What’s Your Favorite Yakuza, aka Like a Dragon, Game?

What's Your Best Favorite Yakuza, aka Like a Dragon, Game?

The Yakuza series, now known as Like a Dragon since Sega is trying to make “fetch” happen and the title more similar to the Japanese title of Ryu Ga Gotoku, is a formidable one! There are mainline entries! There are remakes and remasters! There are spin-offs! It’s a lot! So we figured now’s a good time to talk about the Yakuza games we like best now that Like a Dragon: Ishin launched.

It’s an unpopular choice, but I absolutely love Yakuza 3. Yoshitaka Mine is one of my favorite antagonists in the series, hands down, for how he works as a foil to Kiryu. And the game’s discussion of social othering and the discrimination orphans face in Japan are not only integral to the cast of characters, but provide valuable cultural context that players can learn a lot from. Obviously, it has it’s flaws, but Yakuza 3 is still one of my favorites in the series hands down. — Kazuma

What's Your Best Favorite Yakuza, aka Like a Dragon, Game?

Usually the first game of a series holds a special place in my heart, except that my first exposure to the Yakuza series was through Yakuza 4. It was all because of Hiroki Narimiya, and he isn’t even Tanimura anymore. So, yeah, Yakuza 4 ain’t it. This question was actually really hard because I love both Yakuza 0 and Yakuza: Like a Dragon equally. But Yakuza: Like a Dragon wins by a margin.

The writing for Yakuza: Like a Dragon was amazing; like, all of the Yakuza games have a story that has me reaching for the popcorn. But all of the revelations at the end in regards to Ichiban and Masato’s families gave me goosebumps. What did Yakuza 0 do for me besides give me a headache because I cried too much over Majima and Makoto? And I really liked the fun party interactions in Yakuza: Like a Dragon! That was the kind of banter I was dying for in 4, but never got. The RPG genre really worked in its favor in terms of both comedy and personal preference. I’m so excited to see Ichiban and his little friends again in Like a Dragon 8! — Stephanie

I often like to play at being a Yakuza hipster, as I liked the game despite its goofy, star-studded original English dub. I even imported Yakuza 2, which at the time received what seemed to be such a limited releases in North America that copies were basically unheard of.

That said, I think the game that really sealed it for me, in retrospect, was seeing Yakuza 0 catapult the franchise into much wider recognition. Putting the PS4 update front and center for Sega’s renewed push of the series was the epitome of “Best foot foward”, and it worked. Plus, placing the story at the height of Japan’s bubble era gave Kiryu and Majima’s early adventures a kind of atmosphere that was largely absent from the other, more contemporary games. Yakuza 0 is a vision of Japanese gangsters at the height of their mythic power, and it’s a thrilling ride. — Josh

Yakuza 0

I agree with Josh. It’s got to be Yakuza 0. The minigames are on point. (I love running the hostess club!) You can play Fantasy Zone, Out Run, Space Harrier, and Super Hang-On. It does a great job of establishing both Goro Majima and Kazuma Kiryu. It makes you want to get invested in their stories and continue through the additional installments. Not to mention it includes the two best NPCs ever, Nugget and The Obatarian. Yakuza 0 is the best entry in the series. — Jenni

Jenni Lada
Jenni is Editor-in-Chief at Siliconera and has been playing games since getting access to her parents' Intellivision as a toddler. She continues to play on every possible platform and loves all of the systems she owns. (These include a PS4, Switch, Xbox One, WonderSwan Color and even a Vectrex!) You may have also seen her work at GamerTell, Cheat Code Central, Michibiku and PlayStation LifeStyle.