I want to play the Yakuza series. Where do I start?

Jack Bauer

Member
Jun 14, 2019
155
Shenmue is my all-time favorite game series. And because of this, people have been telling me that I absolutely must play Yakuza. And I definitely want to!

But some say to start with Yakuza 0 while others say I should begin with Kiwami.

I’m a little confused.

So ERA... which is the correct starting point?!
 

Chaserjoey

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,232
Start with 0.

Then:

1 Kiwami
2 Kiwami
3 Remastered
4 Remastered
5 Remastered
6: The Song of Life
 

Hardvlade

The Fallen
Oct 27, 2017
1,281
Start with 0, it's my favorite one so far.

Yakuza 0 and Yakuza Kiwami use their previous engine. (and run at 60fps)

Yakuza Kiwami 2 and Yakuza 6 use the Dragon Engine (runs at 30fps on PS4) so the game will feel a little weird when you get to those.
 

Giever

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,278
You should start with 0 and, if you enjoy it, suffer through Kiwami. A lot of people bounce off the series going from 0 to Kiwami because 0 is basically the peak and Kiwami is a fancied up version of a game from 2005.

Despite that, I doubt many people would even get into the series at all if they were to start with Kiwami, so I still think it's best to go with 0 first, and, hey, if you don't continue through Kiwami, at least you enjoyed one great game. Plus Kiwami and Kiwami 2 have callbacks integrated to 0 that you wouldn't otherwise really get.

EDIT: I feel like I should also note that the moment to moment experience of playing these games is really not much like Shenmue at all.
 

VoltySquirrel

Member
Oct 25, 2017
128
Honestly I started at Kiwami. I’m planning on playing these in release order*. The only real question is just when you want to play 0: after 5 when it came out or as the actual start.

*story release order, obv.
 
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Jack Bauer

Jack Bauer

Member
Jun 14, 2019
155
You should start with 0 and, if you enjoy it, suffer through Kiwami. A lot of people bounce off the series going from 0 to Kiwami because 0 is basically the peak and Kiwami is a fancied up version of a game from 2005.

Despite that, I doubt many people would even get into the series at all if they were to start with Kiwami, so I still think it's best to go with 0 first, and, hey, if you don't continue through Kiwami, at least you enjoyed one great game. Plus Kiwami and Kiwami 2 have callbacks integrated to 0 that you wouldn't otherwise really get.
If I hate Kiwami for some reason, is it possible to skip ahead and not miss a lot?
 

Richter1887

Member
Oct 27, 2017
18,546
Don't listen to people saying Kiwami. It is a sequel to Zero. It has a lot lf throwbacks to 0.

If you want to see the references in 0 then start from Yakuza 1 on PS2 but it is outdated now so just start with 0.
 

shadowman16

Banned
Oct 25, 2017
7,947
0. Its a prequel that was also designed to be a new start to the series (something the devs themselves confirmed). And before anyone tries to bring in the "play them in release order" and suggests Kiwami - that was redesigned in spots to be a sequel to 0. If you want to do it release date order, start with Yakuza on the PS2, then Yakuza 2 on the PS2, and then 3-5, 0, 6 etc.

But unless you have a PS2 (or PC capable of emulation) just take the easy way out and start with 0 and play them through numerically. It just makes more sense.
 

Net_Wrecker

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,115
I'll go against the consensus and say Yakuza 0.


On a more serious note, the Yakuza/Shenmue comparisons are way overblown and extremely surface. Aside from superficial common elements they aren't aiming for the same thing at all. Enjoy Yakuza for the machismo gang posturing, wacky characters, infinitely growing web of allegiances, and cracking a million goon skulls. Do not expect Shenmue from this series.
 
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Jack Bauer

Jack Bauer

Member
Jun 14, 2019
155
I'll go against the consensus and say Yakuza 0.


On a more serious note, the Yakuza/Shenmue comparisons are way overblown and extremely surface. Aside from superficial common elements they aren't aiming for the same thing at all. Enjoy Yakuza for the machismo gang posturing, wacky characters, infinitely growing web of allegiances, and cracking a million goon skulls. Do not expect Shenmue from this series.
Thanks for the heads up! Kind of expected that based off trailers and whatnot but I’m still definitely intrigued.
 

Giever

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,278
If I hate Kiwami for some reason, is it possible to skip ahead and not miss a lot?
Sure, I think there are recaps and stuff. You might miss out on some smaller callbacks to certain substories or whatever, and have a bit less investment in some characters, but I don't see why it would be a problem.

Hopefully I'm not dissuading you from getting into the series! I just found Kiwami disappointing after 0, but that's largely because of how great I found 0 to be. Kiwami was just kind of flat in comparison and some of the fights could be a nuisance (if you do play Kiwami and find yourself getting frustrated with the combat I would definitely recommend just switching to Easy).
 

