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The Dragon of Dojima returns.

"Majima, I need you to support Daigo."
Kazuma Kiryu
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Yakuza 3 is the fourth entry in the Yakuza series, following the Japan-exclusive spin-off Ryū ga Gotoku Kenzan!, and the second game in the series to appear on the PlayStation 3. It was released in February 2009 in Japan, and the following year in the west. A remastered port for the Playstation 4 was released in August 2018 in Japan and August 2019 in the west as part of the Yakuza Remastered collection.

After the last game, Kazuma Kiryu has now moved to Okinawa and is in charge of the Sunshine Orphanage along with his adopted niece, Haruka. The Orphanage is on a land that is owned by Shigeru Nakahara, the boss of a local yakuza clan known as the Ryudo Family. Nakahara is under pressure from the country's government to sell the land, which is planned to become a seaside resort. When his friend Daigo Dojima, Sixth Chairman of the Tojo Clan, is shot by a hitman bearing a familiar face, Kiryu must deal with the three gang bosses who arranged the attempted murder, and returns to the life he thought he left behind. Expect a large amount of Chronic Backstabbing Disorder.

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This game has a little change of pace compared to Yakuza 2. The first quarter of the game only sees Kiryu in Okinawa with his kids, dealing with their various problems and occasionally butting heads with the local yakuza. However, once Kiryu learns more about the issues threatening the orphanage, he finds himself sucked back into the underworld and the life he thought he left behind.

Although not as well-received as Yakuza 2, the game was also a bit notorious for the localized versions having omitted content compared to its original Japanese release. However, these features would return in the next game, Yakuza 4.

A remastered version of the game was released on the PlayStation 4 in Japan in August 2018 and a year later in Western territories. Unlike the previous two games, it will not be a Kiwami remake, instead opting for a straight remaster. Along with a boost in performance, the Remastered version includes much of the original game's cut content and adds a few new touches such as a substory finder and English karaoke lyrics, although some things have been removed in all versions.

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Yakuza 3/Ryū ga Gotoku 3 includes examples of:

