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  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Majima's transformation into the Mad Dog has left some fans scratching their heads who he truly is, and how he became an Ax-Crazy Heel by the time Yakuza 1 came around.
    • One interpretation is that while he always had traces of it, Majima wasn't completely crazy to begin with. But considering everything he was put through as Shimano's Unwitting Pawn the entire time, which probably also broke him, not wanting to be restrained under anyone's leash any longer, he decided to live life on his own merits and become crazier than the rest of them, having been inspired by both his enemies and allies alike.
      Majima: I've seen a few guys who lived like idiots and they died like idiots. But that batshit crazy lifestyle... I'd say it made 'em some of the finest bastards I've ever known.
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    • Another interpretation is that Majima was always crazy, and his narrow and straight attitude in this game is nothing but a façade he's forced to wear under Sagawa's leash as "lord of the night". It's not until the end that the restraints finally come off and he's allowed to be who he really is, with The Stinger showing what he was hiding all along.
    • There's also the idea that this game depicts Majima as he truly is, a morally conscious and intelligent man, and the Mad Dog side we've seen for years is a persona he created to deal with the harsh reality of the yakuza lifestyle in his own way. Although some contend it takes away from his crazy and comical antics in previous games as a retcon of sorts, it would also explain why his craziness was toned down starting from Yakuza 4, being a capably sane leader when he needs to be and batshit crazy when he's allowed to be. Even Dead Souls hinted he was much more than an unhinged lunatic, even if he didn't like admitting as such.
      • Members of the localization team support this, suggesting that while Majima's morality clashed with his desire to get back into the Tojo Clan, he didn't actually "go crazy"; he decided to flip a switch after everything he saw and went through, first seen when he and Kiryu finally meet in the epilogue. They also speculate that something after 1988 left him a changed man in 1995 (Yakuza 5 spoiler): In 1992, his wife had an abortion without telling him, after which he struck her and left her. When he tells Kiryu in his expanded first scene in Kiwami that doing the right thing is going to break him, it's projection; Majima is the one who's actually broken.
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    • Many believe that Majima is the true protagonist of the game while Kiryu is actually the Decoy Protagonist. Due to the game having extensive focus on Majima's Character Development and his transition from a relatively sane to the Mad Dog of Shimano we all know and love, Yakuza 0 is commonly seen more as Majima's origin story rather than Kiryu's.
  • Awesome Ego: Miracle Johnson, the Popstar Prince, is quite full of himself but very charismatic and definitely an amazing dancer. Though he rubs Kiryu the wrong way initially, Kiryu eventually warms up to him and even starts imitating him a bit.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • Early on in the game, Tachibana causes a blackout by waving his hand before power is restored a few seconds later. It's never really explained how he did this or why, and it's never brought up again.
      • While “how” is left to the imagination, “why” is pretty apparent - a demonstration of power to a potential ally.
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    • Mr. Libido can be spotted in the Odyssey when Majima is scouting out the place. Despite Majima's utter bewilderment, when Majima speaks with the owner, he brings up everything else he observed in the room except him.
  • Broken Base:
    • Although the game is widely held to be an improvement from Yakuza 5, some fans lament that the game has considerably lesser content than its predecessor, including less characters to play as, less cities to visit, and that some minigames such as hostess dating has been simplified or cut down. On the other hand, many fans welcome the change, who felt the increasing amount of content was becoming too big for its own good, resulting in the stories becoming more convoluted, and that reducing the number of playable characters allowed for a smaller but better story. Because of this, not only is the story for 0 considered among the best in the series, if not the best by both critics and fans, but the game also serves as an excellent entry point for newcomers. More on that below.
