Ryū ga Gotoku 6 Screenshot - Onomichi Street.

Let’s Visit Onomichi With Ryū ga Gotoku 6!


Had Onomichi (尾道) ever been featured in a video game? If not, that’s yet another reason to check out its appearance in Ryū ga Gotoku 6.


 

As I’ve mentioned, like … everywhere, Sega’s Ryū ga Gotoku series is famous for its realistic and meticulous virtual renderings of Japanese cities. It is perhaps because of this that for the series’ epilogue, they decided to attempt something markedly different for the secondary location. Rather than showcase Osaka again, or Fukuoka or Nagoya or Sapporo. Rather than “do” yet another nightlife district, Sega picked the idyllic sea town of Onomichi as the alternate play site. How did they fare? Is Sega as competent with countryside ambience as they are with neon-lit faux paradises? Let’s take a look!

The Story

I could go on forever here, given there were five episodes and one prequel before R6. But to keep the story short, Ryū ga Gotoku 6 features veteran yakuza Kiryu Kazuma at the sunset of his (illustrious) career. While still venerated by both the authorities and the underworld, he’s mostly considered a has-been by everyone. Respected, but nonetheless also disregarded.

Kiryu himself is happy to keep it this way. Players familiar with the series would know he has long dreamed of leaving the underworld. Unfortunately, as always, things do not go as Kiryu hopes. Three years after being imprisoned for the events of episode 5, Kiryu returns to Okinawa to discover Haruka has gone missing. Worse, he then suffers the worst shock any father or foster father could possibly have. Haruka has given birth to a boy but no one has a clue as to who the father is. It is for the purpose of unearthing the identity of the irresponsible rascal that Kiryu heads to the seaside town of Onomichi. There, Kiryu once again becomes embroiled in the conflicts of the underworld. This time, there’s possibly no survivable end for him too.

How Great is Ryū ga Gotoku 6 for Video Game Tourists?

References

Before all else, real-life references. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Onomichi is a seaside temple town in Hiroshima Prefecture. Not exactly a backwater, it enjoys Shinkansen service, it is nonetheless largely overlooked by foreign tourists no thanks to neighbouring Hiroshima City and Miyajima Island. That is, except for those doing the Shimanami Kaido.

The situation could be different within Japan; I confess I’m not completely sure here. In 2016, Onomichi was featured as an “escape-to” destination of sorts in the rom-com A Girl and Three Sweethearts. Any Japanese guide on the Chugoku region would have a major section on the town too. On this, my guess is that Onomichi is one of those “undiscovered” Japanese towns that have yet to hit international radars big time. My other guess is that given its splendid location and many historical temples, it would soon be a regular feature on many top-10 travel lists.

Onomichi (尾道) Seafront.
The seafront. This picture roughly indicates the play area with Ryū ga Gotoku 6. Source.
Senkoji Ropeway, Onomichi
Senkoji Ropeway and overview of the town. Source.
Covered shopping street, Onomichi.
Onomichi covered Shopping Street. Source.
Senkoji terrace.
Senkoji terrace. Source.

All screenshots belong to Sega.


 

The Ambience

I don’t know about you, but small towns seldom impress me immediately. Almost always, their charm takes a while to hit. This usually happens not while I’m working my way through their attractions, but when I’m strolling through their streets.

Such was the case with Sega’s Onomichi. The whole of it felt sleepy, especially in comparison to dazzling Kamurocho. Once I worked my way through the game chapters, though, I started to appreciate the sedated alleyways and quiet slopes. (They felt peaceful, to risk a cliché) As for authenticity, Sega designed its Onomichi very much the same way as it did for Kamurocho i.e. Kabukicho. There are certain areas which are remarkably similar to their real-life counterparts. On the other hand, the entire area is condensed to facilitate gameplay. A quick comparison with Google Maps immediately reveals this.

