This article contains light spoilers for Final Fantasy 7 Remake.
Folks who were playing Final Fantasy 7 Remake before I started were telling me, “Yo, this game’s got some real Yakuza energy going on.” At first, I took it with a grain of salt, doubting how a serious-looking game about radical environmentalism and fighting an evil corporation could reach the levels of outlandish charm of Sega’s long-running crime-action franchise. I thought, maybe it’s because FF7 Remake has side-quests to help build out the NPCs that embody its hub areas with similar stylings as Yakuza’s Kamurocho or Sotenbori. But that’s only scratching Midgar’s surface.
I often describe the Yakuza series as a journey through Japan’s violent criminal underworld where “absurdist humor meets gripping melodrama starring an adorably naive but beefy man with a mean mug, fists of steel, and a heart of gold.” I immediately fell in love with main man Kazuma Kiryu and how the series balances seemingly opposite ends of the tonal spectrum to make you laugh, cry, and cry from laughter. FF7 Remake doesn’t quite hit the same extremes–which is fine–but when the game channels that energy, it gets it so right.