How do I get into the Yakuza series?

#1 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19376 posts) -

I read this thread and it seems that the easiest way to get into Yakuza is by playing Yakuza 3, which seems to recap the story in the previous games, but I'd like a few more opinions. Should I watch story sequences of Yakuza 1 and 2 on YouTube or read them on Wikipedia, or is the recap in Yakuza 3 (or Yakuza 4) sufficient? Is Yakuza: Dead Souls a game that can be skipped or does it add anything to the narrative?

Simply put, I'd just like the easiest way to appreciate the Yakuza story. I've always thought that these are games that I would really enjoy and recent news concerning Yakuza 5 has finally made me want to get into them.

#2 Posted by killacam (1286 posts) -

didn't play the first two, but the recaps in 3 are loongg. a lot of info is thrown at you, so if you can handle that (i could barely) it seems pretty thorough.

#3 Posted by Pazy (2601 posts) -

Personally I started with Yakuza 3, I used the recap of the original 2 games on the main menu and it gave me enough to understand everything that was happening in Yakuza 3. Its was a great ride with some fun combat. Though ive yet to get to Yakuza 4, the same combat in the same city means I want to leave it for a while.

#4 Posted by TentPole (1858 posts) -

I would just start with 4. The in game recap videos do a great job getting you up to speed.

You can skip Dead Souls as far as story goes. Though I really liked it and it is my favorite of the series, butt my opinion may not be the popular opinion on the game.

#5 Edited by Bio2hazard (144 posts) -

Skip Yakuza 1.

Yakuza 2 is a great game, but if you are pressed for either time or money, can be skipped as Yakuza 3 does a great job of summing up what has happened so far in the videos.

Yakuza 3 and Yakuza 4 are a must.

Dead Souls, besides seeing the characters in a completely different setting has nothing to do with the Yakuza narrative and does not advance the storyline at all, so it can be skipped ( Though I personally picked it up just to see the great characters in such a bizzare scenario ).

I would recommend using a guide for Yakuza 2 as almost all side missions are missable and it gives painfully few directions on anything aside from the main story.

If you have any more questions, I'll be happy to answer them.

Edit: I wanted to mention that you don't need to go youtubing or wikipedia-ing the plot of Yakuza 1 and 2, the story recap in Yakuza 3 is massive, it takes like 30 minutes per game and touches on every important scene.

#6 Posted by Turambar (6846 posts) -
@FluxWaveZ: I started with Yakuza 4, which has the exact same in depth story summation as three.  Both games seem like good launching points.
#7 Posted by gunstar (253 posts) -

I've only played Yakuza 2. It hard a LONG recap of the first game. Entirely skippable though. It really helped me get situated though, as I hadn't played the first.

And judging from the comments here all of the games seem to do lengthy recaps.

#8 Posted by Chop (1999 posts) -

I'd probably advise starting with 4. 3 starts way too slowly and would, no doubt, kill interest in the series for anyone cept' the craziest of the crazies.

#9 Posted by Welding (145 posts) -

I just started at Yakuza 1, man. Almost finished with it.

If you wanna truly experience the insanity of Yakuza, I highly recommend it. Im looking forward to seeing this series evolve.

#10 Posted by Napalm (9020 posts) -

Are the first two Yakuza games available on PSN? You might as well just start with one and slowly make your way through it.

#11 Posted by MikeGosot (3227 posts) -

I believe Yakuza: Dead Souls is more appreciated if you played them all. I would start with 1, and go playing them all in sequence. Start from 3 if you don't have time/money.

#12 Posted by Ventilaator (1501 posts) -

Play Yakuza 3

If liked: Play Yakuza 4

If not: Don't

#13 Posted by ervonymous (1297 posts) -

@TripleBeat: Yeah, I played through 1 and 2 a couple of years ago and thought they were well worth experiencing.

Just remembered the most ridiculous missions in Yakuza 2... oh man, I bet they don't include those in the recaps.

#14 Edited by rjayb89 (7728 posts) -

Never played a Yakuza game before, apart from the Yakuza 3 demo, and found Yakuza 4 to be pretty awesome. The combat can get pretty stale quickly, and cheap even. But eventually, you'll learn some cheap tricks as well and you'll become so comfortable with it that you'll want to suplex everyone onto everything everywhere. I can't imagine the combat to be any different from the third game besides maybe the main Yakuza dude having a larger moveset, though I'm not too sure about that since I've never played the retail version. You should probably play one of whichever, then wait a few months before you play another Yakuza game.

It kinda reminds me how I played a sequel to Assassin's Creed game too quickly, and just got tired of it because the core gameplay was pretty much the same. I eventually went back, but I think the same should apply here. Story, however, I think 4 should suffice. Definitely got me interested in the future (serious) entries of the series. So many things string into the first game of the series.

Online
#15 Edited by Aelric (400 posts) -

I gamefly'd the first Yakuza. At the time I was in college and had recently discovered the Japanese film industry was a lot more than Kurosawa and Anime. Beat Takeshi, Miike and others were regularly in my VCR (I still had one because Hollywood video still rented them at the time, in fact, a lot of foreign flicks hadn't been converted yet) or DVD player. Actually, that led to other Asia films as well, like Wong Kar Wai in China and Park Wook Chan in Korea. Yakuza came out right at the height of my Asian film phase, and I had heard and watched the short films that Miike directed for the game, which held up as legit short films. It got so many of the characteristics and tropes of Asian crime fiction right that I thought it was perhaps the most brilliant game ever and actually held up under a film critical eye, though the gameplay could be a drag at times.

