All Time Best Yakuza Games – Ranked Yakuza Games in Order

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best yakuza games

SEGA’s Yakuza series has been available since the time of the PlayStation 2, but only in the past few years or so has it truly begun to be incorporated into the consciousness of a larger Western public. It’s all due to the game of 2017’s Yakuza Zero that sparked an entirely new interest in PlayStation 4. It also helped that Yakuza 0 became one of the best yakuza game from the series to the present.

Perhaps you’re thinking about what Yakuza is about, and if you’d like to give it a go. Maybe, more importantly, you’re wondering where you should begin.

So, in this guide to ranking, we’ll attempt to break down the pros and cons of every Yakuza game before we get started.

What Is Yakuza, Exactly?

Yakuza is often referred to by the name of “Grand Theft Auto city in Japan”; however this isn’t the case in any way. The Yakuza games aren’t open worlds, and the only thing they share with the Rockstar blockbuster franchise is their underlying motif of crime.

Yakuza games are heavily story-based, with lots of scenes and dialogue. The majority of the primary game series (barring Yakuza: Like a Dragon) has Kazuma Kiryu, the king of the world who never fails to get caught in the latest dramas in the Japanese criminal underground. However, in certain games, Kiryu does not represent the most available character.

The main storyline of the series is in a fictional district of red lights called Kamurocho, but other settings are featured in several games. Kamurocho and the different settings are accessible; however, it’s not an open world. It’s possible to wander freely through Kamurocho’s streets, however, you aren’t able to take a car and drive a further distance.

Kamurocho and the other series settings aren’t as large as the maps you’ll encounter in open-world games like Grand Theft Auto or Assassin’s Creed, but they’re popular. There are bars with karaoke and batting cages, stores, apartments, restaurants, all the things one would expect from a city in Japan. The most important aspect of being aware of is that it’s free to go on a trip at your own pace.

best yakuza game

Minigames and other activities play a significant role within this Yakuza series. If you’re not absorbed in the story, you could go to the arcade and play old-fashioned SEGA games. If you’re more social, go to the local hostess ‘ club and talk to the ladies. Minigames can be very in-depth and have high scores, as well as other information making you want to come to play more.

It’s difficult to determine the genre the Yakuza games are actually part of However, and we know they’re mostly action-based RPGs (aside from the game Yakuza: Like a Dragon that is a full-on turn-based RPG). RPG features like leveling up and gradually unlocking rewards are included in the game as side quests that open the possibility of additional storylines to explore — many of which are hilarious.

Then there’s the fighting. Yakuza is awash with combat. It doesn’t matter if it’s teaching street punks an important lesson or going toe to toe with the murderous criminal leader, Kiryu usually finds himself fighting through issues.

Yakuza’s classic combat system based on action is pretty normal at the very minimum on the outside. It’s free-movement light attacks, combos, heavy attacks, blocking, and dodging. What makes it stand out is its ‘heat’ system. When characters play with each other, you’ll get a ‘heat’ meter, which is then used to unleash cinematic-style moves. These attacks are often brutal and transform the otherwise solid-but-not-amazing combat into something quite spectacular.

It’s also important to note that Yakuza can be quite mature at times. It’s been known to address certain dark subjects, and it’s worth saying that there are plenty of bloody violent instances. This is a warning for those who are scared.

How do I Play Best Yakuza Games? Yakuza Games in order: Release Date and Platform

There are eight primary line Yakuza best games. Two of them are remakes, and seven have Kazuma Kiryu as the protagonist. If you’re interested in experiencing the complete Kiryu story, it is necessary to play the entire seven games (although we’re not sure it’s essential).

All primary line Yakuza games follow a chronological sequence. In Yakuza Zero, Kiryu is 20 years old. 

Below are the games listed below. We’ve listed all the games chronologically.

  • Yakuza 0. (takes its place during 1988)
  • Yakuza: Kiwami (remake of the original Yakuza is set in 2005.)
  • Yakuza Kiwami 2. (remake version of Yakuza 2, takes place in the year 2006)
  • Yakuza 3. (takes position in the year 2009)
  • Yakuza 4. (takes position in the year 2010)
  • Yakuza 5. (takes its place during 2012)
  • Yakuza 6. The Song of Life (takes place in 2016)
  • Yakuza: Similar to a Dragon (takes place in 2019)
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Does the Main Story Continue Over Multiple Yakuza Games?