MechaBreaker

Member
Jun 26, 2018
2,821
Release order or Zero, I sent back and played the ps2 games first, because the remasters didn’t exist when I wanted to get into Yakuza
 

sredgrin

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,706
The 30 other threads with the same title

0 is the best entry point, and frankly, also a good exit point if you don't get super into the series. It will be the Yakuza experience distilled into its best form.

People might say to start with Kiwami cuz it kinda is a bit basic and thus if you start with 0 you'll be let down, but you're already looking at like 300 hours of fairly repetitive stuff anyway if you're going to do the whole series, so some things are gonna wear thin that didn't for the long time fans because they played them over decades.

Just go with the single best experience, don't bother trying to plan it out too much.
 

LazyLain

Member
Jan 17, 2019
1,842
While you can theoretically start with any of them and be OK, and there's a case to be made about Kiwami being a remake of the very first game... Yakuza 0 is absolutely the best place to start for newcomers. And after that, just continue playing through the series in numerical order (with Kiwami 1 & 2 being substitutes for the original Yakuza 1 & 2).
 

Segafreak

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,309
Shenmue is my all-time favorite game series. And because of this, people have been telling me that I absolutely must play Yakuza. And I definitely want to!

But some say to start with Yakuza 0 while others say I should begin with Kiwami.

I’m a little confused.

So ERA... which is the correct starting point?!
Do not listen to anyone saying start with Yakuza 0, it will give you a wrong impression of the series.

Correct order:
Yakuza 1 Kiwami>Y2 Kiwami>Y3>Y4>Yakuza Dead Souls>Y5>Y6
Then play Yakuza 0, it's more a self contained story, do not make the mistake a lot of newcomers do by going from 0 to Kiwami 1 and be letdown because it's not as fast paced and doesn't hit the highs of 0.
 

Rosebud

Member
Apr 16, 2018
7,923
Do not listen to anyone saying start with Yakuza 0, it will give you a wrong impression of the series.

Correct order:
Yakuza 1 Kiwami>Y2 Kiwami>Y3>Y4>Yakuza Dead Souls>Y5>Y6
Then play Yakuza 0, it's more a self contained story, do not make the mistake a lot of newcomers do by going from 0 to Kiwami 1 and be letdown because it's not as fast paced and doesn't hit the highs of 0.
I played 0 first and love the series... probably wouldn't if I started with 1
 

CortexVortex

Member
Oct 30, 2017
1,399
I just started with Kiwami (only played 3 for an hour or so before). I kinda like it so far, especially given its age although it is a bit annoying at times. And yeah, I am really bad at this game.
 

Segafreak

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,309
I played 0 first and love the series... probably wouldn't if I started with 1
One of the few, there are many threads of people that started with 0 and complain because 1 is not the same.

Starting with 1, the release order, gives a more grounded view of the series and builds up to a climax, 0 is icing on the cake.
 

shadowman16

Banned
Oct 25, 2017
7,947
Do not listen to anyone saying start with Yakuza 0, it will give you a wrong impression of the series.

Correct order:
Yakuza 1 Kiwami>Y2 Kiwami>Y3>Y4>Yakuza Dead Souls>Y5>Y6
Then play Yakuza 0, it's more a self contained story, do not make the mistake a lot of newcomers do by going from 0 to Kiwami 1 and be letdown because it's not as fast paced and doesn't hit the highs of 0.
Correct order is playing the original PS2 games first, not remakes that take 0 into account as the first game into the series... While I get your point, your not looking at the full view here - if anyone decides to play the side content of the games (and they really should, its fantastic stuff) - you have content added into both Kiwami games that directly references 0 loads (like most of Majima's stuff in Kiwami, loads of other side stories which are added into the game, Kiwami 2 has the huge Cabaret club stuff, a other smaller side stories, and heck - Majima's playable content is almost entirely dependent on playing 0 first, it'd be a complete waste of time playing it before 0)... None of that makes much sense unless you've played 0... 0 doesn't quite suffer the same issue, a couple of nods might fly over your head (Ogita, maybe Ryuuji, the fortune teller quest) but it works fantastically as a beginning chapter of the series, and undoubtedly boosts the character of Nishiki which only helps when you then play Kiwami.
 

Alienhated

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,157
Playing all the games starting from Kiwami would be crazily counteproductive, you'd just get burned out super fast and drop them altogether.

My sensible advice is to start from Yakuza 0 because it's the basically best entry point ever and a terrific game that showcases what's this series all about.

If you madly fall in love with it then start considering playing the other ones, otherwise just wait for the new one.
 

bustacap

Member
May 29, 2018
148
Do not listen to anyone saying start with Yakuza 0, it will give you a wrong impression of the series.

