Kazuma Kiryu apparently finds the description fascinating
: Kiryu is the way yakuza used to be. We kept the streets clean. People liked us. We didn't bother ordinary citizens. We respected our bosses. Now, guys like that only exist in video games. "Shirokawa"
: I don't know any ex-yakuza running orphanages. "Kuroishi"
: There was one a few years ago. A good guy. "Midoriyama"
: You sure it wasn't just a tax shelter? "Kuroishi"
: Sure it was a tax shelter but he ran it like a legitimate thing. You know.
, or as it's known in Japan, Ryu ga Gotoku
(lit. Like a Dragon
), is a video game brawler series for the PS2 and PS3. The first game follows the story of Kazuma Kiryu (桐生 一馬, Kiryū Kazuma), the "Dragon of Dojima," a former Yakuza
whose release from prison after a 10-year sentence sparks the setup of the first game's plot. After his release, Kazuma returns and finds that his friend is missing and the clan to which he once belonged (the Tojo Clan) has had 10 billion yen (approx. $100 million US) stolen from them, and the entire Japanese underworld is now searching for the money. The game was heavily acclaimed in Japan for being the first game to explore Yakuza culture with such depth and as it is claimed
authenticity to the nature of Japan's criminal underground (info from Wikipedia).
The series is basically old school Beat 'em Up
with a sandbox setting
and RPG elements
. While you can just follow the story and play it as a straightforward beat 'em up, there are TONS of sidequests, minigames and secrets to do and find, many of them quite challenging, unique, even funny sometimes. Players can help people on the street with myriad problems, find hidden illegal gambling halls to play in, go to the batting cage to hit a few balls or find an enigmatic martial artist
to learn many powerful moves from. And in good ol' Shōnen
series fashion, there's even underground fighting tournaments to participate in, complete with a caged arena. The amount of things to do in the games is mindblowing.
Fighting enemies earns you experience points to gain new moves to punish them with, and you can also learn new moves by doing sidequests. There's also tons of items and equipment to find, and you can even create your own. The series is considered by many players to be the spiritual successor to Shenmue
, and is also compared to such classic old-school series as Streets of Rage
and River City Ransom
There have been five games in the main series, with Yakuza 4
being the last to receive an international release. There's also a spin-off called Ryu ga Gotoku Kenzan!
that takes place in feudal Japan, starring Kiryu Kazuma-no-suke. A very combat-oriented PSP spinoff called Kurohyou: Ryu ga Gotoku Shinshou
focuses on the life of underground fighter Ukyou Tatsuya. The spin-off featuring characters from the main series, Ryu ga Gotoku: Of The End
/Yakuza: Dead Souls
, takes place during an... umm... outbreak of the living dead
. As you may have guessed, this is not canon.Ryu ga Gotoku 5
was released in Japan in December 2012, featuring five different protagonists and cities
. It received a perfect 40/40 score from Famitsu
magazine, a first for the series. Sega has shut down its Western Yakuza
websites, cementing the idea that they won't be exporting the games. However, during the 20th anniversary Playstation Experience conference, Sony Computer Entertainment America announced that Yakuza 5 will be released in Summer 2015 as a PSN digital download
A prequel titled Ryu ga Gotoku 0: Chikai no Basho
(The Location of the Oath) was announced for the PS3 and PS4 on August 24, 2014. Scaling back from the fifth game, it focuses on the exploits of Kiryu and Majima during December of 1988 and will show how they became the people they are as of Yakuza 1
This game series includes examples of: