Yakuza 4 artwork

My Yakuza series journey begins (or has it begun?)

Last week, I decided to pick up Yakuza 6: The Song of Life on PlayStation 4 as an early birthday present for myself. I’ve been playing through Yakuza 0 for the past year and it converted me into a fan of the series – so much so that I went on to pre-ordered Yakuza Kiwami, a remake of the original PS2 title. Upon booting the latest entry, I was both amazed and confused.

I’d been mulling over picking up Yakuza 6 on launch-day for a few months. I boiled the decision down to two primary reasons: 1) the game will be on sale for much cheaper in a few months, and 2) I hadn’t played and completed the previous six mainline games in the series. After a while, I decided to take the plunge because it’s now one of my favourite franchise and because I wanted to snag up the artbook, which is included in the first print-run of the game. But I digress.

On Sunday morning, I booted up the game and after sitting through a few cutscenes, I decided to skip every other bit of story and jump into the game. After a further 15 minutes or running around Kamurocho, I switched off the game, replaced the disc in its package, and placed it back on the shelf. Even though every Yakuza game can be played as standalone entry and there is a lore section included with Yakuza 6, I left as though I was missing too much. There were pivotal scenes and characters from previous entries in the series that I didn’t yet know. And since every core game in the series (are direct sequels to each other, there is a lot of lore and experiences that I’m lacking.

And, finally, I made the decision to play all of the main-line Yakuza games in order. This is going to be one hell of an undertaking as I also aim to Platinum the titles. According to How Long to Beat, that’s roughly another 20 days and six hours of full play-time before I can touch Yakuza 6 again. Thankfully, most of the games are easy to get hold of, but there is a (personal) snag: Yakuza 3.

Due to localisation time constraints, the third game in the series was butchered when it was released to western audiences. Some gameplay elements were removed – such as the hostess club minigame – which resulted in an incomplete experience. I don’t want to touch this release and hope that SEGA remakes it as they have done with the first two titles (both of which received the additional “Kiwami” moniker). Besides time and having a finite lifespan as a mortal, this is the largest hurdle standing in my way to complete the series.

For now, however, I shall complete Yakuza 0 and Yakuza Kiwami as I look forward to the release of Yakuza Kiwami 2 later this year.

It’s one hell of a task and I hope that I can complete it.

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