Yakuza, also known as Ryu ga Gotoku, is a series created by Toshihiro Nagoshi and SEGA, beginning in 2005 with Yakuza, and ending series protagonist Kazuma Kiryu's journey with Yakuza 6 in 2016. Yakuza: Like a Dragon (formerly Shin Ryu ga Gotoku) is set to star a new series protagonist, Ichiban Kasuga, who debuted in Ryu ga Gotoku Online. Several spin-offs to the series include Ryu ga Gotoku Ishin! and Ryu ga Gotoku Kenzan!, historical adventures which use the characters of the Yakuza series in place of historical figures, and Yakuza: Dead Souls an apocalyptic 3rd-person zombie shooter.
The series features primarily a "beat 'em up" style of gameplay, with multiple new locations in each game to explore, though the events of the series generally take place in Kamurocho, a fictional city in Tokyo's Red Light District. Though Kiryu is the primary main character, beginning with Yakuza 4, more playable protagonists are introduced, including Shun Akiyama (Yakuza 4, 5, Dead Souls), Taiga Saejima (Yakuza 4 & 5), Masayoshi Tanimura (Yakuza 4), Goro Majima (Yakuza 0, Dead Souls), Ryuji Goda (Yakuza: Dead Souls), and Tatsuo Shinada (Yakuza 5). Haruka Sawamura is playable in Yakuza 5, though she is the only protagonist that does not physically engage in combat.
Q: Which order should I play the games?
- A: The generally accepted answer is chronologically. Ideally, starting with the prequel, Yakuza 0 (PS4, PC), then moving on to either Yakuza 1 (PS2) or Yakuza Kiwami 1 (PS4, PC), Yakuza 2 (PS2) or Yakuza Kiwami 2 (PS4, PC), Yakuza 3 (PS3, PS4), Yakuza 4 (PS3), Yakuza 5 (PS3), then finally Yakuza 6 (PS4).
- For the spin-offs, Yakuza: Dead Souls is optional, but is best played between 4 and 5, and both Ryū ga Gotoku Kenzan! and Ryū ga Gotoku Ishin! are Japan-exclusive, and are best played after finishing the main series games. The three are considered non-canon, and can (but shouldn't!) be skipped without any detriment to the experience of the overall story.
Q: Do I have to play any of the Yakuza games before playing Judgment?
- A: Nope! Judgment has very little to do with the Yakuza series, and no knowledge of the main series is required in order to enjoy the game. It's absolutely fine to start with.
Q: What is the difference between the Kiwami remakes and the original games?
- A: The Kiwami remakes include updated graphics, corrected localization (with the removal of the English dub for the first game and improved Japanese voice acting), and added content, such as more mini-games and an expanded main story. Yakuza Kiwami sees the inclusion of Majima Everywhere, while Yakuza Kiwami 2 has an entire added secondary story mode called Majima Saga, both of which give fan-favourite Goro Majima more importance in the first two entries to the series.
Q: What is the difference between The Yakuza Remastered Collection and the original PS3 games? (Yakuza 3, Yakuza 4, Yakuza 5)
- A: The Yakuza Remastered Collection features all new localizations of the Playstation 3 games (corrected previous inaccuracies, overly literal translation among other things), restores content cut from the original release, and all three games now run in 1080p, 60fps.
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