Yakuza 6 Is Out Now, But You Should Play The Entire Series

With the launch of Yakuza 6: The Song of Life for PS4, Michael, Ben, and Jean-Luc talk about what makes Yakuza so great and why you need to play this underrated series.

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.

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    Avatar image for blondie_82
    blondie_82

    If Sega doesn’t remake 3, 4, and 5, hopefully they at least port them to ps4.

    Avatar image for Slinqy
    Slinqy

    In my opinion, you only need to play 4 and 5 to understand the origins of characters like Akiyama and Saejima, and it would make 6 easier to understand in terms of Kiryu and Haruka's emotions as well. They honestly could've ended the series with 3 as it was the end of an era for Kiryu, so you definitely don't need to go play the entire series.

    Avatar image for Ohaidere
    Ohaidere

    At this point in my life it's not really the money that prevents me from playing a lot of games--it's the time investment.

    Avatar image for jimmyjimmyjim
    JimmyJimmyJim

    Live chat mini game is GOTY worthy.

    Avatar image for berrlett
    Berrlett

    Played 0 and that was brilliant. Strongly recommend it.

    Avatar image for baasgene
    baasgene

    I played 0 and Kiwami, I'll wait for Kiwami 2 and then watch the rest of the stories on Youtube before I buy 6. I actually own 3,4 and 5 on Ps3 but holy crap the 60fps remasters just ruined them entirely. Can't get into it, luckilly I bought them at a steal but still it was wasted cash.

    Avatar image for ronaldmcreagan
    ronaldmcreagan

    @baasgene: Why would the 60FPS remastered versions ruin them?

    Avatar image for McStrongfast
    McStrongfast

    I mean, maybe? They're quite samey and most of them are sooooo long. If you don't pace properly you'll likely get burned out long before you get to 6. You're probably looking at like 300 hours of Yakuza.

    I couldn't do that. I've tried getting through 4 twice and quit at the exact same spot, around the midpoint, like 30 hours in. And I've heard 5 is even longer and has been described as a bit tedious.

    I'm just gonna skip 5 and half of 4. Hopefully there's a decent summary of what I'll miss.

    Avatar image for deviltaz35
    DEVILTAZ35

    @McStrongfast: Youtube is your friend for that . It saves having to play through what are essentially nearly the same games over and over as far as gameplay is concerned. It has a certain appeal but there is just not enough variety in what you actually do.

    Still they are often discounted to $20 odd so for that they are worth a shot .

    Avatar image for deviltaz35
    DEVILTAZ35

    It depends if you like walking or running along streets doing the same side missions over and over again as to how much enjoyment you will get out of this. Some of the missions are funny but overall just don't expect the level of polish you might be used to with certain western RPG's of late.

    This is Kooky and often funny but the dialogue is mostly poorly written or at least poorly translated.

    Avatar image for XBgyManX
    XBgyManX

    I bought Yakuza 0. What order should I play these games in?

    Avatar image for apeman16
    apeman16

    @XBgyManX: 0, kiwami, kiwami 2 (it's out later this year) and I would imagine they will keep remaking them but with 0 and kiwami alone your going to be busy for a while

    Avatar image for gamingdevil800
    gamingdevil800

    @apeman16: They'll probably just bundle 3 to 5 together as a HD remaster for PS4.

    Avatar image for Slinqy
    Slinqy

    @gamingdevil800: I would pay for a remake of 3 & 4. Still the best ones so far. Haven't played 5, but didn't hear great things about it.

    Avatar image for apeman16
    apeman16

    @gamingdevil800: I really hope not I would happily pay $60 for each one remade

    Avatar image for misto1481
    Misto1481

    @XBgyManX: I would obviously start with 0, play Kiwami next, wait for Kiwami 2 in August, and if you have a PS3, dive into the rest in order. There are rumors 3, 4, and 5 will be released on the PS4 but it may be a while.

    In all fairness, you do not have to play them in order to appreciate them. I started with 4 and then played 5, then 3, then 0, and after that Kiwami. I am waiting for Kiwami 2 and will then play 6 as I already pre-ordered it. I also just purchased the out-of-continuity Dead Souls on the current PS3 Flash Sale for $7.99 to tide me over until then.

    However you play them, enjoy :)

    Edit: If you have a PS Now sub, you can play 4 and 5 with that on the PS4. Never used the service but it is an option to experience them if you don't have a PS3.

    Avatar image for twogirlsonecub
    TwoGirlsOneCub

    @XBgyManX: Yakuza 0 is pretty much the beginning of the main series so you wouldn't be missing anything if that's the one you started with. The ending leads into Yakuza 1 and there are some spoilers for later entries in the journals or Bios of characters.

    Avatar image for chillingnaire
    Chillingnaire

    God of war it is. How is 8 average score for the yakuza games underrated? So it should be a 10?

    Avatar image for misto1481
    Misto1481

    @chillingnaire: I would definitely give Yakuza 5 a 10 as well as Yakuza 0. The rest are easily 8.5's and 9's. If you have never played them, they are underrated as not many gamers understand their appeal and do not give them a chance. It is just now really starting to catch on in the West after 10 years. Hell the only reason I started playing was because I got 4 and 5 with PS Plus and ran out of PS4 games to play so I decided to dust off the Ol' PS3 to give the series a try. I am extremely happy I did as it ranks as possibly my favorite series I've had the pleasure of experiencing. Highly recommended!

    Avatar image for twogirlsonecub
    TwoGirlsOneCub

    @misto1481: I don't know about underrated but definitely under appreciated and not as recognized as they should be.

    Avatar image for misto1481
    Misto1481

    @twogirlsonecub: Criminally underappreciated. Hope Yakuza continues to catch on as they are some of the best stories/experiences gaming has to offer. As a Sony fan since the PS1, I am ecstatic that we get these games, however, I wish Xbox and Nintendo owners could have the opportunity to experience this series as well. In any case, if anyone reading this owns or is thinking of owning a PS4, you owe it to yourself to dive into this series. You won't regret it.

    Avatar image for agramonte
    agramonte

    Augh!!! I had to pick between Yakuza and God of War... just no way do I have the time to play both.

    Avatar image for girlusocrazy
    GirlUSoCrazy

    @agramonte: Same. And I'm still playing Ni no Kuni 2. And Dark Souls Remaster is next. And who knows what they'll drop on us at E3.

    I'm picking up Yakuza 6 and God of War anyway. Getting to experience Yakuza's city and all the diversions it has to offer is too attractive. It'll help balance out the grit of GoW. I can't deny myself all this gaming goodness!