Correct order:
Yakuza 1 Kiwami>Y2 Kiwami>Y3>Y4>Yakuza Dead Souls>Y5>Y6
Then play Yakuza 0, it's more a self contained story, do not make the mistake a lot of newcomers do by going from 0 to Kiwami 1 and be letdown because it's not as fast paced and doesn't hit the highs of 0.
this is the worst advice you could give someone. 0 is the perfect start for the series, kiwami and kiwami 2 also reference it heavily.
0, k1, k2, 3r, 4r, 5r, 6 is the correct order
 

Tomasdk

Member
Apr 18, 2018
369
Yakuza 0 first, definately.

Yakuza 0, Kiwami, Kiwami 2 are tied together, it makes no sense to start with Kiwami.
The only debatable thing would be to start with the PS2 Yakuza 1 and 2 but the remakes have direct references or even continuations of some side stories from 0
 

Mendrox

Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,838
If I hate Kiwami for some reason, is it possible to skip ahead and not miss a lot?
I don't know why everyone says Kiwami sucks because it doesn't. It feels like an expansion to 0 and is also really really short so don't skip it because the most important character for the next 5 games is introduced.

And the dog. THE DOG. Also last time to use the styles. You could skip any game through Youtube and the cutscenes easily, but I wouldn't recommend that at all.

Play 0 and do as much as you want in this game and experience a ton of beginnings through sidestories too
Play Kiwami just for the story and maybe for some sidestories
Play Kiwami 2 for the story and also I would recommend the hostess game that continues from 0 (story) but you could Youtube that too if you wanna save 5-6 hours of play time, also do Majimas extra story (continuation from 0)
Play 3 remastered just the story
Play 4 remasted just the story at first
Play 5 remasted just for the story at first
Play 6 and get hit by ton of feelings, finish anything you want (there is not a lot to do here so quick and easy) and there are also a lot of callbacks to older games and things, especially 0

Wait for 7 by playing Judgement, doing side stuff in 4 and 5 which are worth it.

Enjoy.
 

Jocchan

Member
Oct 25, 2017
190
Silent Hill
Honestly I started at Kiwami. I’m planning on playing these in release order*. The only real question is just when you want to play 0: after 5 when it came out or as the actual start.

*story release order, obv.
One of the few, there are many threads of people that started with 0 and complain because 1 is not the same.

Starting with 1, the release order, gives a more grounded view of the series and builds up to a climax, 0 is icing on the cake.
PSA: Starting with Kiwami is not, and never has been, release order.

Kiwami released after Zero, it features content that is a direct sequel to content from Zero, it builds off the difficulty curve of Zero, and is an inferior "first impression" to the series (but still a great game! And the one whose story is the most important for everything that follows, even if you're not planning to play every single entry).
More than a remake of the first game, it is effectively a DLC sequel to Zero which happens to feature the same story as the first game.

If you want to suggest going in release order, then you should suggest people to start from the first PS2 game, which is obsolete and would turn off almost anyone. So what purpose would that serve, exactly?
One can start from whatever they want, going almighty with "always follow release order" while basing it on such a fallacy will never stop being silly to me.
 
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Femto0

Member
Apr 28, 2018
2,153
O
Kiwami 1
Kiwami 2
Remaster 3
Remaster 4
Remaster 5
6
If you want you can play the psp games but they aren't so great. After play all these games pray Buddha Christ or whatever God for a port of yakuza ishin
 
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Giever

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,278
Do not listen to anyone saying start with Yakuza 0, it will give you a wrong impression of the series.

Correct order:
Yakuza 1 Kiwami>Y2 Kiwami>Y3>Y4>Yakuza Dead Souls>Y5>Y6
Then play Yakuza 0, it's more a self contained story, do not make the mistake a lot of newcomers do by going from 0 to Kiwami 1 and be letdown because it's not as fast paced and doesn't hit the highs of 0.
If I had started with Kiwami I wouldn't have played any other games in the series. Starting with 0 may have set me up for disappointment, but it also allowed me to actually get invested and have a desire to continue.
 

Ravelle

Member
Oct 31, 2017
6,903
We need a sticky thread or something because every month, someone asks.

But yeah, Start with Zero.

I I still can't believe a prequel that good costs was that cheap at launch and is now as much as a Snickers bar.
 

Jocchan

Member
Oct 25, 2017
190
Silent Hill
If I had started with Kiwami I wouldn't have played any other games in the series. Starting with 0 may have set me up for disappointment, but it also allowed me to actually get invested and have a desire to continue.
With all the smear going on against Kiwami, I don't think anyone can get disappointed anymore after playing it.
In fact, the contrary is more likely, as it's not remotely as bad as it gets painted.
 

8bit

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,416
Fist of North Star with the Kiryu skin, then Dead Souls.

Just start with 0, it's fairly self contained and it'll give you a good idea if you want to continue with the series.