What’s more fun, being a rugged ex-Yakuza brutally beatings thugs on a quest to solve a mystery…..or dressing up women and saddling them with rich men for an hour? A few days ago I would have said being a roguish gangster but Yakuza 0 has proven me very wrong. In Yakuza 0 you play as 2 characters. Stoic Kiryu and the dangerous Majima. I’ll probably review the game one day so I won’t get into too depth of a description. Once this blasted mini game releases me from its sweet, alluring embrace I’ll get round to finishing it. After you do a certain story mission you switch to the other character and you begin a new chapter. I’ve been playing on chapter 8 with Majima for over a dozen hours. I’ve nearly forgotten how Kiryu’s distinct fighting styles play. At a certain point in the game Majima inherits a cabaret club. Now for the uninitiated, a cabaret club in this universe, revolves around men paying for the pleasure to have a woman sit and chat to them for a bit.
As Majima your job is to recruit the girls around your district and utilise their natural charms to appease the local male clientele. Each lady has stats. HP, Talk, Love, Party, Skill are what govern each individual girl. Every time you open your cabaret doors to customers, you choose a team of 8 women. As you progress through the game you will unlock new clientele targets, which will have certain tastes and will prefer particular stats over the other ones. There are different kinds of customers too; Poor, Average, Wealthy and Mega-Rich. Obviously the aim of the game is to appease the wealthiest and rinse their pockets of their money. Whenever you put a certain girl into the roster for the night, she will level up when the shift is done. When this happens, her stats will increase. The max level is 30 and once there, the stats won’t increase. Level 40 is the max level for platinum girls. Platinum girls you ask? Yes, all the women are ranked. Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Platinum girls are very special and there are only 8 in the game. These girls are special and have side story content and dialogue attached to them. Platinum girls are also the only girls that you can dress up and customise. You buy them clothes and accessories so they can earn you more money. You gotta spend money to make money in this business. With Platinum girls you also get the opportunity to train them in their banter with customers or even take them on faux dates to boost their confidence. But be a perfect gentleman! If you don’t banter well enough with the wonderful ladies, they won’t level up as much as they could. Just like real life.
You still reading? Good. I think I’ve got the basics covered. Now onto business. Before you open the cabaret doors, you need to select a team of 8 gals. It’s kind of like Pokemon. You want the heavy hitters in your team but you also want the less experienced ones to be there to gain experience and evolve. That metaphor went a lot better than I anticipated. But don’t push the lovely ladies too far! You over work them and they may become sick and absent. Not only that but if you overwork them their mood will go down which in turn will affect the customer’s mood and your wallet will grow less than The Grinch’s heart that fateful Christmas. Once, the doors open the customers will come in. They’ll stream in at an even pace which is nice. You have 6 booths and they will fill up steadily. When a customer sits down you will be given a brief criteria and also his financial status. He may be seeking a laugh for the night and therefore he’d like a girl to talk too and he may want a longer than normal session. If he’s Mega-Rich he may ask for a certain girl so as you can tell, the more you play the tougher it gets. Difficulty increases based on the customers finances. That’s why levelling up your gal pals is important. When, a customer is seated a little timer will appear at their table. During that time your cabaret worker may call you over for assistance. The lady will then prompt you with a hand gesture and you have to decode the gesture and select the correct option out of 4. There are a rotation of answers but some include a menu and a refill of ice. Doing the correct action will allow your worker to recover some of her health as working causes that to drain. It will also make the customer happy or yield a bit of extra yen. When the timer is up, the customer will want the check. You will have a choice of options here. You may be given the option to offer the guest an extension with his hostess. Maybe, you could give him a gift so that he spreads the good word of your workplace, providing more customers. Praising your worker is an option so she recovers health. And other choices. If you guest isn’t with a lady he likes though he may kick off and you will have to try to appease the guest and situation so choose who you sit your guests next to wisely.
There’s a lot to go over with this mode so I’m going to skip some details but you get the idea. There is also a spending spree party mode juice that you accumulate over time. When you have enough, you can use the juice to send several random customers into a spending frenzy. Timing is important with this as there are tiers of party mode juice. Level 1 will put 2 random people into Mister Spendalot’s. Level 2 will do the same for 4 and level 3 will put all tables into a merry time. This is key to making the most money as not only does it let you increase your cash flow for a brief time, it also raises the guests moods and recovers HP for your seated workers. I’ve not even got started on the competition! You aren’t the only cabaret club in town. There are several districts which each have the top dog cabaret club of that area. As you earn more fans from those areas you will be challenged to a cabaret club-off where you will compete with your current rival. If you win you will gain their best worker and they will be gone from the story, which in turn will progress the cabaret club side mission which is consuming my life. To defeat these might cavaliers of the adult industry you must recruit the help of local businesses. By investing money into a business you can team up and they will help spread the word of your club, garnering more fans and more customers. This cycle of earning money from the cabaret club, spending money to raise awareness of your club and repeating creates a very satisfying loop. It’s immensely fun earning millions of yen in one Yakuza 0 evening whereas 10 hours before that 1 million yen seemed like a fortune.
All of this combined has created an endorphins drip into my brain. The numbers go up, wallet gets big, I raise awareness, number go up more, wallet gets fat and repeat till satisfied. I’m currently on the last cabaret club so I believe my side mission is coming to an end. Doesn’t mean I’ll stop playing the cabaret club scene! Not only is it incredibly satisfying, it rakes in big quick money and it’s just fun to play. If Yakuza 0 had a 50 hour cabaret club DLC, I would be a very happy chappy. Until then though, all I can do is sing its praises and if you have Yakuza 0 and you have the cabaret club a miss, I highly recommend it. It’s similar to The Witcher 3’s Gwent in addictiveness so be careful with that. Anyway, thanks for reading and if you’ve got anything to add feel free to sound off in the comments. Cheers.