With the final chapter closing on the story of our beloved friend Kazuma Kiryu in Yakuza 6: The Song Of Life for PlayStation 4, we realized that the long-running series deserves to be experienced by a wider audience. In the West, it all began in 2006 with the release of the first Yakuza on PlayStation 2, but over the course of seven games in the span of 12 years, we saw our favorite characters grow and overcome the hardest of times. But that's not to say they didn't have fun along the way. The Yakuza series perfectly captures an unlikely balance of absurdity and melodrama that has brought a few tears to our eyes, either from laughing uncontrollably or lamenting the death of an important character. There's no denying that Yakuza has heart.
GameSpot's own Jean-Luc Seipke, Ben Janca, and Michael Higham have a little discussion about what makes Yakuza so special to them and why those on the outside should jump into this wild series now. Have you ever wanted to beat up a mob boss that betrayed you, save someone's life, sing karaoke, hit the club to dance with a Michael Jackson stand-in, and race RC cars all in the same day? Yakuza has you covered.
Four Yakuza games will have come to the West over a two year period. 2017's Yakuza 0 brought a new wave of interest by embodying exactly what the franchise has been all about while giving newcomers a perfect jumping on point. The very first game received a faithful reimagination in Yakuza Kiwami that also released in 2017 and brought many of the elements we've come to expect from modern games. And while Yakuza Kiwami 2 looks to be an amazing recreation of the second entry and Yakuza 3through5 hold up well today, the upcoming release of Yakuza 6: The Song Of Life prompted us to convince the world that this is a series worth playing from start to finish.