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Yakuza 6 guide: Fighting

It’s more than just punching

Jeffrey Parkin (he/him) has been writing video game guides for Polygon for almost seven years. He has learned to love just about every genre of game that exists.

Yakuza 6’s Kiryu can solve nearly any problem with punching, and you’ll be doing it a lot. You’ll punch your way through the main story, the sub-story missions, most trouble missions and even just random encounters on the street. That means you need to get good at it.

Below we’ll talk about how to make Kiryu even better at fighting and give you our tips for even better punching.

Stats and skills


You’ll earn experience points (EXP) for doing just about anything in Yakuza 6. You’ll get them for everything from completing missions to eating food to walking far enough. The points you get are spread across five categories — strength, agility, spirit, technique and charm. These points unlock stat bonuses and additional skills for Kiryu.

You’ll be able to unlock stats and skills from four different groups — basic stats, battle skills, heat actions and other skills. Stats are, well, your stats — things like health and defense. Battle skills unlock additional moves and abilities to use during fights. Heat actions are similar to battle skills, but you use them during extreme heat mode. Generally, other skills won’t have a lot of impact on your fighting ability, but there are a few that boost the EXP you receive which will help you upgrade your fighting abilities faster.

There are a lot of options to spend those EXP points on when you open up the stats menu on your Yakuza 6 phone. The four most important things to focus on (especially for fighting) are:

  • Start off with your basic stats. You’re going to be using them constantly, and you’ll need to level them up some to even be able 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 and important, heat actions shouldn’t be your highest priority when unlocking skills.

Fighting and combat tips

There are a lot of ways to distract yourself in Yakuza 6, but no matter what you do, you’re going to end up fighting someone. Even something as simple as walking down the street can become a fight for your life. You’ll get jumped by roving bands of ruffians pretty much constantly and even substories about time traveling teenagers (we’re not making this up) will end in a fist fight. You have to get good at fighting, and we’re here to help.

  • Finish fights quickly. There’s no reward in drawing out any fight, so don’t hold back.
  • Don’t forget about your heat gauge. It’s tempting to save it for a more important fight, but every fight is important, so don’t. It recharges pretty quickly, so just think of it as a way to deal some extra damage and finish fights quicker.
  • Combos, combos, combos. Square + Triangle + Triangle is going to become a reflex for you. This is Kiryu’s default combo, and it’s the most useful. It wears down enemies, can break through their defense (eventually) and deals decent damage. You’ll get an email from the Battle Master early on that describes the rest of the combos available (spoiler: it’s just hitting Square one, two, three or four times followed by Triangle + Triangle).
  • Use everything around you. Kiryu can pick up signs, chairs, potted plants, traffic cones and even bicycles to use in a fight. Do it. Do it often. Seek them out if you have to. Every improvised weapon you use in Yakuza 6 makes the fight that much shorter.
  • You’re usually outnumbered. While Kiryu is a one-man punch-dealing machine, he’s still going to be outnumbered in nearly every fight, and it’s important to remember that. Don’t wander into the middle of a crowd of bad guys assuming you can just punch your way out — they punch back.
  • Reduce their numbers. Since you’re usually outnumbered, it’s always in your best interest to improve the odds. Watch for combos and special attacks that will knock out opponents — like when you’re near a wall or a car hood — and use anything you can as a weapon.
  • Focus on the bad guys with weapons first. Sometimes, the bad guys bring a sword or even a gun to a punching fight. These guys will deal a lot of damage if you ignore them, so they should be your first targets. And they have the added bonus of dropping their weapon when you take them out, so you can use it against their friends.
  • Splash damage. There’s a battle skill that adds damage to nearby enemies when you attack someone. Unlock it and use it. Another great way to deal damage to multiple enemies at once is to grab someone and toss them into his buddies.

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