Should be more popular than it is
There isn't any real shooting or driving in this game, instead you defeat enemies by fighting. There are many moves you can learn and sometimes the gameplay is similar to Dynasty Warriors, in the sense that there's often 10+ guys fighting you at the same time. You can choose to upgrade different aspects of your fighting style by spending little orbs you earn as you gain experience. There are 4 different characters you play as, each with their own list of available upgrades so there is a lot to choose from.
Besides fighting, there are tons of things to do in the city. There are casinos that have Poker, Blackjack, Roulette, and Baccano!. (Er, Baccarat) along with many traditional japanese gambling games. You can play ping pong, pool, go bowling, use the batting cages, play Mahjong, and Golf. There is also an Arcade with a crane game you can play along with some shooting arcade game. There are also "hostess clubs" you can go to which is basically a dating simulator minigame, where you choose different dialogue choices to try and win over the love of a girl, there are many to choose from.
So really, there is a LOT to do in this game. Each character has a fair amount of side quests as well. However, this game is VERY story heavy. The story is well written, and definitely kept me interested. I only got 20 hours out of this game, but i didn't really do any side quests. I was in a hurry to beat it so I could trade it in to get a new game. I regret doing that though, because I have an urge to play some ping pong or finish some of those side quests.
Things to note:
-This game is voiced entirely in JAPANESE, and is set in Japan. There are always subtitles in story parts, but you won't be able to understand things that enemies shout during battle. Get ready to read a lot.
-Very story heavy
-No driving, and the map is nowhere the size of GTA or Saints Row.
-If you are afraid of Japanese culture, this game may not be right for you.
Despite those few things, I think this is a game that a lot of people would love.
I certainly did, and I'm regretting the way my relationship with this game ended. Certainly looking forward to any future Yakuza games.
This was well worth my money, and I highly recommend this game.