Yakuza recommendation

Hi guys,

Just got xbox game pass and there is a very broad backlog of Yakuza games. I never played any of them and always wanted to. Any recommendations for which would be the 1st/better to start playing? I know is a long running series and that the story is complicated, but I dont really mind losing part of the story, so it doesn't have to be the 1st canonical game in the time line.

Thanks, Andy

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I think there are two routes you can go depending on your own personal #gamingpreferences

A - play in order of story chronology (start with zero, then kiwami 1, kiwami 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

B - start with kiwami 1, then kiwami 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 0, 7

The reason I'd present option B is that kiwami 1 is a dressed-up PS2 game, so looks and feels stiffer and has less stuff in it, so it's essentially a step back from 0. If you think that going from arguably the best game in the series (0) to the most aged would sour you, then choose option B. If you're ok with that, then go option A

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I guess if you‘re going to start with Kiwami 1, then it doesn’t really matter when you play 0 other than the callbacks and reframing it does as a prequel will be more satisfying the more of the series you‘ve played. The dilemma is how long you want to wait to play 0 bc it’s a great game

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I 1000000% recommend starting with Zero because it's great and will make you want to play more of them. then you can go in order after that and watch the series slowly decline but still enjoy it anyway.

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Great will start with Zero then, from what you are both saying is the best in the series. Would rather start from that one then rather than build expectations as not sure I will be able to play them all anyway so would rather start with it.



@“exodus”#p84496 Yeah, and ironically (and atm) is where I like Kiryu the best. He's so fish out of the water sometimes that it helps build not only comedy but also some great dramatic moments. I guess this is why I also love Ichiban as a character so much, too.

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@“exodus”#p84496 What do you consider to be elements of decline in the series? I’ve played every single one including the PS2/Japan only games and feel like with Lost Judgment it continues to iterate and improve in a lot of ways.

I played them in this order: 3, 4, Dead Souls, Judgment, 0, Kiwami, Kiwami 2, 5 Remastered, 6

I started with 3 and got hooked for years so that must work. But everyone will tell you to start with 0. There's a lot to like in 5 but it's the longest and most poorly paced so that's the only definitely wrong place to start.

And reflecting on the writing and quality a bit, there are strong games and weaker ones but there's no pattern of decline over time in my opinion. I will definitely try Like a Dragon but I am not sure I want an RPG.

0 is a good place to start, with the only problem that you‘re going to play one of the best games in the whole series first, and that might set up the wrong expectations, the jump from 0 to Kiwami 1 is harsh if you don’t know what you‘re getting into, but otherwise it’s a good choice. You‘ll also probably miss a couple of things related to Majima that are a bit hard to understand if you haven’t played 4.

A lot of people got into the series by doing 3 or 4 first, and watching the extensive and well done story summaries of the other games included, then went on from there. And if nothing else, there is emulating the PS2 games.

There is no clear cut go to solution in this case imho, and probably the best way to go is pick whatever game you happen to have access to for whatever reason and just jump into it.

Order A (actual recommendation): 0, K1, K2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, J, LJ

As noted by many, this is probably your best bet. There will be a downward bump in quality between K2 and 3, but you'll soon get over it since 3 is so good anyway. _Judgment_ and _Lost Judgment_ are of course optional but you'll want to play them anyway so visit those once you're done with the main series. Visit other spin-offs once you're done too.

**Order B (connoisseur recommendation): 1, 2, 3, 4, DS, 5, 0, K1, 6, K2, J, 7, LJ**

The originals on PS2 still hold up, and playing in order of release gives a smoother technological progression. _Kiwami_ 1 & 2 (and soon Ishin!) vary enough from their source material that it's worth experiencing the differences. Language barrier permitting, insert any of the spin-offs in their appropriate places too. I like _Dead Souls_, stupid as it is.

Playing 0 _after_ 4 / 5 gives a very different perspective on the story and I love that it can be experienced in both contexts. You'll get a "so THAT'S what happened!" moment whichever order you go with, either in 4 or 0, with a certain part of a certain character's past explored over the course of multiple games. Super clever. See you in five years.


@“JCP”#p84608 elements of decline

you didn’t ask me but for sake of discussion imo it’s the slide into self-reference/self-regard and “positivity.” Better when it’s straight ahead, uncomplicated melodrama I think

@"billy "#p84709 Also, the good part about the Judgment/Lost Judgment or the spinoffs is that you can play them whenever you want, and Judgment imo feels really good to punch and progress in the game.

In my personal experience Judgment can be slightly disappointing from the perspective of a longtime fan that has grown attached to a particular style of humor and tone, so perhaps that‘s a good place to start as well, you’ll get to grow attached to Kamurocho and its multiple layers of shenanigans the other way around.

Damn now I’m having to rethink my play order too. I’ve only played Kiwami 1 so far, but after I beat that I bought the rest of the series. I was thinking I should go back and play 0 next, but if 0 also works well sometime after playing 4, then I might want to just play Kiwami 2 next…

So considering I already beat Kiwami 1, which of these paths makes more sense?

**K1**, 0, K2, 3, 4, 5, 6
**K1**, K2, 3, 4, 5, 0, 6

@“yeso”#p84712 I think I might get what you mean though even Lost Judgment has its fair share of melodrama. By positivity do you mean the game’s more comedic tone it takes in the side stories or perhaps a message reinforced in the main narrative? Thinking back on literally every game I’d say that’s been a constant of Yakuza storytelling. Anything self referential is there to establish its connections to past games with returning characters and story elements. I personally quite like this approach as it allows you to see a character’s journey through multiple games and judging by the two new sequels that have been announced I’d wager they’re doubling down on that.

@“tanuki”#p84696 I’ve heard the sentiment echoed for quite some time now that Like A Dragon is a totally different game from the rest of the series though I will say the only thing that has changed is the combat. I consider every single Yakuza game a JRPG and Like A Dragon shares every element established in pervious games. If you don’t much care for turn-based combat than you might not like it. However I found the system to be more action’y if that makes sense. It feels like an extension of the beat ‘em up combat but you’re just selecting commands.

Yeso is a cold slavic 58 year old man that doesn‘t enjoy being exposed to positive feelings too directly (just kidding yeso please don’t be mad).

@"Danimal"#p84733 Going for Kiwami 2 is what makes more sense here if you have already finished K1 I would say. Play 0 after finishing either 4 or 5.


@“JCP”#p84734 By positivity

I'm thinking of the goldfish brain "just do your best" lazy positivity in 7, particularly around its completely sanitized "support" of the homeless and sex
workers. Also the series increasing reliance on having to "redeem" every character. And the humor gradually goes from more understated to laying it
on bit too thick imo

The goofy crime soap opera aspect is fine


@“JoJoestar”#p84738 doesn’t enjoy being exposed to positive feelings too directly

it's more that I don't trust them

@“Danimal”#p84733 In your situation, my recommendation would be to insert 0 after either 4 or 5 and experience that little cluster together.

IN FACT, people quite often get bored by the long detours taken during 5 where the gameplay significantly deviates from the norm for hours at a time. Should that happen to you, it would also be acceptable to play 0 **during** 5.

@"billy "#p84742 interesting… I was assuming that 0 only had callbacks (call-forwards?) to Yakuza 1 and 2, but if it ties in that well with 4 and 5, then maybe it does make sense for me to wait and play it later. Thanks for the reccomendation!