Recently Sega brought over most of their critically acclaimed Yakuza series to the Xbox brand of consoles. After being ported, the games became part of Xbox Game Pass, a service that allows players to download any game on the service for a small monthly fee. I played through these games in chronological order from 0-4 with 5 being in progress, and I will share my thoughts on each game here..
This game was a blast all the way through. It takes place in the economic bubble period in the 80s that ended with the New York Stock Market crash of ’87. The game takes full advantage of this and uses money as a means to level up your character. The story is one of the best in the series. It’s filled with suspense and action, making the player question if things are going to be OK for the two protagonists. The game is centered around a young Kazuma Kiryu trying to clear his name after being framed for murder. The game also has some of the best substories in the series that really take the wackiness up to 11. The combat is also some of the strongest in the series with the player being able to take control of fan-favorite character Goro Majima.
Yakuza Kiwami 1
Kiwami is a remake of the first game in the series and improves on many of the elements from the original game. You once again play as Kazuma Kiryu, who just got out of prison after taking the fall for a murder he didn’t commit. Throughout the game he has to deal with the consequences of his decision to take the fall, as he watches the life he once knew crumble before him with some hope of starting a new life. The game is very similar to 0 gameplay-wise with some substory lines continuing from that game. This was another incredibly strong entry in the series with my only criticism being that is it too easy.
Yakuza Kiwami 2
Kiwami 2 has a worse UI than the previous 2 games. The controller also tends to vibrate too much when fighting. That being said it may be the strongest story in the franchise, and it utilizes the Dragon engine which improves combat and makes the game look like a movie.
This one is a bit of a black sheep. The combat is perhaps the worst in the series with enemies blocking too much. The substories are also weak, and half the game is an orphanage simulator. But despite all this, I love the game all the same.
Yakuza 4 has some of the best characters in the series. Tanimura was my favorite. The story was super cheesy with a lot of cop-outs, pun intended. The map was a little confusing this time around, especially moving through the sewers. Even with these downsides, I love the variety in this game. Anytime you get bored there’s always something else you can do.