  • Apathetic Teacher: After Shiro tells Kiryu that he got bullied constantly at school, the latter decided to phone up the teacher, Mr. Hashimoto, who denies anything like that is happening at his school at all, claiming that he had enough complaints from several parents that their children are being bullied. To make it worse, the main source of the bullying was from his own bratty son.
  • Alternate World Map: Downtown Ryukyu.
  • Abhorrent Admirer: Kiryu's animal magnetism draws the attention of the Drag Queen Michiru, causing 'her' to stalk you through several pulse-pounding chase-scenes. How is it possible to run that fast on high heels? The world may never know...
  • And Your Little Dog, Too!: Mine & the Tamashiro family destroys the orphanage For the Evulz during the climax.
  • Animal Motifs:
    • Kazuma Kiryu: Silver dragon
    • Rikiya Shimabukuro: Viper
    • Shigeru Nakahara: Shisa
    • Goro Majima: Oni
    • Yoshitaka Mine: Kirin
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Essence of Pole Dancing. Learned by watching a drunk perform a pole dance on a lamppost, it does good damage, is an incredibly flashy looking hurricane, and... well, was learned by watching a drunk perform a pole dance on a lamppost. However, it uses up your HEAT gauge and far more importantly, instantly removes your drunken status. Also it's very easy to accidentally do when you're trying to perform another HEAT action.
  • Ax-Crazy: Kanda. But he's more bark than bite.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • Shintaro Kazama/Fuma, Kiryu's father figure who was killed in the first game, suddenly returns as an antagonist and drives most of the game's conflict. Averted. It's his younger brother that no one knew about.
    • Lau Ka Long. Considering he doesn't survive this encounter, this is also a case of Back for the Dead.
  • Badass in Distress: Daigo Dojima. Merely a year after he's named Tojo Clan's 6th Chairman, he gets shot. He spends the rest of the game in a hospital bed, target of various assassinations attempts. He gets better.
  • Banana Peel: Kiryu discovers his Revelation for Hell's Floor from a hapless man slipping on a banana peel.
  • Big Bad: Yoshitaka Mine
  • Big Damn Villains:
    • The apparent Big Bad of the third game saves Rikiya from a beheading. He does the same thing later, but he's a little too late that time.
    • In the finale, Mine takes himself and Andre Richardson out with a suplex off a 30-story building
  • Bilingual Dialogue: As this takes place in Japan, everyone speaks in Japanese. When Kiryu encounters Andre Richardson, leader of Black Monday, Andre speaks in English as he is an American. They are still able to understand each other nonetheless.
  • Black Comedy Rape: The focus of any substories involving Michiru, a Creepy Crossdresser who Kiryu saves and has to run away from, with dire consequences should he fail.
  • Boom, Headshot!: How Joji Kazama/Fuma kills Tamashiro before he could shoot Kiryu. He also killed Lau Ka Long this way.
  • Bowdlerise:
    • In addition to cutting large portions of the gameplay out, various controversial aspects of the script were removed or toned down in the English translation, such as Riona's dislike of Mitsuo, originally due to racism, and the Big Bad's motivations, which were more explicitly romantic in nature.
    • The PS4 remaster removes Kiryu's cigarette on the cover as well as the substories involving Michiru, which has since become controversial due to the changes in Japan's current social atmosphere.
  • Boss Battle:
  • The Cameo: Akimoto and Mizuki return yet again, and it's up to Kiryu and Haruka to help them and their messed up relationship. How messed up? Mizuki reveals she can't be together with Akimoto because they're actually brother and sister, separated at birth, which shocks Akimoto until he realizes if they're family, they'll spend the rest of their lives together anyway. Turns out it was a lie and Akimoto plans to throw himself off a roof again, and Mizuki almost joins in. The two substories involving both characters were removed in the original PS3 English localization but were restored in the remaster.
  • Central Theme: Losing something important to the characters involved, wherever it's family, friends or their homes, everyone's got something to lose in this story.
  • Chase Scene: New to the series is a mechanic that requires Kiryu to chase down another character on foot while avoiding objects and other people, although in some instances he's the one being chased after and has to outrun whoever's trying to catch him. It can turn into something of a Chase Fight against enemies as they try to throw objects at Kiryu and he has to charge into them to take them down.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: One of the most criticized aspects of the third game is that the beginning (and one point in the middle) is spent taking care of the Sunshine Orphanage's children and their minimal problems, as opposed to the dealings and conflicts of the Japanese mafia, which is the main hook of the series.
  • Disney Death:
    • Mikio gets the back of his head bashed by a Tamashiro thug's sledgehammer and survives a while later.
    • Kiryu is confronted by Hamazaki in the ending and is stabbed in the gut. The post-credits scene shows he survives.
  • Disney Villain Death: Mine and Richardson.
  • Dub Name Change: The new proprietress for New Serena and Date's love interest, who is named "Mama" in Japan and "Mariko" overseas. Also applies to Joji Kazama, to keep it consistent with his brother.
  • Establishing Character Moment: When the three patriarchs running for the top position of the Tojo Clan are introduced. Hamazaki is shown using threats and intimidation toward the owner of a Chinese restaurant before he has the place blown up. Kanda is heard having his way with a woman before he's summoned for a meeting, in which he aggressively slaps his subordinates and loudly calls for war. Mine is shown boxing against a punching bag in his office and has a business meeting cancelled to attend to the Tojo Clan's needs.
  • Expy: Doctor Minamida, who runs the IF7 virtual reality mini-game, bears a striking resemblance to Doc Brown.
  • Fishing Minigame: Yakuza 3 introduces the fishing mini-game, where Kiryu can catch fish and other items to sell at food markets or pawn shops.
  • Game Within a Game: The game also introduces the fast-paced arcade shooter, Boxcelios, which can be played at Club Sega.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The severed head (or body part) of Tsuyoshi Kanda is never seen on camera when Mine brings it to Kiryu and company.
  • Hate Sink:
