Yakuza series


We’ve been talking about the Yakuza games a lot on our streams lately, so hopefully it hasn’t gotten too annoying. But it really is a great series that’s full of fun stuff to do, fun battle systems, and characters + quests full of heart.

The Yakuza series used to be described as the Japanese GTA, but that’s like comparing Super Mario Bros. to Duck Hunt. Sure, sometimes you can shoot things in both games, but that’s not what SMB is about at all!

Right now Poe and I have only played these ones, which I’ve ranked in terms of how much I like them (from best to not best):

  1. Yakuza 0 - takes place in the 80s and is a wonderful mix of a compelling story, cool characters, Japanese 80s nostalgia (and it’s a good way to learn about Japan in the 80s!), hilarious scenarios, silly humor, etc. This was the first game in the series that we played, and even though we weren’t familiar with the series in any way, it was still such a great experience. The localization is also top-notch and worthy of so many articles!

  2. Ryu ga Gotoku Ishin/Yakuza Restoration - this is sadly a Japanese-only entry and was apparently made before Yakuza 0. It takes all the characters from the series and throws them into the old samurai days. So instead of being a yakuza member, you’re a samurai during a major historical event. The game is so, so good and makes it feel like THIS game should be the main series and that all the other yakuza-themed games are just spin-offs. We streamed this the other day and it was a blast for everyone. Here’s the video archive if you missed it!

    We streamed this the other day and it was a blast for everyone. Here’s the video archive if you missed it!

  1. Yakuza Kiwami - a modern remake of the original Yakuza game from like 10+ years ago. A lot of people start with this one and like it, but coming off of Yakuza 0 it was a real disappointment to us. The story really felt like mid-2000s stuff and like it was written by programmers - it was the first game where I could really feel and almost see the underlying story flowchart the designers worked off of.

  2. Yakuza 6 - this came out not too long ago and has all kinds of fancy technical improvements and looks better… but it felt really empty and soulless compared to the other games. Whenever I think back to it now, I just feel like it was lacking the soul/heart from the other games and that the designers had lost sight of what made the previous games so good. Even the fighting system is much less interesting. It’s still a good game, but it added so many issues into the mix that were never issues before. I wonder if the focus on tech made the team lose focus on fun. It feels very trying-too-hard to me.

We haven’t played any of the other games yet, but we did play the Yakuza 4 PS3 demo way back in the day. Yakuza Kiwami 2 comes out today and we’ll definitely be picking up that, but Ishin/Restoration is the one that needs to get released most of all. It’s a gem of the series and I’m worried it’ll be too late for it to get released by the time Sega wises up.

Anyway, if you have any experiences with the games, share em here! And if you haven’t played any of the games but want to try it out, Yakuza 0 is on PC now and it’s also one of the discount PS4 titles now.


I just started Yakuza Zero last night! Already having a lot of fun. Not sure why all these street Delinquents want to fight me, but they regret it pretty quick.

I also had a lot of fun playing Darts for some reason. I guess I need to learn how to play Mahjong because I surely don’t get it right now.

Also I’m BAD at Karaoke. Ugh!


I’m curious to know how you’ll like Yakuza 0, Luck. Mato & I went into it with no expectations and it ended up being one of our favorite games of all time. But I know you’ve seen a lot of hype for the game from us and probably elsewhere. So keep us posted :slight_smile:


@Poe I have had the Majima Construction anthem stuck in my head all day because of you. I hope you’re happy :^)


I recently started playing Yakuza 0 after watching the Twitch stream of Ishin. I’m having a lot of fun doing everything except progressing.

Some memorable things in no particular order.

A funny localization that adapts both currency and weight units:

Not sure about public opinion about Japanese taxation policies at the moment, but as a swede with a sales tax of 25% for many purchases (some purchases are 12% and some are 6%) this public uproar and lynch mob attitude was interesting:

My best hand in mahjong so far. One of my opponents got a Suu Ankou Yakuman though.

And lastly, proof of my climb to the top of the Yakuza world of Mahjong:


Daaaang, that’s some Mahjong mania right there. Whenever I try to teach myself about it I always end up getting distracted. My secret hope is that Yakuza will be the thing that finally gets me to learn mahjong and shogi and all those card games and horse racing etc. etc.


Oh my goshhhh vargsvans. Did you know how to play Mahjong before playing Yakuza? I’m still learning it, myself. The AI Mahjong players in the Yakuza games are at a higher level than me, even the easy ones! Haha.