This is probably the most frequent question when newcomers are asked about Yakuza.

There’s an absence of a “main story” in Yakuza. The games could feature returning characters and may even re-use characters from previous titles, yet there’s not one story common to each of them.

Every Yakuza game has a unique storyline, which begins and ends with a specific game. You are able to jump into this Yakuza game at any time and experience the game as the game is even though you don’t have any previous knowledge of the series.

As mentioned, some characters return, and the events from previous games can influence the actions of the next. For instance, some characters begin as Kiryu’s enemies in a game, however, events from that game ultimately make them the good guys in later games.

what is the best yakuza game

If you’re looking to experience all the things that every character goes through, you are forced to play each Yakuza game. It’s completely possible to join in at any time and enjoy yourself. The games usually accomplish a fantastic job of explaining who specific characters are, and the majority of games have an option to review the events of previous games.

Ranking the Yakuza Games

Below, we’ve put the Yakuza games from the worst to the top and included more information about each game. It should be mentioned that we don’t believe that any of the games are particularly good. In fact, we’d say that the Yakuza series is astonishingly constant, and it’s just that some games are weaker than others.

In this way, avid best Yakuza game players on Reddit have engaged in a lively discussion about which games in the Yakuza series should be tackled first. Some prefer to begin from the beginning, while others prefer to dive right into the depths of the cult gaming franchise.

We’ve also listed our favorite games that we believe are the best for novices. So if you’re new to the game, be sure to take it into account.

List of 10 Best Yakuza Games and Also check What is the Best Yakuza Game in 2022

#10 Yakuza : Kiwami 

Fans were thrilled with the news that Sega launched Yakuza Kiwami, a version of the first Yakuza called Yakuza Kiwami. The game was launched at the end of 2017 to the western world, and Yakuza Kiwami was acknowledged for the improvements it brought to the original game, which helped to cement the popularity of the franchise all over the world.

PlatformGame Release DateMetascore
Xbox OneApril 22, 202081
PlayStation 4August 29, 201780
PCFebruary 19, 201980

In addition to gaining the much-needed glow to its graphics, The game also featured cutting-edge cutscenes that made the story more detailed and fleshed out the characters significantly. Furthermore, Kiwami borrowed some elements from the earlier released Yakuza 0. to utilize the new combat system.

#9 Yakuza 4

Yakuza 4 was the second game in the series to be released to PlayStation 3, and it was released to the western shores in the year 2011. This was the only Yakuza game that Daisuke Sato did not work on, as the lead designer of the first Yakuza game. Even though he skipped Yakuza four he returned to work on Yakuza 5, and is now a producer for the series.

Platform Game Release DateMetascore
PlayStation 3March 15, 201178
PlayStation 4 (Remaster)October 29, 201978
Xbox One (Remaster)January 28, 2021N/A
PC (Remaster)January 28, 2021N/A

The new game allowed players to play four different characters throughout the story, with each character having distinct fighting styles. But some reviewers and players felt the plot wasn’t as engaging or deep because the focus was being spread out across several protagonists.

#8 Yakuza 5

Yakuza 5 launched in 2015 on PlayStation 3 and was the only game in the series to not have a physical release here. Sega chose to commemorate the fifth game in the series by making the game have not just five characters but also included five locations across Japan that players could explore and visit.

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Platform Game Release DateMetascore
PlayStation 3December 8, 201583
PlayStation 4 (Remaster)February 11, 202082
Xbox One (Remaster)January 28, 2021N/A
PC (Remaster)January 28, 2021N/A

Incredibly, Yakuza five received twice the time to develop compared to the previous installments and was built using a completely new graphics engine. The creators wanted this latest installment to offer a new perspective on the series and set the bar for being the best story and script ever. It received a laudatory review upon its release in Japan and received extremely well-received reviews in the US.

#7 Yakuza 3

Yakuza 3 was released in the year 2010 and was the very first title in the series to launch for PlayStation 3. With the power of the PlayStation 3 console, the title offered many new features and enhanced gameplay, including seamless combat, chase battles, and an optional first-person-view.

