The Yakuza series is part of a Japanese organized crime drama RPG and part-life slice about helping kids win claw games in arcade games, teaching novice abusers self-confidence, and writing the perfect postcard for a radio show. In Yakuza 0, it’s also about a side hustle as a hostess club manager.
If it’s possible to see my 65 hours of playtime debacle, you’d think Goro Mashima has completely given up on his criminal life to become a full-time stylist, dating coach, and bartender because I love Yakuza 0’s Mistress so much Club management game.
want a manager
After a few hours of farce and distraction in Kamurocho in the ’80s, Yakuza 0 co-star Majima is pulled from his main daytime gig as manager of a cabaret venue running a novelty cabaret club. It’s a smaller joint, but still a hostess club where men pay cover to chat and buy drinks for pretty young women. Trouble is, the nominally top hostess of the Sunshine Club is not very good at being accosted, and the club itself needs a lot of TLC.
I didn’t expect to spend a lot of time there. I didn’t like the Real Estate Royale mini-game on Kiryu’s side and thought the club management would be missed as well. Not a single thing in the Cabaret Club Czar game is worth skipping.
This is part of a dress up game where you can choose clothes, hairstyles and jewelry for your hostess, all of which affect their stats: beautiful, sexy, cute and funny. You know, classic RPG stuff. But behind the earrings and heels is the real fun real-time management game.
Increasing food and beverage sales is the name of the game, and my waitress roster earns as it moves from customers. It’s my duty to pair waitresses with clients who can impress them based on their skills – talking, partying, love and “skill” (which is obviously their wit and wit).
Things get no less busy on the club floor each night. Clients show up regularly for short or long term meetings at one of my six booths and need a hostess who matches their preferred skills and appearance. The hostess would lose energy, call in sick if I was overworked, and would often call me to their table to deliver menus, glasses or ashtrays, and I had to memorize each one by their gestures.
Each hostess can only serve one guest at a time, and I found myself panicking to swap out a lady from a shallow-pocketed customer who would serve her a drink order. Other times, I’ve had to risk a woman who doesn’t like her client and want her to hang around until the other woman is done with her current date.
It’s just the mini-game itself. Throughout the course of the story, Mashima and his ladies outshine their rivals, recruit top mistresses from rival clubs, and grow as people.
As Club Sunshine’s manager, Majima also meets the women he hires and takes them on mock dating-like dates to help them sharpen their skills for dealing with real clients. They’re all adorable, each with their own personal story that unfolds over several dates: Hibiki, who becomes her brother’s guardian, low-key lonely talkative, upbeat athletic girls Saki, Chika, Mana, and Sunshine’s zero-to-heroes Mistress Yuki.
All the ladies at Sunshine are more than just their archetypes, and making conversation practice dating is no joke. More than once, I’ll learn something about the hostess on one date and recall it hours later the next time I’m asked. I’m always trying desperately to fill those pink heart strips, but, like in life, when my dialogue choices come out of Majima’s mouth, I can’t always properly understand what they want or struggle with what. A bit different from what I had in mind. I try to do the right thing for each of them, support them like a friend, and the reward is finding a lovely family of young women in the big city.
The Yakuza series often dabble in hostess clubs and dating, but Yakuza 0’s full management and dating sim is more than a mini-game. If Ryu Ga Gotoku ever came out on its own, I’d probably only need 65 hours too.