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Yakuza 6 guide: Stats and skills to buy

What they are and the ones you want

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In Yakuza 6, you earn experience points (EXP) that unlock improved stats and skills. Experience points come in five categories, and each of the stats you unlock draws from a combination of those five flavors — strength, agility, spirit, technique and charm. Below, we’ll talk about the kinds of experience and how to earn it, as well as the stats and skills you’ll spend them on.

Experience points (EXP)

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Any task you complete will earn you experience points in some combination of five categories (strength, agility, spirit, technique and charm). Earned EXP appears in the upper right corner of the screen, or you can check it in the stats menu on your phone.

Earning EXP

Just about everything you do in Yakuza 6 will earn you EXP. (And sometimes even just walking around will earn you points when you get awards.) You’ll get EXP from completing story and substory missions, beating up random ruffians, completing Troublr tasks, eating food and rewards.

Stats and skills

Once you earn EXP, it’s time to spend it. When you open up the stats menu on your phone, you’ll have four categories of stats and skills to unlock.

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  • Stats. These are your base stats. You can boost your health (hit points), attack (punching), defense (taking punches), evasion (dodging punches) and heat gauge (super-charged punches). Spend your points here to just generally make Kiryu more prepared. Certain battle skills and heat actions have a stat prerequisite.
  • Battle skills. These are basically fancy fighting techniques. Battle skills include everything from leaping attacks to splash damage to specialized blocks. Most of these skills require a hefty number of technique EXP to unlock.
  • Heat actions. As Kiryu fights, he fills up a special gauge that lets him temporarily power up his attacks — the heat gauge. Unlocking these heat actions expands available attacks and moves during these super-charged moments.
  • Other skills. Other skills is the miscellaneous and basics category. Here you can unlock skills that increase how fast you earn EXP in each category, how much EXP you get from meals and how fast you digest them, increase your alcohol tolerance or make making friends at the bar easier.

Stats and skills to buy

You’ll end up with a lot of experience points even without actively seeking them out — enough that you’ll be able to unlock the vast majority of stats and skills by the end of Yakuza 6. That means you won’t be unlocking or upgrading any one aspect at the expense of another. Choosing what to upgrade is more a question of priority than a zero-sum choice. These three are our top suggestions:

  • Start off with your basic stats. You’re going to be using them constantly, and you’ll need to level them up a bit to unlock some of the battle skills. Try to keep them relatively even, but health, strength and agility are the skills that you’ll use the most.
  • Boost EXP Gain (at the top of the other skills list). This just means you’ll earn points faster to unlock even more skills. We suggest prioritizing experience categories that are lagging behind the others to keep Kiryu well-rounded. These skills get expensive as you get to the higher levels, though, so you don’t have to max them out immediately.
  • Always improve fighting abilities with battle skills. After increasing the strength base stat, this is the way to make Kiryu better at fighting. Every skill in this category is useful, so just buy any of them that you can every chance you get.
  • Heat actions are very flashy, powerful and entertaining moves. But you can only use them when you activate Kiryu’s extreme heat mode. While the gauge fills relatively quickly and you’ll use it often, it also drains quickly and the opportunities to actually use it are uncommon. While useful, heat actions shouldn’t be your highest priority when unlocking skills.

Everything else is optional. The cabaret club, making friends at bars and the clan battles are optional activities. You tend to have to put in work to find them, and they take up a lot of your time. Unless you’re planning on playing these optional mini-games, you shouldn’t be spending points on the associated skills — boost clan member growth, ladies’ man and the art of conversation at the bottom of the other skills list. Each of these skills have several levels, so avoiding them until you’re actually doing those activities — if you ever do — will free up a lot of points for other things.