Then I didn't play Yakuza 2 until just this year. I'm living in Thailand right now, but I spent two years in Korea and one year in Japan (teaching English). I saw it at Panthip plaza in a bag along with all the other copied shit they sell (if it's not a downloadable game, it's pretty tough to find legit copies of anything older than a year). I picked it up and made some Thai pirate $2 richer, popped it in a PC emulator and really, REALLY enjoyed it, though it tended to be a little more goofy. More than that, it made me very nostalgic for my time living in both Korea and Japan. The Tokyo district, even in PS2 graphics, is so perfectly detailed it reminded me of nights out with friends, drinking Saki and hitting the Noraebangs, sleeping it off in a DVD room and going out again the next night. I'd like to play the other three, but with no PS3, only obviously pirated copies and no PS3 emulator, I sadly won't be able to until I return to the states or pay horrid shipping I can't afford to import them here on my meager Thai teaching wage (good money in Thailand, exchanges to McD's manger wages back home. Tip for teachers going to Asia, Korea and Japan, great, Thailand, a paradise but a financial trap!)

Yakuza games actually sorta hold a special place in my heart, flawed as they are (I like to overuse parenthesis). Oh, and no, I'm not proud of using an emulator for Yakuza 2, but it's the reality of getting older games in Thailand.

#16 Posted by Chop (1999 posts) -

@ervonymous said:

@TripleBeat: Yeah, I played through 1 and 2 a couple of years ago and thought they were well worth experiencing.

Just remembered the most ridiculous missions in Yakuza 2... oh man, I bet they don't include those in the recaps.

Meh, he could just youtube the diaper gang mission and get more than he needs to out of 2.

#17 Posted by Lunar_Aura (2778 posts) -

Started at 4 and loved it. Akiyama is the shit.

#18 Posted by Anupsis (308 posts) -

I played 1 when it came out but never got around to number 2. Got 3 and absolutely LOVED it. I got 4 day one and although it was not quite as good as 3 in my opinion it was still an awesome game. I will get around to dead souls and I will be getting 5 as soon as they localize it. Be prepared to not want to stop playing them :)

#19 Posted by ervonymous (1297 posts) -

@Chop: Ah well, he is looking for the easiest out. Just don't forget the tiger fight.

#20 Posted by TooSweet (400 posts) -

I started with three and there is a re-cap of one and two as mentioned by the other posters on here. There were some things left out of the game but when you get to four there are many options that were kept so you can get your kicks there. My local shop had 1 and 2 for less than $6 each and I picked them up. Perfect condition. Hopefully I get to them one day. I still need to pick up the latest one.

#21 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19376 posts) -

Thanks for the opinions. I've decided that I'll try Yakuza 3 and move up from there, potentially checking the older ones out if I feel the need to.

#22 Posted by Quarters (1806 posts) -

If you can, just start with Y1. It's a great continuing story, and it's best to see it from the beginning. The recap, though crazy long, still misses stuff.

#23 Posted by Rapid (1386 posts) -

Didn't play the games of PS2, (1 & 2) but watched the cutscenes on YouTube, a channel called StrikeArranges has edited each game into like tv episodes, and thats what got into the story that way. The first one I actually played was Yakuza 3. The gameplay is okay, but I like the story, characters and atmosphere.

#24 Posted by AjayRaz (12460 posts) -

i started at 1 and went through the entire series like that. i enjoyed it because i like seeing how the games evolve as they progress, as well as experiencing the stories for myself. i think you could start from 3 or 4 if you want, though. those games have some pretty good recaps of previous events, even if they're shown in a pretty odd resolution.

personally, i think you should go at it in any way you choose because you'll be good regardless but i wouldn't skip out on 2 if you have the chance to get it. i think it has the best story out of all of the Yakuza games and it Kaoru; one of my favorite characters in the entire series.

#25 Posted by RenMcKormack (1074 posts) -

(1) Get a sick tattoo, preferably one that covers your whole back, Like a dragon fighting a tiger. Real macho.

(2) Get a silk suit and preferably a purple silk shirt and white scarf, wear them. ,always.

(3) Get a sword and perhaps some guns

(4) Go to a hostess bar get thrashed on booze and sing karaoke like a man.

(5) Kill one of your rivals in a respectful way.

(6) Hustle fools at pool and when they call you out show them your sick tattoo (see One above) and beat they asses.

(6) One day, look back on your life and contemplate its meaning.

#26 Posted by TobbRobb (4814 posts) -

Dude, you should let's play the entire series. Because no one has as far as I know. And I reaaaally want to see the story unfold, without you know. Actually playing them.

You can see I have your best in mind for all of this as well, It's a win-win for me.

#27 Posted by hamjam (27 posts) -

I bought 1-2-3-4 and finished all of them. I haven't played Yakuza: Dead Souls yet. I'll probebly pick up a copy soon on amazon.

#28 Posted by TechnoSyndrome (950 posts) -

People who say to skip the PS2 games are crazy, the PS2 games are by far the best entries in the series. The story is a joke in the PS3 games compared to the original two, especially Yakuza 3.

#29 Edited by Soap (3631 posts) -

(1) Get a sick tattoo, preferably one that covers your whole back, Like a dragon fighting a tiger. Real macho.

(2) Get a silk suit and preferably a purple silk shirt and white scarf, wear them. ,always.

(3) Get a sword and perhaps some guns

(4) Go to a hostess bar get thrashed on booze and sing karaoke like a man.

(5) Kill one of your rivals in a respectful way.

(6) Hustle fools at pool and when they call you out show them your sick tattoo (see One above) and beat they asses.

(6) One day, look back on your life and contemplate its meaning.

Sorry I know this is super old, but DAMN. That is Yakuza summed up to perfection. Well done Sir!

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