    • Perhaps due to better marketing and because the game serves as a prequel to the whole series, the game has also attracted several newcomers to the series who are finding themselves surprised on what they've missed out on. Although many fans welcome the fact that the series is getting the attention it deserves, others worry about the series being recognized by modern gamers who won't stop comparing it to other open world games, as well as critics that are taking issue with certain cultural differences such as how women are depicted in the game, the latter group receiving heavy criticism and ridicule from fans and non-fans alike. The fact that many jumped on board so late in the series also has longtime fans worried how they'll perceive Kiwami, given how similar it is to 0 in terms of gameplay and graphics, as well as Majima's completely different personality and smaller role that longtime fans are more accustomed to, and Yakuza 6, the story of which continues from the fifth game and is the final chapter of Kiryu's story.
    • Reception to some of the new minigames and sidequests have been mixed, such as Real Estate Royale, pocket racing, catfighting, the disco dancing minigame, and the difficulty of the classic Sega arcade games. Some fans found themselves enjoying them while others found them forgettable.
    • Some fans were disappointed that while the game explored how Majima became unhinged, in the main story he was never depicted as going "full-on" crazy on the same level as previous games. Others contend this was only the beginning and by the time the first game came along, the yakuza lifestyle had taken its toll on him. There's also a good portion of newcomers who weren't pleased to discover that Majima's depiction in 0 was unique to the game, and would become something of an unhinged maniac in later stories. Even older fans found it jarring watching his introduction scene in Kiwami following his portrayal in this game.
    • The game's soundtrack to a mild degree, as some fans feel it's the most modern in the series unbefitting a prequel taking place in The '80s. Detractors of Dubstep really didn't like that it was even present in the game's soundtrack, and a similar portion of fans felt Sega missed an opportunity by not making it all sound completely 80's-based to drive in the nostalgia. On the other hand, those who defend the soundtrack argue that there is plenty of music throughout the game that feels 80's inspired (Pocket Racing, Karaoke, and Disco for starters), and the modern influence doesn't take away from it or make the music any less awesome.
  • Crazy Awesome:
    • Homare Nishitani makes up for the absence of Majima's trademark craziness in this prequel. He's nuts, doesn't hesitate to tell Majima the thought of fighting him makes him hard, lands himself in jail and goes out telling Majima to live with no regrets just before he spends his final moments going to work on the guard who shot him up.
    • Daisaku Kuze is definitely no slouch in this department as well. His Determinator personality where he always comes back for more despite the many times Kiryu wipes his ass is already unbelievable, but his crowning moment is where he charges Kiryu on a motorcycle in the middle of a sewer with a pipe in hand.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Officer Kikuchi's substory is either this or Harsher in Hindsight. He suffers from nigh career-ending trauma after witnessing his partner getting stabbed to death, but after his cowardice nearly leads to Kiryu getting stabbed himself, he finally makes headway in getting over his trauma, and decides to get back into shape by volunteering his services on Kiryu's security detail...where he's likely to be stabbed repeatedly by knife-wielding goons.
  • Ear Worm:
    • Karaoke, par the course. The game also has a lot of vocal songs filled with Engrish, but it only adds to their charm, such as the disco songs and...
    • "As You Like", the vocal song you hear when you're dressing up your hostesses, which you'll be hearing it a lot if you're trying to complete the Cabaret Club Czar mini-game. Sure, the lyrics are cheesy, but it's catchy.
    • "I'm Gonna Make Her Mine", due to resemblance to Michael Jackson's "I'm Bad".
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • For the newcomers of the series who started with Yakuza 0, it seems Majima's character and story arc were better received than Kiryu's, even though he's the main character.
    • Kuze for being the game's resident Determinator, will always come to fight Kazuma even after losing fingers or being beaten senseless. That and his theme kicks ass.
    • Nugget, a chicken that Kiryu can acquire as a manager for his real estate agency is considered one of the things that led to the game developing word-of-mouth popularity in the West to the point that a survey specifically mentions it. He's even featured on the video thumbnail for the Accolades Trailer on Sega of America's Youtube channel.
    • Joy, Makoto's female doctor who is introduced in the climax. She has little screen time or character development but is memorable among players for being one of the most attractive women in the entire game. It seems that she's a prototype for Reina, who has the exact same hairstyle in Kiwami but flipped.