    • Tetsuo Tamashiro. Unlike other yakuza bosses who are ruthless in their ambitious, he stands out as being an immensely cruel bastard who has no qualms inflicting pain on everyone around him, including women and children.
    • Saki's mother. Good lord, Saki's alcoholic and party-going poor excuse for a mother who sees her child as the source of all her problems.
  • Hide Your Children: Averted not only with the Sunshine Orphanage kids, but other kids can be seen walking around Downtown Ryukubu as well.
  • Identical Stranger: Much of the plot's conflict revolves around a man who bears a striking resemblance to the late Kazama/Fuma, who was believed to be dead. Who knew he had a younger brother?
  • Info Dump: Hoo boy, you might want to go make a sandwich before going to meet Defense Minister Tamiya. That conversation lasts about 35 minutes, and there is no real interaction from the player aside from "pick the next question".
  • Kids Are Cruel: You would think that some of the orphans at Sunshine Orphanage are a bit of this, but the definitive ones go to the kids that invite Riona to the movies and discriminate against her for her burnt scars. It was so horrible of them that Mitsuo tried to fight them off.
    • The bratty son of the teacher is a complete asshole to anyone in his class, even threatens to have his dad's friend shut down Sunshine Orphanage just because he supposedly can. More than likely, he uses his position as the teacher's son to throw his weight around.
  • Kingpin in His Gym: Mine is shown kickboxing with a sandbag in a cutscene because the game wants you to know that he's no pushover. Which you end up learning by yourself since he is the Final Boss.
  • The Lancer: Rikiya Shimabukuro
  • Man Behind the Man: Andre Richardson
  • Manly Tears: Kiryu actually sheds these when Rikiya dies. Seeing the usually stone-faced Kiryu bawling in grief is one of the absolute biggest tear jerkers in the entire series. You know from this moment on that someone is GOING TO FUCKING DIE.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": In the game's prologue chapter, Kiryu is repeatedly hounded by some mooks claiming to be part of the Kazama/Fuma clan. When their boss appears, he recognizes Kiryu as the Fourth Chairman of the Tojo Clan, much to the horror of his underlings.
  • Oddly Small Organization: The Ryudo Family seems to only be made up of three members, Nakahara the boss and his two Lieutenants Rikiya and Mikio, whom we never see leading any foot solders even when they would have been really useful.
    • In-Universe example with the Hamazaki family. They are one of the most powerful families in the Tojo clan but they only have ten members when a family with that much territory should have several hundred.note 
  • Redemption Equals Death: Yoshitaka Mine.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni:
  • Rhythm Game: Yakuza 3 was the first in the series to include karaoke, where buttons are pressed with the timing of the music, and this mechanic would quickly become a staple of future installments.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Kiryu's first reaction once he's subjected to the advances of Michiru is to run like hell. And Michiru isn't one to give up so quickly.
  • Shout-Out: Rikiya has a tattoo of a pit viper on his back, and he refers to himself as "The Fighting Viper."
  • Shoot Him! He Has a... Wallet: Zig-zagged. It's the reason why Daigo was shot; Joji was reaching for something in his coat, which Daigo mistook for a gun and reached for his, which ended up getting him shot by the other agent in the room.
  • Spoiler Opening: In the opening video, Mine is shown to be Not So Stoic, which would be a surprise considering his seemingly low-importance for most of the game. The scene comes from the final chapter in the game, no less.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Kashiwagi is killed early in the game when he and Kiryu are attacked by a helicopter.
  • Taking the Bullet: Rikiya takes one for Kiryu.
  • Taking You with Me: To make up for his actions, Mine takes Richardson and himself out by falling off the roof of a building.
  • Therapy Is for the Weak: Yoshitaka Mine, again.
  • Time Skip: The game takes place in March of 2009 and begins with two characters getting shot which trigger the plot. The game then goes back to the ending of Yakuza 2 in January 2007 where Kiryu and Kaoru go their separate ways, he and Haruka return to Kamurocho to say goodbye to their friends, and Kiryu convinces Majima to return to the Tojo Clan. Six months later in Okinawa during the summer of '07, the orphans are introduced and Kiryu faces an eviction notice from the Ryuko family, who he later ends up befriending. The game then returns to the present time of March '09.
  • Victory Fakeout: Happens in the second fight against the CIA agent. Shortly after he goes down, he'll attack Kiryu from behind, and he's much stronger than before.
  • Watching Troy Burn: Haruka, Mitsuo, Rikiya and the orphans watch as Sunshine Orphanage gets demolished by the Big Bad and the Tamashiro family, as mentioned in Wham Episode.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 11. Sunshine Orphanage is bulldozed by Mine and the Tamashiro family, Mikio is almost killed via a sledgehammer to the skull, Nakahara is captured and thrown into a bullring, Saki finds her voice at last, the Tamashiro family and its bulls get a collective ass-whooping, and Rikiya heroically takes a bullet meant for Kiryu and dies. The last one is particuarly shocking, as Rikiya is the only ally in the entire game who dies.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Averted with Hamazaki.
    • Played straight with the side mission involving Rikiya finding his childhood friend working in a pole dancing club. He promises to take her out of this lifestyle for good, but he's killed later on. The girl is never brought up in the main storyline, and how she feels about her White Knight being dead is left unknown.
  • Would Hit a Girl / Would Hurt a Child:
    • After Haruka delivers an Armor-Piercing Slap to Mine, he returns the favor.
    • Tetsuo Tamashiro slapped Saki's mother and then almost knifed her across the face after refusing her request to become family.
  • Yandere: Yoshitaka Mine, again. He can't bear to see the usually strong Daigo on the verge of death, not knowing if he'll live of die, so he'd rather put him quickly out of his misery than see him suffer.
  • You Are Too Late: Right after Tamashiro ends up shooting Rikiya, he's shot in the head from a distance from Joji. Joji realizes he didn't make it in time, and poor Rikiya dies shortly afterward.
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