Platform Game Release DateMetascore
PlayStation 3March 9, 201079
PlayStation 4 (Remaster)February 11, 202077
Xbox One (Remaster)January 28, 2021N/A
PC (Remaster)January 28, 2021N/A

Although this new title included many new features and brought more amusing and quirky humor and the savage yakuza style that fans loved, players from the west were disappointed that a large portion of the game’s content was cut out as in the process of translating.

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#6 Lost Judgment

Built on the solid base of its predecessor, the Lost Judgment offers more similar gameplay, only with a few minor tweaks that allow it to distinguish itself from the original game as well as its counterpart in the Yakuza series. The sequel broadens the beat-em-up combat system by offering Takayuki Yagami Detective protagonist Takayuki Yagami access to a new fighting type, Snake, to go alongside Judgment‘s Crane and Tiger. Combat is fluid and powerful, and The Lost Judgment does much better of carrying out its investigative-themed gameplay as compared to the original game.

Platform Game Release DateMetascore
PlayStation 4September 24, 202183
PlayStation 5September 24, 202182
Xbox Series X/SSeptember 24, 202180
Xbox OneSeptember 24, 2021N/A

The Lost Judgment‘s story is a little uneven when a bullying case quickly gets out of hand. It’s not as compelling as Judgment‘s narrative however, it’s not boring.

#5 Yakuza: Like a Dragon

Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio decided to play with the rules by altering the format of its most recent Yakuza release to one that was an RPG. While it was definitely an investment, however, it made a massive profit, and the titleYakuza: Like A Dragon was extremely close to claiming the highest rating on Metacritic from all the titles in the series.

Platform Game Release DateMetascore
Xbox OneNovember 10, 202089
PlayStation 5March 2, 202186
PlayStation 4November 10, 202084
Xbox Series X/SNovember 10, 202083
PCNovember 10, 202083

Alongside introducing a novel genre of its own, it introduced players to the brand new protagonist, Ichiban Kasuga. There were also numerous others, as well as an entirely new region too, which was moving parts of the play towards Yokohama and Isezaki Ijincho. Despite all the changes, there were still many characters and references to earlier games to keep more seasoned fan’s content.

#4 Yakuza 6: The Song of Life – Best yakuza Game For PS4

Yakuza 6: The Song of Life was released in the West in the year 2018 and was the first game within the series that was developed specifically for PlayStation 4, and was also the first game to utilize the brand new Dragon Engine. The game is stunningly gorgeous and the players were enthralled by the detail in the characters and settings. The game was highly praised, and it was awarded the “Best Storytelling” and “PlayStation Game of the Year” prizes during the Golden Joystick Awards. It was in 2021 that Yakuza 6: The Song of Life was released for PC in addition to Xbox One.

Platform Game Release DateMetascore
Xbox OneMarch 25, 202187
PlayStation 4April 17, 201883
PCMarch 25, 202182

The Song of Life is the final game in chronological order, up to Yakuza 7. Yakuza 7. which is why Kiryu and the other characters are older than characters from earlier games. This is the final game in which Kiryu is the main character because Yakuza 7 will feature Ichiban as the protagonist, although characters from previous titles are expected to be included in some fashion.

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#3 Judgment – Best Yakuza Game ps4

Judgment is extremely like a Yakuza game with a few lite techniques for stealth and investigation that make up the less favorable parts of this game. Judgment‘s plot is among the best parts of the series, a claim which isn’t made lightly. Takayuki Yagami gets involved in the trial of a serial killer who is operating in Kamurocho. The investigation swiftly draws Takayuki Yagami into the Yakuza world of Yakuza.

Platform Game Release DateMetascore
Xbox Series X/SApril 23, 202185
PlayStation 5April 23, 202182
PlayStation 4June 21, 201980
Xbox OneApril 23, 2021N/A
Google StadiaApril 23, 2021N/A

Judgment‘s combat is a riot powerful, strong, and satisfying. Comparatively to the main games, Judgment Plays similarly to Yakuza 0 and is an excellent thing. For those who love Yakuza‘s humorous side quests, this spinoff isn’t likely to disappoint.