    • Makoto also became a fan favorite, as the poor woman had to endure all kinds of hell she didn't deserve, and many fans shipped her and Majima, hoping they would end up together despite her not appearing in other entries. The ending of their love story serves as one of the most emotional scenes and biggest Tear Jerkers in the whole series. Her arc gets something of an epilogue chapter in Kiwami 2, appearing in Majima's campaign, assuring him and the fans that she found happiness in her life following this game's events.
    • Yuki, despite her potential for growth as a hostess, serves as the head Butt-Monkey for the game. However, she's well-received by fans for being Adorkable and her surprising Snark-to-Snark Combat with Majima. She was also popular enough to appear in Kiwami 2 as the owner of a cabaret club that Kiryu helps her manage. She's still as much of a lovable dork as ever, and it becomes apparent later on that the girl hasn't aged at all in nearly twenty years. She's so popular that she's ranked 10th in a poll to be in Yakuza Online.
    • Homare Nishitani is also beloved for being an even bigger loose cannon than Majima ever was in the latter's later years. So much so that he's ranked in the Top 10 most requested characters to be in Yakuza Online.
  • Even Better Sequel: While Yakuza 5 was liked well enough, many features some longtime fans disliked like a somewhat awkward combat system (Haruka's segments are a major factor in this, though some like her gameplay) and a low framerate on PS3. 0 runs at 60FPS in 1080p, has what many fans claim to be the best combat system in the series (so much so that Yakuza Kiwami retains the stance system), along with having a story that both longtime fans and newcomers can enjoy that eschews most of the Narm of the PS3 games in favour of telling a dead-serious crime drama. The quality of the localization is also a step-up from previous titles. There are proper translated enemy names on the screen before the fights, which hasn't been done since Yakuza 2. Although some problems were present (Lao Gui having a different voice in his boss fight for instance), they were addressed with a patch.
  • Evil Is Cool: The Dojima family lieutenants are all very well-received amongst the fanbase for being intimidating and ruthless, yet at the same time have complex personalities and just being badass in general. The fact that they're all portrayed by three popular actors known for their roles in various yakuza films doesn't hurt either.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • Upgrading your abilities is a pain in the ass? You need a total of 50 CP for exchanging at the shrine to get Mr. Shakedown's Deep Pockets Upgrade, which is exclusive to Kiryu. After getting it, beat the substories "The Show Must Go On" and "Miracle on Tenkaichi Street" (9 & 12). Later in Chapter 5 when you're introduced to Money Island/Real Estate Royale, do the "Miracle in Maharaja" (23) substory and pick the black box to get the Encounter Finder, which allows you to see Mr. Shakedown on the map. Get into a fight with him and lose so he can take ALL your money you obtained. If you go into a building or fight some thugs, Mr. Shakedown will reappear in the different spot so you can fight him again, but this time FIGHT HIM. Having a lot of Staminan Royale and a knife is recommended since you can spam weapon Heat actions, and Quick-Change Clothes also does wonders in the fight. Defeat him and you'll earn a TON OF MONEY. Repeat and you can earn a ton more money so you can upgrade your abilities and spend your money on Money Island/Real Estate Royale. After meeting Mr. Moneybags as both characters, you can also send money to Majima to buy properties and accessories for the Platinum Hostesses in Nightlife Island/Cabaret Club Czar.
      • Mr. Shakedown is also weak against the Slime Gun and Zap Gun, and many prefer using them to take him down quickly. Like getting the Encounter Finder in Chapter 5, you can go to the Dragon & Tiger restaurant in Kamurocho, but you have to search for equipment as Majima in Sotenbori and unlock the Slime and Zap Guns before they become available for Kiryu. This also works well on LEGEND Difficulty since Heat Actions do less damage.