I keep meaning to learn Mahjong, but it’s super complex and I’ve not had the time. It’s the sort of thing I would love to know how to do, and would almost definitely never get to use. Unless, I suppose, I were to play Yakuza. :slight_smile:


I have a group where we play regularly IRL. Just came back from a game session actually :heart_eyes:

I’ve also played enough online on tenhou.net to reach 1 dan (which is just Tenhous arbitrarily chosen ranking system where you start as 新人 - Newcomer, then onto 9 kyuu, 8 kyuu and onwards. Like in martial arts or the board games go or shogi). There’s still a lot of luck involved of course, but I figured out Yakuzas ranking system after a while.

You rank up both in first and second place. In third place you seem to stay put and in fourth place you seem to drop ranks. This means that you just need to play patiently and defensively, avoiding that last place finish, and you will climb over time. Knowing when to go for a hand and when to fold it and play defensively is a very important concept.

Suffice to say, I really like Japanese style mahjong. It has a lot of strange rules and exceptions (which I love, but I can also understand how it can be off-putting) but it also luck based enough where anyone who got a grasp about the basic mechanics can win. In todays game we had a newcomer who has only played with us three times, and she won todays game.

I’m up for a LoL mahjong session any time! :grin:

I’m also decent at go and have no clue whatsoever about shogi. To bad go isn’t in Yakuza though :grimacing:


If there’s one skill I hope people come away with after playing a Yakuza game, it’s knowing how to play Mahjong. If you know how to play Rummy and Poker, you’re already halfway there.

Darien and others who want to try Mahjong but are too intimidated: watch this video. That’s the very thing that made it “click” for me. The digital Mahjong games will do all the sorting, dealing, and point-counting for you, so you don’t need to worry about any of that stuff. And don’t let the terms scare you off! Pong, Kong, Chow, Riichi, etc. Don’t worry about any of that just yet. The game will let you know when you have the opportunity to do any of those moves.

There’s also a pretty cheap Switch game in the e-shop called Japanese Mahjong that I use for practice outside of Yakuza (since you can lose game money in Yakuza). The AI in the switch game goes easy on you, and I’ve managed to win a lot in that game. The Mahjong AI in Yakuza is smarter.

Once you know the basics laid out in that video, you get a feel for the game after playing a few hands and you start to develop strategies. It’s freakin’ fun as hell, so don’t give up! If you have a desire to learn, do it~~

And that’s really cool, vargsvans! I’d love to be able to get together with people IRL for Mahjong sometime, but I don’t know anyone else who likes to play it (yet).

Some more interesting things from my playthrough of Yakuza 0

This line is so weird out of context. I love it.

I (Well, Kiryu, but whatever, he’s my avatar) fell for a pyramid scheme where I got sent lots of “AH-HA Water”. My secretary Marina said this and it reeeally felt like the original line contained ばか水 and あほ水, which would be two ways of saying “Idiot water”.

Yakuza 0 is also really pretty sometimes. Makes me want to go back to Japan… and back in time I guess.

I also hired a chicken as a finance manager for my company and she is far from my worst employee.


Yakuza 0 was so much fun! I plan to play Kiwami next when I find the time, so it’s good to know not to go in expecting another Yakuza 0. Yakuza Restoration looked neat too from what I saw during the stream, so I hope there’s a chance of it one day being localized.


Oh man, that’s interesting about the AH-HA Water thing, vargs (“idiot water”). I was super shrewd and wouldn’t fall for the scheme, so I didn’t get that result in the game.


Haha the game has conditioned me into just saying yes whenever anyone prompts me.
“Could you go out with a hostess and find out if she’s my estranged daughter?” Yup!
“A child wants me to buy him an adult magazine?” Heck yeah!
“Would you watch this erotic video an adult man is obsessed with together with him?” Don’t mind if I do!

I just figured that if I said no the game would prompt me until I said yes :sweat_smile:

Good on you for thinking some steps beyond!


What up! Mato & I tried to play Kiwami 2 last night. Besides the Dragon Engine being its usual weird self, the game is in 30 fps. Is there a way we can make 30fps be better on a reggo PS4? Is there a secret 60fps option for Kiwami 2?


We got used to the 30 fps and there’s a cabaret club mini game, so I have forgiven Kiwami 2. It’s better than 6 and we’re nowhere near finishing it :stuck_out_tongue:


We started Kenzan last night. It’s another samurai-era game, this time taking place in the 1600s. It’s also our first PS3 Yakuza game, and boyyyyyy. Haha. It handles so weird. We’d only played PS4 versions up until now. But so far I’m liking it! Haven’t played enough get a good feel for it yet though.