#2 Yakuza 0

In 2015 Sega brought a fresh start to the series through the launch of the prequel title Le Yakuza Zero on PS4 or PS3 within Japan. A few years later, the original game made its way to America and swiftly earned a name for being among the greatest Yakuza Game Ever, and if not the most popular.

Platform Game Release DateMetascore
Xbox OneFebruary 26, 202090
PCAugust 1, 201886
PlayStation 4January 24, 201785
PlayStation 3Japan OnlyN/A
Amazon LunaJune 24, 2021N/A

Yakuza Zero is believed to have increased its popularity among fans of the series in the west and is, without doubt, the most loved game by fans thus far. Alongside having an older Kiryu Kiryu as the main character The spotlight was shared by the younger version of Majima as well, with players switching between two characters.

Yakuza offered fans a crucial look behind the curtain in the case of Majima and explained how his eccentric character became. Furthermore, the title brought an array of enjoyable and engaging gameplay features as well as story arcs as well as side-quests.

#1 Yakuza: Kiwami 2

After the enormous popularity of Kiwami the game, it came as no surprise that Sega continued the series with a sequel that focused on the sequel to the franchise with Yakuza Kiwami 2. The sequel came out in the west in the year 2018 the same year as Yakuza six.

Platform Game Release DateMetascore
Xbox OneJuly 29, 202088
PlayStation 4August 28, 201885
PCMay 9, 201982

Similar to its remake precursor, Kiwami 2 did not just have an overhaul in visuals, but also added game features, and also added new story material. It not only clarified certain of the confusing plot details of the first game, however, but it also gave more depth to characters as well as relationships and story arcs that other titles were added to the series and largely based on Yakuza zero. In addition, the “Majima Saga” story content was added as well and allowed players to take on the role of the fan-favorite villain Majima Goro again.

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FAQ – Related to Yakuza Games

What is the best yakuza to play?

Kiwami is often mentioned as the most enjoyable game to play before or following Yakuza 0. From a story perspective, both games perform the same purpose. The difference is that Kiwami has superior graphics and fluid gameplay, as well as exciting combat action and so on.

Is Yakuza 0 the Best Yakuza Game?

Yakuza 0 was a brand-new game within the Yakuza series. Since it’s a prequel, it’s the ideal starting point for those who are new to the series. It’s also the most popular title in the Yakuza series. Its high-quality gameplay made the series win lots of new fans.

What is the Best Selling Yakuza Game?

All of the games listed in this article are the best Yakuza selling games. We have listed them according to their basis of the ranking.

Which Yakuza Game has the Best Combat?

Yakuza: All Of The Main Games’ Combat Systems, Ranked

Yakuza 1:

Yakuza 2:

Yakuza 3:

Yakuza 4:

Yakuza 6:

Is Yakuza similar to GTA?

If you’ve never played a Yakuza game prior to now, you could think of something like Grand Theft Auto, only set in present day Japan. Like GTA the game from Sega Yakuza is an all-world action series that is focused on criminality. It’s also a complete video game. Each game has its unique features and levels.

Can I play Yakuza 0 First?

it is dependent on the choice you make.

Is Yakuza 0 or kiwami 2 better?

Yakuza 0 is better in all ways (better story, more enjoyable and more content) However, being an actual game of the present, Kiwami 2 is more appealing. And it’s a lot superior to K1. … The Y0 is superior in nearly every way.

Should I play Yakuza 0 before kiwami?

You can begin with either. Although Yakuza 0 technically takes place prior to that of the Yakuza 1 and Kiwami, it was created later. There are certain characters and events that might be different when playing the previous games prior to 0, however, 0 is an excellent starting point.

Is the Yakuza open world?

The Yakuza games aren’t open to the world, and the only thing they do share with the blockbuster Rockstar series is the fact that both share the one common theme: crime.

Does Sleeping Dogs inspired by yakuza?

As far as the aesthetics and style in Sleeping Dogs, it does look like it is borrowing some elements in The Yakuza series.

Check all the best yakuza games in 2022 and find which yakuza game is the best you as based on your interest and your system requirement.

1 COMMENT

  1. Thanks! I was just looking for yakuza games in order and here you posted the best article with all the details I needed.
    Appreciate it!

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