    • You need 74 more CP (Majima is 141 CP in total) to upgrade your Dragon of Dojima (Kiryu) or Mad Dog of Shimano (Majima) styles, allowing you to reset the upgrade tree once you buy all its upgrades and purchase more. Leveling up your abilities to 999 allows you to make Amon into a piece of cake EX boss fight!
    • Even without significant leveling, Majima's Mad Dog of Shimano style is incredibly broken due to the unlockable counter move, which is supposed to require a full bar of heat to perform, but due to Good Bad Bugs you can pull it off at any point. It takes off a ridiculous amount of health, meaning as long as you can get the timing right you can make quick work of even endgame bosses. The goofiest thing about it is you can get all the necessary requisites for it as early as Chapter 7 (out of 17).
    • Majima's slugger style in general is unarguably the best of the normal stances in the game for several reasons. Unlike most fighting styles it works equally great against crowds and against single targets whereas others have a specific advantage against one or the other (Rush is great for single targets but will get easily swarmed by crowds and Breaker will handle hordes of enemies easily but will be lacking when it comes to fighting single strong targets). Slugger's only weakness is that if its hard attacks hit a wall it bounces off and you lose heat but most fights are typically in more open areas so this weakness never really hinders you all that much. But the main reason it is so powerful is that it allows you to instantly do a heat attack on an enemy with no prerequisite. Using this on Mr. Shakedown with lots of heat items on hand turns the fights into jokes allowing Majima to get insane money in the early game and level up all his abilities immediately, making the rest of Majima's sections pretty easy due to the massive amount of attack and health you can have before even the first fight with Lee. The Bat nunchaku attack also pretty much breaks the AI. Enemies will just stand there as you pummel them to death with an easily spammed combo which penetrates guards and can hit multiple enemies if done well. You can just endlessly spam this ability against even bosses and win fights without so much as a scratch.
    • Majima's Breaker style has his low spinning kick, which makes him difficult to hit, trips up enemies and even hits them multiple times on the ground, making it great for shredding large groups of enemies. The only downside is that it takes a while to get to it in a combo.
    • The Golden Gun. It has unlimited ammo and is very powerful, so you can end most fights not long after they start just by shooting everyone.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: SEGA mentioned in press releases that Yakuza 0 sold well in Southeast Asia. The game also became a surprise breakout hit in the west, enough to become a "Playstation Hits" title, a first for the series.
  • Goddamn Bats: Any mook with a knife or a gun. Knife-wielding mooks can inflict a decent chunk of damage and stun you. Gun-wielding mooks can the same thing from a distance (though, thankfully, they have much less health). Fortunately, Kiryu and Majima can learn Heat Action Knife Counters.
  • Good Bad Bugs:
    • The English localization, due to being based on the Chinese localization, still had Sam Lee's voice acting for Lao Gui in the Chinese version in the files, causing his clips to get played during the boss battle against him.
    • In the Ultimate Battles 5 Boss Rush challenge, Kiryu's Final Boss can be kicked off the arena for a One-Hit KO. Obviously, the bosses are supposed to be immune to this Heat action.
    • The PC port added the ability, after editing a certain ini file, to save anywhere, a feature that was previously in Ishin!, returns in Kiwami and has stayed for future titles . Unlike Ishin and Kiwami however, this "save anywhere" ability extends to the middle of fights as well, and saving during and/or reloading a save made in the middle of a fight can have cause the game to behave in very unpredictable ways.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Kiryu and Nishiki's relationship becomes this and a Tear Jerker for longtime players who have played the first game, and really get to see how close the two were prior to that fateful night in 1995.
    • In the “Shining Example” substory, you get to meet a young Shinji Tanaka and Kiryu tells him he wants Shinji to outlive him. Fans will know Shinji never does.
    • "The Doll Girl" friendship substory, where Majima has to put up with a little girl who insists on calling him her "daddy". In the end, after he rescues her and her mom from some thugs, he comes to like the thought of being called "daddy". Which is more heartwarming than anything, unless you've played Yakuza 5 and learned that Majima actually would have been one had his wife (at the time) not terminated her pregnancy without telling him. Unfortunately for her detractors, this only made them hate her even more.
