You’ve probably heard of critic reviews and players in social media going head over heels on Yakuza and thought “What’s so special with the game and why are people crazy over it?” With a blend of deep enriching stories, Japanese telenovela, and obscure humor, you have yourself a recipe for a masterpiece.
Not a lot of games can deliver what Yakuza does and that’s what makes it so special. While it may have been eight games since its first debut in 2005 on the PS2, it’s still one of the biggest sleeper hits that more video game fans should recognize.
The thing is, the Yakuza series isn’t just a game; it’s a damn experience.
SUNAO NI I LOVE YOU!
Yakuza can be summarized in 5 words: Over the top Japanese drama. From a different standpoint, Yakuza may look like another generically obscure J-RPG in a modern and realistic setting. However, once you start playing, you suddenly have this new perspective towards it. The lights, the glitz, and glamor (along with the filth) of Japan’s metro are captured perfectly in the game.
The stories were one thing, but what set the game truly in motion are the side missions. And, boy oh boy, Yakuza has the best side missions ever made in a video game. It sounds like an exaggeration, but it really isn’t.
It’s not a game about saving Japan or knowing your true self but rather what it is like being part of the Japanese underworld.
A Cultural Experience
The game is all about modern Japanese culture and all the ridiculousness of their local comedy. With this game, you don’t have to go to Japan to experience its culture. From restaurant menus, to the way local businesses leverage their products, even Japanese taxes and cabaret clubs, the game would truly make you feel as if you are a resident.
Whether it was the beginning years of Kazuma Kiryu and Majima Goro to the peak of their careers in modern times, Yakuza blew me away with its wide presentation of the norms in the country. If you prefer to sing sentimental karaoke with your buddies singing your heart out to Bakamitai or disco with the ladies as Friday Night plays, there’s just tons of stuff to do in Kamurocho and beyond.
Comedy & Tragedy at Their Finest
Quite frankly, no other game made me wheeze and laugh out a lot like Yakuza. At the same time, it’s also the game that truly made my eyes bawl from scarring emotions. The narratives and the characters are executed perfectly that you just can’t help but know what will happen to them next.
A True Testament to Triple-A Gaming
Aside from Sonic games and Virtua Fighter, SEGA doesn’t have a lot of critically-acclaimed games in its portfolio. That was until Yakuza came out. It may be quite clunky at times and the pace may be out of place but still, it’s what makes other high-budget games feel lackluster.
The map may not be as large as Los Santos nor is it as lush as Teyvat, but its small districts, NPCs, and puddles you step on (yes, they do create splishy splashies which are signs of a high-quality game) make Kamurocho feel more alive than any other open-ended world from other games.
As for combat, you can feel the brutality everytime Kiryu lands a punch or whenever Majima bludgeons a poor guy with his bat. It can get overly violent at times but remember, Kiryu and Majima would never kill anybody.
So, if you never played Yakuza ever, you should. If you see it available on Steam with a discount, go get it with no hesitation. If it is available on the PS Store, you just have to buy it. No other game does it better than this series.