The Yakuza brand (or rather currently “Like a Dragon”) is one of the most interesting phenomena in the gaming world. For many years, Sega has been providing us with great adventures set in Japan that are worth exploring. Here are the 10 most important reasons to delve into the stories of Kazuma Kiryu, Ichiban Kasuga and Takayuki Yagami.
Yakuza is a brand worth getting to know – especially since its great sequel is already on the horizon in the form of Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, which we will play in 2024. The presence of these productions in Xbox Game Pass (a new product has recently been added to the offer in the form of Like and Dragon: Ishin! and Like a Dragon Gaiden!) only encourages you to play.
Yakuza may, at first glance, seem like a series for fans of fighting games and action games, but this is not a very good approach to the topic. Marca has always been closer to an adventure game or even an RPG than to an average brawler. If you like extensive dialogues, side missions, and a strong plot, you’ve come to the right place.
A fantastic mix of melodrama and comedy
Pathetic and sentimental constantly collide in the Yakuza series with crazy themes and crazy humor. Sometimes it all teeters on the verge of total kitsch and exaggeration, but the Ryu Ga Gotoku team almost always manages to emerge unscathed from such a breakneck fusion.
Strong crime plots in Judgment and Lost Judgment
When discussing the Yakzuza series, we must not forget about both installments of the Judgment series. Takayuki’s adventure is more focused on criminal, investigative themes (after all, the main character is a private detective), so people interested in such atmosphere will find many interesting threads here.
Colorful and charismatic characters
Throughout the Yakuza universe, there is no shortage of really interesting characters – often with a lot of character flaws that make them extremely credible characters. Sometimes these are really comical people who make you cry with their statements, but the series does not shy away from difficult topics and threads. Here you can meet not only rich mafiosi, but also derailed, addicted and homeless people who struggle with their problems as best they can. It’s hard to find such interesting personalities in other games!
Great retro Sega games available in arcades
The next installments of the Yakuza and Judgment mafia series offer access to Sega classics in virtual arcades, such as OutRun, Alex Kidd in Miracle World, Fighting Vipers, Space Harrier, Puyo Puyo and Virtua Fighter 5. This is a perfect opportunity for younger players to get acquainted with with these gaming classics.
Refreshed graphics in older versions
Sega took care to refresh the older Yakuza installments, thanks to which we can now play Yakuza, Yakuza 2, Yakuza 3, Yakuza 4 and Yakuza 5 in a quality that matches the parameters of PS4 and XOne. Thanks to this, even the oldest Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio games remain visually attractive today.
Lots of crazy mini-games
Sega doesn’t stop at adding emulated arcade hits to its games. The company also provides very diverse mini-games in each version of the brand, such as racing with remote-controlled cars, bowling, baseball challenges, karaoke songs, collecting a pile of aluminum cans with a cart, throwing darts at a dartboard or flirting with beautiful women.
Exploring modern Japan
Few game creators have the courage to set the action of their works in the modern world. Developers prefer to avoid political topics or even the problem of generating crowds on city streets. However, the authors of the Yakuza brand have the courage to go in this direction. And kudos to them for that, because it’s hard to find another IP so deeply rooted in current events. To this element, Sega adds extremely interesting threads related to discovering Japan. Although most of the action in the Yakuza series takes place in the fictional Kamurocho, it is easily recognizable as the famous Kabukicho district of Tokyo. In turn, in Like a Dragon we go to Yokohama.
Surprisingly good JRPG themes in Like a Dragon
The Yakuza brand used to offer action game-style fights. Since the release of Yakuza: Like a Dragon, developers have switched to turn-based battles, as in classic jRPGs. It turned out surprisingly well for the Ryu Ga Gotoku studio employees, considering the first practice in roleplaying. Like a Dragon’s combat mechanics are fast and satisfying. The game won’t be boring for dozens of hours, which is a great sign for the upcoming game, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, in which we will once again fight in an RPG style.
Great music and amazing Japanese dubbing
Yakuza/Like a Dragon is a brand that draws heavily on extremely talented voice actors living in Japan. The dubbing in this series is of the highest standard (suffice it to say that it features such celebrities as Takeshi Kitano). And this is not the end of the audio fun, because the music in the Sega series is equally strong – not only during karaoke sessions.
A brand focused on the story, not the fights
Yakuza/Like a Dragon is a series focused on presenting an interesting plot, and not necessarily on arcade elements or combat, which is only an addition to a fascinating story. Therefore, the Sega brand is a treat for fans of adventure games or RPGs who are looking for something more than just a punchline. Yakuza is a story about the Japanese mafia, but presented with heart, with soul – with many touching, gripping motifs. If you are looking for a series with lots of dialogues and film motifs, you’ve come to the right place.
By the way, I recommend checking it out ranking of the best installments in the Yakuza series.