  • Ho Yay:
    • Quite a few commentary videos enjoy the idea that Kiryu and Nishiki are a little more than just Blood Brothers with everything they do together in the game. Perhaps foreseeing this reaction, one of the nicknames Kiryu can supposedly pick for his radio substory is "I Heart Nishiki", although he won't go through with it. Of course, longtime fans know their friendship would indeed turn into something else, and not for the better.
    • Not so much subtext as outright text, but Nishitani is very open about the fact that Majima gives him a boner. The strangest thing is Majima isn't even that put off by it, wishing he met Nishitani earlier so they could've been friends.
    • Oda is very devoted to his position as Tachibana's (almost literal) right-hand man, and seemed to enjoy getting beaten up by him a little too much back in the day. Towards the end of the game he admits to being in love with Tachibana upfront, to the point letting Oda know is his last wish, and in fact a lot of the evil that he commits throughout the game is motivated by a jealous desire to keep Tachibana to himself.
    • At the conclusion of Kokoa's substory her father is so impressed with Majima that he asks him to date her for real. When Majima refuses, he asks if he's willing to date him instead.
  • Iron Woobie: Goro Majima. After enduring a whole year in a hellhole of a cell, he constantly has to put up with Sagawa who constantly has him under surveillance. Then, he falls in love with Makoto whom he was tasked to kill, and instead devotes his life to protect her. He then discovers that he was made a pawn by Shimano, and helplessly watches as the girl he swore to protect his gunned down seconds before he could save her. And at the end of it all, he leaves Makoto so she could have her happy ending even though it's clear he's heartbroken by his own decision.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Keiji Shibusawa is one of the three lieutenants of the powerful Dojima Family, and runs its business operations. Son of a disgraced political aide forced to be The Scapegoat for his boss's crimes, Shibusawa became convinced the only way to succeed in life is to rise to the top. With family Captain Shintaro Kazama's recent arrest, whoever succeeds in locating the owner of the Empty Lot, Makoto Makimura, will become the new Captain. Framing Kazama's adopted son Kiryu for murder, Shibusawa uses Kiryu an Unwitting Pawn to edge his fellow lieutenants out of the competition. Shibusawa finally emerges from the shadows as the victor in the race to get the Empty Lot, and thus wins the vacant position of family Captain. When Dojima orders Makoto killed to keep silent the existence of the Empty Lot, Shibusawa secretly begins to act against his orders and kept her as a hostage instead, planning to use her as leverage against his boss. Thwarted by Kiryu in their climactic battle, Shibusawa urges Kiryu to finish him off, hoping to turn Kiryu into a ruthless man like him as a final act of spite against his rival Kazama. Ruthless and cunning, all that matters to Shibusawa is a title — to be feared and respected by all as the first Dragon of Dojima.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Kiryu saying "That's rad" whenever he learns a new fighting style. People have taken it as his default reaction to anything cool.
    • "Breakin' the law, breakin' the world", lyrics from "Judgement -Shinpan-". Usually said whenever someone is committing crimes.
    • Bacchus' greeting of "Hey, boy!". It's used as everyone's greeting.
    • A minor one, but the sheer number of times Kuze is battled despite losing each time has led many a player to remark "How many times do we have to teach you this lesson, old man!?"
  • Mood Whiplash: The side-quest involving the cult of Munan Chohept Onast is filled with this, since the cult's practices and rituals are Played for Laughs, but the brainwashing, extortion and sexual abuse its members are exposed to are decidedly not. The end result is a tone that will leave your neck looking like a corkscrew.
  • Moral Event Horizon: On top of scamming money and brainwashing, the revelation that the cult leader Munan Suzuki extorts sexual favors from his female disciples (many of whom are half his age, or even underage). The furious beatdown Majima deals him and subsequent Laser-Guided Karma the dirtbag is hit with as his starry-eyed followers decide to follow his teachings and pray for his health rather than taking him to the hospital is VERY satisfying indeed.
