It's official! From today you can now play every mainline Yakuza entry on Xbox and there's never been a better time to dive in. From the melodramatic intensity of Yakuza 0, all the way to the over-the-top nature of Yakuza: Like A Dragon - the series has something for everyone. Outside of the latter, they're all on Xbox Game Pass, too, meaning members of the service have hundreds of hours worth of incredible games to dive into. If you're not convinced still, we've compiled five reasons why you totally should be downloading the entire collection right now.
If there's one thing that keeps Yakuza fans invested, it's the story. Each entry builds upon the last with further world building, characters, and narratives filled with twists and turns. For series long fans, plotlines pay off in big ways in numerous entries down the line, but the self contained adventures are just as engaging. If you've never played one before, we recommend Yakuza 0. It's built as a perfect entry point for newcomers, introducing players into the seedy underbelly of Japan. But if you've seen the latest Yakuza: Like A Dragon gameplay and are more interested in that, then you can easily hop in there too. It acts as a soft reboot for the series, and we're hoping it's paving a long future ahead.
Of course, these narratives wouldn't have long time fans returning if they weren't already invested in the characters. Luckily, the Yakuza series manages to perfectly construct many likeable protagonists, as well as antagonists you will want to strangle. The first time you step into the shoes of the main hero Kazuma Kiyru, you'll instantly want to see his story through to the end. Even other characters you embody, such as the eccentric Goro Majima will have you invested. When the characters stories intertwine, unravel, and connect with one another, you'll be pointing at your screen like the popular Leonardo DiCaprio meme, and we wouldn't blame you.
When you first hop into one of the games, you may be disappointed in how small the map is - but don't be fooled. Inside these small environments is a city packed full of of personality, life, and things to do. Each area is filled with shops, arcades, bowling alleys, cafes, go-kart tracks, and more - the list is pretty much endless. You won't be able to walk more than ten steps without finding something to distract yourself with. We're embarrassed by the amount of times we've abandoned pivotal missions to go exploring. We should be ashamed - but we're not.
It wouldn't be a Yakuza game without some mini-games, and each entry has you covered by the bucket load. We could probably do a list based on the best examples in all the games, but we wouldn't be able to stop at five or ten. Each one could easily be fleshed out into its own game. Yakuza 6: The Song of Life even has a baseball management sim that made this writer care about the sport. If the game can do that, it can pretty much do anything. From Mario Kart clones, to retro games in the SEGA Arcade such as Outrun, you can easily double your playtime from these alone.
If you've ever spoken to a Yakuza fan, there's one word they'll always use to describe the brilliance of the series - sub-stories. These small crafted narratives are basically side quests, but pack in so much of what makes the franchise so great. They're oozing with charm, humour, and heart, as you help out a variety of the locales in increasingly odd and unusual tasks. One minute you'll be helping a Michael Jackson knock-off on his latest music video, the next you'll join an underground cult to save someone's daughter. These are the heart of Yakuza, and finding each weird and wacky narrative to tell your friends to check out is one of its most unique quirks.
Are these enough reasons for you to check out the Yakuza series on Xbox? Let us know in the comments below.