Ryū ga Gotoku 6 Screenshot - Seafront.
The seafront.
Ryū ga Gotoku 6 Screenshot - Ferry Pier
The ferry pier. May I invite you to compare this screenshot with what’s on Google Maps.
Ryū ga Gotoku 6 Screenshot - Temple Slope
Temple slope. Onomichi is renowned within Japan as a town with many temples, and slopes. If you’re visiting in real-life and your legs aren’t that great, take note! (No problem if you’re just doing it virtually, like me)
Ryū ga Gotoku 6 Screenshot - Restaurant and alley.
An alley beside a restaurant you can dine in within the game. (I love this screenshot for it is so photorealistic)

Onomichi Landmarks

Onomichi’s main gift to the travel industry are its many hillside temples, which in real-life could be visited on an extended temple walk. Within the game, only one is featured, though. The large Senkoji Complex.

I would have personally prefer more temples in the game. But when it comes to what was done for Senkoji, I can only say it’s superb. This is truly one area of Ryū ga Gotoku 6 that was conceptualised with virtual tourism in mind. Not only are there no annoying enemy encounters, there are several scenic spots perfect for experimentation with the in-game selfie function. These areas even come with random pedestrians and moving cable cars to complete that touristy feel.

Ryū ga Gotoku 6 Screenshot - Senkoji Temple.
That awesome Senkoji Temple terrace.
Ryū ga Gotoku 6 Screenshot - Senkoji Ropeway.
Preparing for this screenshot, I discovered I am as awful with selfies in games as with real-life!
Ryū ga Gotoku 6 Screenshot - Senkoji Steps
Another view of Senkoji Temple.
Ryū ga Gotoku 6 Screenshot - Onomichi Shrine
A shrine on the lower slopes. I don’t remember this being named in the game, but my guess is that it’s Jokoji.




That Small Japanese Town Feel

As expected, Sega included various minigames and side quests within Onomichi to sustain open-world gaming feel. All of these are also appropriately designed to suit a small town. In other words, no sexy things or big city adventures here.

Which, then, is the main problem I have with this virtual version of Onomichi.

I’m a city guy. And so I love bright lights and tall buildings and loud things. The minigames Sega threw into its Onomichi are just too … serene for me? Apart from the fishing adventure, I found the others much too slow moving. Being utterly clueless about baseball, I was also completely baffled by the complex baseball manager feature. You might find the experience different, though, if you prefer to take things slow, or happen to be a huge baseball fan. What I’m saying is, Sega’s Onomichi is one of those picturesque small towns I wouldn’t mind spending an actual day sightseeing in. But I certainly wouldn’t be staying the night.

Ryū ga Gotoku 6 Screenshot - Onomichi Shopping Street
Shopping street. Shops are mostly closed!
Ryū ga Gotoku 6 Screenshot - Onomichi
It’s not a major part of the game. But Ryū ga Gotoku 6 contains plenty of hidden alcoves for you to explore.
Ryū ga Gotoku 6 Screenshot - Onomichi Nights
Serene Nights.
Ryū ga Gotoku 6 Screenshot - Ono Michio
Who is this?! Why is there a ramen bowl on his head?!

More References

Shimanami Kaido: Kurushima-Kaikyō Bridge
The Shimanami Kaido. You can’t venture onto this in Ryū ga Gotoku 6, but it does appear in the background.
Onomichi style ramen.
Onomichi style ramen. Source.
Senkoji Terrace.
Senkoji Terrace. Source.

 


Have a vacation in Onomichi with Ryū ga Gotoku 6! today!
Here’s another way to enjoy, I mean, learn from this gangland series.

Traveling Kyoto with Ryū ga Gotoku Ishin!

Check out my post on Ryū ga Gotoku Ishin! too!


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About Scribbling Geek

The geek divides his free time between video games, movies, anime, and attempting to write decent short stories. Oh, and trying not to sprain his fingers from playing demisemiquavers on his Electone.

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