• Publisher: Sega
  • Release Date: Sep 5, 2006
Yakuza Image
Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 58 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 113 Ratings

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  • Summary: (Known in Japan as "Ryu Ga Gotoku") In a society where respect and honor holds great importance, there is an even higher regard for these traits within the one organization that is most feared by all: the Yakuza. Kiryu Kazuma – a former rising star in the Yakuza who is rebuilding his life(Known in Japan as "Ryu Ga Gotoku") In a society where respect and honor holds great importance, there is an even higher regard for these traits within the one organization that is most feared by all: the Yakuza. Kiryu Kazuma – a former rising star in the Yakuza who is rebuilding his life after serving a 10-year prison term for murder – suddenly finds himself caught in a spiraling underworld plot involving a mysterious girl known as Haruka and a missing $100 million. Kazuma must use his fists and his wits to stay alive as he unravels the complex web of truth and lies that surrounds the notorious Yakuza. Yakuza delivers a balance of action and adventure with its immersive storyline and stylish fighting mechanics created specifically for the game. Players can string together attack combinations to take out multiple enemies in sidewalk showdowns, while defending the Yakuza territory and reputation by picking up weapons to crush opponents. Kazuma can also "educate" delinquent debtors through visceral shakedowns by grabbing and smashing them against walls and tables, then delivering final skull-shattering blows when the Heat Gauge is maximized. With a customizable status gauge, players can increase strength, stamina, and skills through combat. [Sega] Expand
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Yakuza Gameplay Movie 8
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 58
  2. Negative: 2 out of 58
  1. Play Magazine
    95
    A long and riveting story, plenty of freedom and a fantastic battle system have earned it a spot on my all-time Playstation 2 top 10 list. [Sept 2006, p.52]
  2. PSM Magazine
    85
    With its compelling characters and story, Yakuza is still a remarkable game. [Oct 2006, p.72]
  3. The action comes fast, the plot is exciting, and you couldn’t ask for a better brawler near the end of the PlayStation 2's life cycle.
  4. Yakuza is the best example I’ve seen in a long time of just how much a great story can elevate a good game.
  5. A good story, decent length and immersive gameplay make the game shine, but lots of loading, vague subquests and camera control hold it back somewhat.
  6. A good game that never seems in danger of being great. It’s like exploring a slice of life in another culture; you’re not quite sure what you’re going to get but you keep trying to get something.
  7. Roam around Tokyo, find some bad guys, see some load screens, a couple of cut-scenes, some more load screens, press some buttons in fight mode and so on.

See all 58 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. May 26, 2011
    10
    this game does not have a name or the packaging like god of war or devil may cry that easily acttracts gamers and so it's often overlooked.this game does not have a name or the packaging like god of war or devil may cry that easily acttracts gamers and so it's often overlooked. And who can blame us,i mean who really cares about yakuzas (i know i don't) but after a friend recommended it to me i finally got the game and i was so glad i did. The story in this game can only be found in a great movie or a best seller novel for it's that damn good.it involves love,betrayer,honour and even tragedy.after taking the fall for his best friend,our hero gets out of prison only to find out his girlfriend is missing,betaryed by bestfriend and yakuza world in chaos.he must protect a mysterious little who would lead him to the truth. With awesome characters,great combat system,free roaming gameplay and great looking cut scenes i must say yakuza is a master piece. A game for only hardcore gamers,casual gamers be warned Expand
  2. Jul 4, 2016
    10
    the beginning of the legend
    the story is so touching
    everything in this game is perfect i played this game on ps3 , ps2 and ps4 i beat
    the beginning of the legend
    the story is so touching
    everything in this game is perfect
    i played this game on ps3 , ps2 and ps4
    i beat this game for about 5 times
    this's where you should spend your money in !
    Expand
  3. Mithyus
    Apr 1, 2007
    10
    Kazuma and his story are entangling and amazing from start to end, and while the gameplay plays as a lesser element, it still does a pretty Kazuma and his story are entangling and amazing from start to end, and while the gameplay plays as a lesser element, it still does a pretty decent job. Expand
  4. MaxT.
    Sep 29, 2006
    9
    Best game I've played in along time, fraction to easy.
  5. GioD
    Apr 10, 2008
    9
    Damn...talk about a TRUE underrated gem. Yakuza,from top to bottom, is just a fantastic game. The story is (in my opinion) 1 of the best everDamn...talk about a TRUE underrated gem. Yakuza,from top to bottom, is just a fantastic game. The story is (in my opinion) 1 of the best ever in the history of videogames. Its LIITTERALY a phenominal crime/mafia novel in videogame form and its 1 (of the many) strongest things about the game. Main character Kazuma is a true badass who has a huge amount of honor and is insanely likeable because of it. He's just a great character all around. The city that you explore is so alive that it just completely took me by surprise. It really feels like a living, breathing place that exists. And theres TONS to do in it. Bored? Go to a strip club. Feeling down? Go to bars and get drunk. Need some "action"? Meet up with escorts and have a good time. Feel like spending some dough? Go to the gambling casino's and let the good times roll. The variety in the game is delieverd in spades. Yakuza also has a very solid and easy to learn fighting system. Every punch, kick, throw, etc is meet with satisfying bone crushing impact. The more you fight, the more expirence you gain, the more moves you learn. Voice acting is great all around, controls are very simple to learn, and the graphics are some of the very best on the PS2. The ONLY negative a can come up with is that it does have alot of loading. It just sucks that part 3 just got released in japan and we have yet to get part 2. Here's to hoping it may come state side. One of the very best games on PS2. Expand
  6. AndrewL.
    Sep 14, 2007
    8
    This game has so much potential that was not utilized. The story and characters are great. There is entirely too much cursing and the beat This game has so much potential that was not utilized. The story and characters are great. There is entirely too much cursing and the beat downs you administer to others quickly get old. I like how when you get approched by a thug he says a curse word that can only be described as sounding like a chicken cluck. The game is plagued with bad camera angles that do not make the game unmanageble but do make it annoying. The weapons system is not unlike streets of rage in that you use a weapon so many times than it is disgarded, but I think the game could benefit from permanent weapons. Despite all the things I have said it is still a good game and is very enjoyable. It however just lacks the refinement required to make it a great game. Expand
  7. Apr 22, 2018
    5
    I've made it just past the halfway point (Chapter 7: Dragon and Koi) and color me unimpressed. I've played the remake of this game with KiwamiI've made it just past the halfway point (Chapter 7: Dragon and Koi) and color me unimpressed. I've played the remake of this game with Kiwami and would honestly recommend sticking to that superior version rather than slogging through the antiquated original release that Yakuza purists seem to hold in the most favorable of a light.