  • Moral Dissonance: In one of Kiryu's subplots, he encounters a foreign woman who is being coerced into the sex trade by a con-man who took her passport. Predictably, the man shows up and brags that he's done this to many foreign women and doesn't plan to stop. After Kiryu beats him senseless, he confesses emotionally that he actually fell in love with this specific victim, and was scared she would leave him. Kiryu makes him promise to marry the woman to provide her with citizenship, and everyone eats pizza together in what seems to be meant as a touching moment of friendship. It's much less heartwarming when you consider he's still preying on an untold number of other women and Kiryu doesn't seem to care.
  • Narm:
    • For those fluent in Chinese, Lao Gui's original Evil Sounds Deep voice loses a lot of its intimidation as his Japanese actor botches the pronunciation of his lines, and unlike the other Chinese characters, he doesn't speak Japanese or any other language to explain why his native language is so rusty.
    • When the game was initially released in the west, Lao Gui's boss fight used Sam Lee's voice clips (who voiced and portrayed him exclusively for the Chinese version), which doesn't fit the assassin's creepy face at all. It was later addressed with a patch.
    • The line "Holy shitballs..." has gained some notoriety, with a lot of players rolling their eyes at the translation team for killing the moment when Majima realizes who Makoto really is after Lee is shot by having him respond with a Totally Radical phrase.
    • During Chika's substory, Majima tells her the reasons he hired her, including how she was treated earlier, but ends it by saying he probably fell in love with her as a hostess. It sounds more tacky than it does romantic.
    • At the end of Cabaret Club Czar, Kotomi asks Majima if he thinks she can turn things around and live an honest life. He thinks she can, and tells her that a woman's strongest weapon is her smile, not her tears. Although the next shot does show her smiling, the camera is directly focused on her chest, which takes up most of the screen.
  • Narm Charm: Anything that comes out of Bacchus' mouth. "HEYY, BOYYY!" "OOOooh!"
  • Never Live It Down: Young Ryuji Goda's depiction in this game as a bontan pant thief has turned into Memetic Mutation levels of fans jokingly claiming that, above all else, whether Ryuji is fighting against Kiryu in Kiwami 2, or Raoh is fighting against Kenshiro (voiced by Ryuji's and Kiryu's voice actors respectively) in Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise, both blond-haired brutes are after one thing and one thing alone: their pants. It was finally lampshaded in-universe in Kiwami 2 by none other than Majima himself.
  • Polished Port: The PC version has support for 4K, can run up to 240 FPS, can be modded to restore the copyrighted music, replace the models, and upgrade the visuals, and is, overall, a great introduction for the series to PC gamers.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: The underground catfights are really a glorified game of Rock–Paper–Scissors heavily dependent on a Random Number God determining the damage inflicted and the overall outcome of each tournament. Even if you tie and you're prompted to mash the button, often the game lets you think you're winning before it comes back and dominates you no matter how well you're doing.
  • Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer:
    • Par for the course for the series, there is a plethora of ways to amuse oneself outside of the story missions, from playing Space Harrier at arcades to cutting the rug at the disco, from racing slot cars to managing side-businesses. Since you will practically always be flush with cash, you may find yourself playing these minigames for ages.
    • While the crime drama of the main story was well received, many newcomers found the mini-games and the substories to be the heart and soul of the game, showing not only the more human aspects of our main characters, but the more humorous and playful side of its designers.
  • Signature Scene:
    • Majima's introduction at the Grand, which depicts him in a much different light than what fans are used to. Calmly dismissing the taunts of an angry drunk and able to cool him down without resorting to violence, convincing the audience to forgive him while getting him to pay for their drinks, by the end, no one will be left questioning why he's known as "Lord of the Night".
    • Majima's "24-hour Cinderella" Karaoke Imagine Spot is often referenced as a prime example of how over-the-top the series' tone can become at times.
