solutions for life crises too.
There are also incredibly tolerant of sexual fetishes, with this broad-mindedness often baffling foreigners given the emphasis Japan places on social conformity.
This substory combines all of these idiosyncrasies into a hilarious, conversation-based quest between Kiryu and a trainee dominatrix. Be advised. Don’t be too disturbed if you score all the right answers on the first go. Consider it as telling of who you might really be. This crazy substory could result in you embracing a new lifestyle.
Kiryu Substory #12 - Miracle on Tenkaichi Street (Chapter 2)
I love this Yakuza 0 substory for one and one thing only. The pop icon Miracle parodies.
More so than any other substory, this quest completes the impression of the 80s. And how it brings back fond memories while at that! If you love 80s culture,
if you are a fan of the superstar Miracle represents, I’m sure you would love this substory too. You will most certainly also love Miracle’s associated tune, readily available in the quirky disco dancing mini-game.
Majima Substory #63 - The Man with the Stranger's Face (Chapter 4)
Substories (or side quests) are not unique to the Yakuza series. What differentiates those in Yakuza 0 from side quests in other games, though, is how elaborate they can get.
While none stretches beyond half an hour of gameplay, a good number does contain enough story elements to fill up a television feature, or a novella. The Man with the Stranger’s Face is one of these; at the same time, also one of the most touching. This story strongly reminds the player that a Yakuza’s life is seldom just glory and action. Very often, it is a life suffused with irreversible tragedy too.
Majima Substory #64 - Toilet Talk (Chapter 4)
I have a dirty little secret. In my younger days, I used to linger in public toilet cubicles to read the numerous graffiti.
As disturbing as this sounds, don’t you agree that such scrawlings could be utterly fascinating? The wild stories, the outrageous claims, the many promises!
This hilarious substory offers a prediction of what might happen if you succumb to the temptation of “responding” to such graffiti. A word of warning here. The story turns dark quickly. You need to be ready for violent surprises.
Majima Substory #78 - The Doll Girl (Chapter 3)
To be honest, I hated this substory at first. I’ve never won anything at a UFO catcher. Now I have to struggle with one using a joypad?
The effort, however, pays off, once the whiny little girl’s background is revealed.
With that, we also see a side of Majima that’s never before shown in other episodes. In all, the whole tale is a sad hint at what the Mad Dog of Shimano could have become, had he not been trapped as a Yakuza.
For those who have played Yakuza 5, this substory is doubly poignant as it leaves the poignant question of, what would have happened, had Pak Mirei not done what she did?
Majima Substory #54 - Disciple of the New Order (Chapter 4)
The substories of the Yakuza series often discuss Japanese social-political issues. In the case of Disciple of the New Order, it humorously presents one of the worst phenomena to haunt modern Japan; that of the popularity of messianic, doomsday cults.
You might laugh at Majima’s comical handling of the cultists. You might also find the cultists downright ludicrous. But remember, the worst terrorist attack Japan ever suffered was staged by one such cult. There is a grim message behind this comical substory. This is a message Japan is still coming to terms with.
Majima Substory #81 - Gandhara Employee (Chapter 4)
This is one of the weirdest Yakuza 0 substories, and I’m not saying so because of the sleaze involved.
The tale revolves around a certain urban legend and right from the start, you know it’s going to get downright creepy if you probe too deep.
What then happens? What is the truth behind that legendary item so many men crave and need? I leave that to you to discover yourself.
Kiryu Substory #11 - The Shrink-Wrapped Dream (Chapter 6)
Older male players will appreciate this hilarious story. I certainly did!
Remember those pre-Internet days when you tremble in fear each time your mom cleans your room? Remember the ridiculous schemes you cooked up in order to secure new treasures for that marvelous stash under your bed?
Dear old Kiryu shares golden advice about such schemes with a young friend, albeit somewhat unwillingly. It’s outdated advice, yes. But outdated nostalgia? Not at all.
Kiryu Substory #19 - Heir to the Family (Chapter 6)
Rokudaime Daigo Dojima might not be the most popular supporting character in the Yakuza series, but he is arguably the closest mirror of Kiryu Kazuma.
Like his aniki, Daigo is an honorable man burdened for life by family heritage. Often, he also prefers harmonious solutions over open conflict, although he is never one to shy from necessary combat.
This brief substory offers a glimpse into Daigo’s difficult childhood, and through that, reveals what made Daigo into the man he is in subsequent episodes. You will definitely feel more for the Sixth Chairman of the Tojo Clan after playing through this story. You will also understand why he sees himself as Kiryu’s “son” at the end of the whole Yakuza franchise.
Who knows? After these insights, Daigo might even become your favorite supporting character.
© 2017 Yong Kuan Leong