    The combat system is clunky and not up to par considering how much the game relies on it as its primary form of gameplay. Doesn't feel too bad when you first boot up the game, but as time goes on you really start to feel where it's lacking. First, when fighting big, aggressive groups of enemies they can easily wear you like an oven mitt as you can get locked into a series of hits without much recourse other than getting knocked down with some distance between the two of you so that you can recover or for there to be a break in the barrage of fists for you to strike back. There is a “lock-on” functionality called “shifting” that is meant to hone in on an enemy and let you dodge, but it also isn’t up to snuff as Kazuma will lose it entirely at times and you’ll be left with a rousing round of shadow boxing with a ghost while the enemy combatants queue up to bugger you. Also, the camera just can’t seem to be able to keep up with the action as you dodge around and whatnot, but the camera thinks the wall to your back is particularly interesting rather than the three thugs in front of you with knives brandished. This becomes especially annoying when you go up against Majima at the batting cages and thanks to how much he dodges around good luck keeping him in the frame for more than a split second or the GB Holmes fight where you’re in an octagon with no one other than Holmes present and he doesn’t move fast and the camera still can’t manage to keep the guy in view. Hope you enjoy getting sucker punched by a freight train because I lost this fight so much the game actually offered to drop to “EASY Difficulty” I bested him without needing to, but I wasn’t losing because I hadn’t grasped the mechanics of the game and, therefore, wasn’t utilizing them properly, but because the mechanics haven’t been refined enough. I also hope you are an individual who pines for commitment because when it comes to dishing out a combo and you miss the guy your swinging at you can’t adjust midstream to the direction he currently is in; however, you do get a move that’s meant to compensate for this by allowing you to swing in the opposite direction with your final hit, but it doesn’t make too much a difference on top of the previously mentioned shortcomings of the combat system which in time does get to be pretty samey. Oh, if you're expecting some of those glorious HEAT actions that the series is known for I’d go ahead curb your expectations right now as they’re pretty limited and unexceptional to the current repute of the series.

    Now let’s toss some shade at the localization and how lacking it is. You won’t have a choice between an English or Japanese dub so you’ll be stuck listening to the mediocre English actor's drone their way through the script, but hey, at least, you get Mark Hamill doing a withheld Joker impersonation with Majima so there is that. In all seriousness, no one brings their A-game to this project with Haruka’s voice actress phoning it in hard as can be. Also, Kazuma’s voice actor seems to be no prize himself as he repeated just one tone throughout only slightly raising it if Kazuma becomes uncertain. At the best of times it gets the job done, no more no less, other times you’ll think “I’m not a voice actor, but I could give a more enthusiastic performance than these twits!” Oh, and the script holy jumping **** Jesus this script. I’ve played other Yakuza titles so I have a definitive feeling towards how the scripts are structured with the odd expletive here and there for some added emphasis, but this script feels as though they handed it a thirteen-year-old and really emphasized the aspect that it pertains to criminals as it is especially “try-hard”. Multiple instances of the word **** are liberally peppered throughout the script with retard thrown in for good measure. If you’ve any familiarity with these characters or world then you know how off-model this is for them. I got nothing against profanity, but it needs to be used properly and with some care or otherwise, it starts to sound less like believable, engaging dialogue and more akin to Timmy just learned about swearing and he thinks it’s just ****

    Pro-tip: Stick with Yakuza Kiwami for experiencing the first game of the series as this one doesn’t hold up much at all. Kiwami not only being superior in the gameplay department, but it added an additional story beats like the fall/rise of Nishikiyama which really gives much more depth to his character rather than coming off as more of a rival to Kazuma.
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See all 21 User Reviews

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Awards & Rankings

43
23
#23 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2006
17
#17 Most Shared PS2 Game of 2006