    • The introduction of Kuze's second fight, where he ambushes Kiryu in a sewer on a motorbike, pipe in hand, and crashes after knocking Kiryu down with his weapon. Along with his Badass Boast, this is is considered one of the most memorable scenes in the game, and probably the most badass introduction for a boss in the whole series.
    • The scene in the woods with Kiryu and a very conflicted Nishikiyama, largely due to Kazuhiko Nakaya's performance.
    • The ending scene with Majima and Makoto, which is widely considered one of the biggest tear jerkers in the entire series.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: "Heartbreak Mermaid", one of the karaoke songs available for both characters, is a clear parody of the real Japanese 80s song "Samishii Nettaigyo" ("Lonely Tropical Fish") by Wink.
  • That One Attack: Surprisingly, the most damaging attack a Mr. Shakedown has is them stomping on you when you're on the ground. This will shave off most of your life, and comes out fast. If you're not up by the time the Mr. Shakedown is next to you, prepare to be inches away from death. It's downright a One-Hit Kill on higher difficulty.
  • That One Boss:
    • The Media King, the last of the Five Billionaires in the Real Estate Royale storyline, is considerably much more difficult than the previous kings. He hits like a truck, will evade several of your attacks, and the ones he takes are usually a No-Sell and even has Super Armor to break through them easily, being accused of being a boss with Fake Difficulty. Unlike the others, you also have no objects around to make short work of him through Beast mode. Many players found themselves relying on rare weapons to beat him, but mastering the deeper aspects of the fighting mechanics (such as evading upon hitting) has allowed some to make short work of him.
    • Tsukiyama, the leader of the Five Stars in the Cabaret Club Czar storyline. Like the Media King, he's also accused of having Fake Difficulty as he'll evade most of your attacks, will counter with ones that do sizable damage, and has Super Armor to break through your offensive. It doesn't help that you fight in a narrow alleyway. He'll have the upper hand against your Thug and Breaker styles, but he's vulnerable against your Slugger style.
  • That One Sidequest:
    • One of the PlayStation trophies in this game is earned by winning ten catfight tournaments. Too bad the outcomes of said tournaments is determined by a Random Number God who is very wrathful.
    • When it comes time to take over the Media King's properties, you'll have to deal with each one being at least 900,000,000Y. Not to mention that investing in said properties is the slowest out of all the territories. This will result in the takeover becoming a very long grind as you wait for payouts which will likely only tally up to half of the price for a single building, unless you abuse several get rich quick strategies (Getting good at beating Mr Shakedown for one). Heaven help you if you lose the Disco contest against the Media King and get a 10% setback...
    • Want to earn a platinum trophy and 100% the game? Have fun playing mahjong as it expects you to play really well, which is challenging for most players who want to get it for the Achievement List. Not only that, you have to earn a total of 10,000,000 Yen which forces you to git gud on "Advanced / High Rate", as well for winning 10 times, win with Mangan 5 times for East (1) Half Flush ( 2) Dora ( 1), as well for Haneman (6,7 han), Riichi Ippatsu (first go around after riichi either by claiming a discard (ron) or drawing the wining tile (tsumo)), and Full Straight (Three Chows Straight in a single suit from 1 through 9) each!
    • The challenges from the Five Billionaires in Real Estate Royale can be rather difficult, in which you lose a share in the area. Many struggled against the Electronics King's challenge (get 5 million points in OutRun), to the point where many simply took the loss, and the Gambling King's challenge is, as one may expect, completely luck based. The disco battle against the Media King is also considered one of the most difficult challenges compared to the other kings, but considering how expensive the area is, most considered the cost for losing to be too great.
    • Many players struggled with the disco battle against Ogita, a difficult opponent in an already difficult mini-game. It doesn't help that there's not really a consistent strategy to beat him; sometimes he'll dance exceptionally well and other times he won't.
