The best aspect of this game HAS to be the story and, believe me, the story is good enough to make you want to play the game. You're in the role of Kazuma Kiryu, member of one the most influential clans in the Yakuza world, who witnesses his best friend murdering the leader of the clan and, to make way for him to escape, remains in the crime scene and is pinned as the murdered in his place. Ten years after the occurrence, he leaves the prison only to see the chaos that has been installed during his absence in the Tojo Clan. An internal war is about to make the organization collapse and it is up to Kazuma to figure what is going on.
I didn't get the least disappointed to the story and see why there are four games for the series already. The story is awesome, full of betrayal, honor, greed and things that happen in the underground world of the organized crime.
The game itself is pretty short. What may keep you playing are the subquests. There are several of them, but I didn't really have fun running around the city and trying to find them all, mainly because there are no specifications of what to do or where to go. Some missions can only be unlocked under some specific circunstances, like time of the day or the kind of company you have. Still, if you're interested in making all of them even after you finish the game, you don't necessarily need to restart the game. After you're done with the regular playthrough, you unlock another mode that allows you to run freely through Kamurocho, with the pure intent of only making the subquests.
The gameplay itself is not bad, but I did have to go through a LOT of trouble with the seemingly not functional lock target. Other than that, it may even sound like a regular beat-them-up game. The controls are pretty simple and, although they may feel kinda heavy, still give a nice touch of realism in the game's physics. The cameras, as most of actions games, may be rather troublesome and unprecise and setting the camera may be a painful process. If you press L2, it is automatically set right behind your character, which is good, but also means that if you use the quick dodge or if your enemies do that, it also means you'll have to keep tapping the L2 button in order to keep the camera in a nice angle.... unless there are objects right in front of you.
Alas, the camera is the least of your problems. What will effectively give you a headache is a thing called "target lock". The main purpose of it should be locking Kazuma's target in a single person so that you can hit them more efficiently. That would be a great feature... if it worked correctly (and, fortunately, on Yakuza 3 IT DOES). The thing is that when you lock the target on this game and go on hitting, if your enemy dodges your combo, you'll keep on hitting the air. What's worse: it is not uncommon to be surrounded by enemies and, after holding the lock button in the hope that you'll get at least ONE of the enemies, you end up hitting... NOTHING. That gets specially worse when you're fighting against bosses and miss the target because you didn't have enough time to find where he was.
In spite of the defects, Yakuza is a pretty good game. If you're in the mood for some fast-paced game, this may be what you're looking for.