If you are confused about which are the best Yakuza games then no need to worry. From intense action combat to gripping narratives, explore the world of the Yakuza series.
In the world of gaming, Sega’s Yakuza series stands as a shining example of a franchise that seamlessly blends comedy, melodrama, and gripping storytelling. Since its start in 2005, the Yakuza series has rapidly evolved into one of Sega’s flagship franchises. It is successful in engaging players with its gameplay, characters, and rich story.
Today, we are going to rank and explore the best Yakuza games that have been released in the Western market. Our ranking includes not only the core games but also noteworthy spinoffs like Judgment, offering you a definitive guide to the best Yakuza games available. Please note that this ranking excludes titles that have not been officially localized, such as the PSP spinoff Yakuza: Black Panther.
12. Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise
Lost Paradise signifies an exciting departure from the Yakuza series, as it merges the iconic Yakuza formula with the post-apocalyptic world of Fist of the North Star. This unexpected fusion brings forth a fresh narrative and intense action-oriented combat, resulting in a Yakuza experience that feels both familiar and distinct. While Lost Paradise may be relatively smaller in scale compared to its Yakuza counterparts, it still manages to provide a satisfying adventure.
11. Yakuza: Dead Souls
Set in the familiar backdrop of Kamurocho, Yakuza: Dead Souls adds an element of chaos into the series by introducing a zombie apocalypse. This departure from the traditional Yakuza formula introduces experimental shooting mechanics while retaining the franchise’s inherent quirkiness and charm. However, the gameplay falls short of its predecessors, making Yakuza: Dead Souls a somewhat inferior entry in terms of gameplay mechanics.
10. Yakuza Kiwami
Yakuza Kiwami represents a commendable effort to recreate the original Yakuza game with modern enhancements. However, similar to Yakuza 3, the remake’s scope is constrained by its early design. The narrative lacks the depth and nuance found in later entries, and the combat system feels like a more limited version of Yakuza 0. Nonetheless, delving into the origins of Kazuma Kiryu is an exceptional experience that adds value to the Yakuza series.
9. Yakuza 3
Yakuza 3 stands out from the rest of the series with its slower pacing and intimate storytelling approach. The game presents a more relaxed exploration of its characters’ lives, with a longer introductory sequence setting the stage for an emotionally charged narrative. However, Yakuza 3’s combat and gameplay mechanics showcase their age and simplicity, making it feel less robust compared to its successors. Despite this, the game offers a beautifully crafted emotional story that resonates with players.
8. Yakuza 4
Yakuza 4 marks a significant shift for the series by introducing four distinct protagonists whose stories intertwine. While the concept is intriguing, the storytelling in Yakuza 4 feels somewhat disjointed and uneven, with Tanimura’s narrative standing out as a minor deviation from the rest. The combat and gameplay mechanics in Yakuza 4, while solid, do not exhibit substantial improvements compared to its predecessor. Many consider this as one of the best Yakuza games.
7. Yakuza Kiwami 2
Yakuza 2, hailed for its compelling narrative, finds its definitive form in Yakuza Kiwami 2. The game delves deep into Kiryu’s internal conflict as he grapples with leaving behind his life of crime. Building upon the foundation of its predecessor, Yakuza Kiwami 2 successfully addresses and rectifies many of the flaws present in the original game. The improved combat mechanics and enhanced substory exploration make this entry a standout in the series.
6. Yakuza 6: The Song of Life
Yakuza 6 takes players on an emotional ride as it brings Kazuma Kiryu’s saga to a close. The game shines by focusing on the theme of familial bonds and showcases the lengths one would go to protect their loved ones. Yakuza 6 offers a more focused and intimate experience, with an array of substories, minigames, and visceral combat, all powered by the impressive Dragon Engine. The captivating cast of characters further elevates Yakuza 6 as a pinnacle of the series.
5. Lost Judgment
Building upon its predecessor’s foundation, Lost Judgment refines the combat and gameplay mechanics while introducing noteworthy improvements. However, the narrative lacks the same level of intrigue and drama as its predecessor. One of Lost Judgment’s standout features is the inclusion of optional School Stories, providing players with fantastic characters and captivating gameplay twists that enhance the overall experience. These additions make Lost Judgment a commendable entry in the Yakuza universe.
Judgment successfully makes the most of the Yakuza formula. It presents players with a capturing narrative that ranks among the best Yazkuza games. The game introduces Yagami and his crew, who navigate a slow-burning story that concludes in an amazing climax. In addition to the engrossing storyline, Judgment incorporates exciting gameplay elements. It brings you a friend system that breathes life into the bustling streets of Kamurocho. This spinoff stands as a testament to the series’ versatility and storytelling prowess. Judgment is also one of the best Yakuza games to try out.
3. Yakuza: Like a Dragon
Yakuza: Like a Dragon represents a complete revitalization of the series, showcasing a fresh perspective and invigorating turn-based combat mechanics. The game introduces Ichiban, an intriguing character who embarks on a journey filled with profound societal themes and a quest for justice. Like a Dragon breathes new life into the beloved franchise, offering players a refreshing experience while retaining the essence that made Yakuza so popular.
2. Yakuza 0
Yakuza 0 stands as the classic Yakuza experience. It presents players with a dynamic combat system featuring multiple styles and an enthralling dual-protagonist narrative. The game serves as a prequel, engaging players in the vibrant setting of 1980s Kamurocho. Alongside the gripping storyline, Yakuza 0 offers an abundance of engaging minigames, such as Disco Dancing and the beloved Cabaret Club. With its intricate character development and complex plotlines, Yakuza 0 is one of the best Yakuza games you can play.
1. Yakuza 5
Yakuza 5 takes the foundation laid by Yakuza 4 and elevates it to new heights. The game excels in offering dynamic and distinct character storylines, accompanied by engaging combat mechanics and an array of minigames. Notably, Yakuza 5 introduces Haruka as a playable character, adding an interesting dimension to the gameplay. While Yakuza 5 boasts the longest playtime in the series, it also stands as one of the best Yazkuza games.
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