    • The final substory of the Pocket Racing Circuit, the race against Pocket Circuit Fighter himself. Most players had to rely on a guide to create a build that could stand up against him, and even then the car would likely fly off the track at the very first obstacle, which is also obscured by the camera angle and making it difficult to save.
    • The telephone club substories, not for their difficulty but the randomness of which date you get. To get all the substories you need to get all seven dates, including the bad ones. The problem is that the dates are not only completely randomized but completing them doesn't take them off the list meaning that you can and will get repeats multiple times. The only tip given is that each girl has a slightly different voice than the rest to differentiate them, but good luck telling the difference.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Some people feel this way about Homare Nishitani. He only gets a handful of actual onscreen appearances, despite it being heavily implied Majima based his "Mad Dog" persona off of him, so fans were hoping he would have more time interacting with Majima.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Related to the above, a major hook of this game is showing a sort of origin story for the Majima we know from the other games. To really highlight this, it starts off with a Majima who is almost the complete opposite from what we're familiar with. While an interesting initial premise, nothing truly comes of it, as there's no real transition from this new Majima to the original Majima. Similarly, Majima's obsession with Kiryu is teased as they almost cross paths on multiple occasions, but when they finally meet in the epilogue, Majima already acts obsessed with him for no reason.
    • In the main story, Kiryu only fights three different characters as bossesnote , while Majima fights at least sevennote . Although five of his boss fights are against Kuze and few fans have complaints about fighting him, many believe Kiryu's story could have benefited from more characters to fight. One missed opportunity was another fight against Jun Oda following the car chase, once the truth about his involvement is revealed.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy: A lot of the bronze hostesses are pretty underwhelming (not surprising, since you can just buy most of them for CP,) but Chizu is by far the worst. While her HP is astronomical for her level, all of her other stats are abysmal, ensuring that even in the Club Mars area you'll be struggling to pair her up with anyone, and exploiting Fever Time is the only way to level her up in any reasonable amount of time.
  • Too Cool to Live: Lee, Nishitani and Tachibana.
  • Uncanny Valley: Stephen Spining. When he gets wide-eyed with a huge grin on his face, it looks like Steven Spielberg was put under some kind of curse that turned him into a creepy ventriloquist dummy.
  • The Woobie:
    • Makoto, so much. Her entire backstory and the circumstances behind her blindness are bad enough as it is, but it only gets worse from there. For much of the game, everyone's out to get her for reasons she doesn't understand, and she's not able to do anything about it due to her condition. She even loses Lee, the man who saved her and protected her, and her own brother falls victim to the Dojima family's torture. She's also shot by Lao Gui when she confronts Dojima, and falls into a coma in critical condition near the end. It's no wonder that Majima is willing to sacrifice almost everything and burn every bridge out there just to protect her. Although their story ends on a bittersweet note, Kiwami 2 reveals she's discovered happiness since.
    • Tachibana gets this as well, when it's revealed that one of his arms is prosthetic and resulted in severe kidney damage and he's basically dying everyday. But the waterworks come into play when it's revealed Makoto is his sister, and their childhood of having to endure prejudice by both Chinese and Japanese is seriously heartbreaking. Despite initially wanting to keep her distant and safe, he tearfully reveals how badly he wants to see her again. He's later captured by Lao Gui and subjected to torture by Kuze's family, and while he's rescued by Kiryu and Nishiki, he dies before they're reunited.
    • Bacchus becomes one once you find out his backstory. One of his boxing proteges beat one of the mafia's star boxers in the ring, so as payback they bought said protege right out from under him, burnt down his gym, and then went on to kill a second protege of his (hence his concern about Kiryu getting a knife in the ribs.) Even his debt to the mafia isn't his own fault, as it was just a normal loan that Bacchus took out after the gym burnt down that the mafia swooped in and bought so they could keep him under their thumb. Then it's revealed that the reason they don't just outright kill him is because they realized that his skills as a talent scout are too valuable, so instead they stalk him wherever he goes and steal away any fighters he takes interest in.
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