Yakuza / Ryū ga Gotoku series
Group DescriptionYakuza, originally Ryū ga Gotoku (Japanese: 龍が如く, literally "Like a Dragon"), is a series of games created by Amusement Vision and published by Sega. The main games in the series are set in modern-day Japan, and revolve around the local organized crime scene. Inspired by the popular yakuza movie genre, the games incorporate elements of fighting, role-playing, and "sandbox"-style city exploration with a variety of mini-games.
StoryThe Japanese title refers to the series' main protagonist, Kazuma Kiryu, known as the Dragon of the Dojima family. Loyal to the Tokyo-based Tojo clan, Kazuma is depicted as an honest, noble-hearted man who opposes corrupted and villainous members of the yakuza. Throughout the course of the series, Kazuma and other protagonists become involved in complex plots and conspiracies featuring a large number of characters and organizations. The story is frequently advanced by cinematic cutscenes. Plot twists and dramatic effects are utilized liberally; however, up until the release of Yakuza: Dead Souls (2012) the games did not contain supernatural elements of any kind.
GameplayThe gameplay of Yakuza games usually consists of exploration and fighting modes. In the exploration mode, the player navigates the protagonist through heavily populated city districts, either triggering missions by moving to a certain spot, or simply exploring the environment and entering buildings. The player can purchase items in shops, visit restaurants, nightclubs, massage parlors, casinos, etc. Many locations allow the player to participate in various mini-games, e.g. UFO Catcher, bowling, blackjack, golf, and others.
Fights are typically triggered by initiating contact with hostile characters who randomly appear on the streets. The battles usually take place on separate screens. Though firearms can be used, they are often less effective than melee combat. The protagonist can use various moves (punches, kicks, grapples, etc,) to overcome the enemies, as well as use improvised weapons, ranging from baseball bats to the less traditional lamps and bicycles. The execution of special moves might differ depending on the weapon the protagonist is using. Many weapons would break after continuous usage, requiring the player to look for others or resort to hand-to-hand combat.
Role-playing elements are present in the management of finances and experience system, which leads to character customization. The protagonist accumulates experience points and money from battles, and the player is able to upgrade his parameters, techniques and abilities when leveling up.
SettingThe fictional Kamurocho district, in which much of the action in Yakuza games takes place, is based on the real-world Kabukicho red light district in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo. The district is rather accurately re-created in the game, including popular landmarks that either had their names changed or placed in the game as tie-in advertisements.
Front cover for Yakuza 3
Front cover for Yakuza
Front cover for Ryū ga Gotoku: Kenzan!
Front cover for Yakuza 4
Front cover for Yakuza: Dead Souls
Screenshot from Yakuza 3
Screenshot from Yakuza
Screenshot from Yakuza 4
Screenshot from Yakuza 2