If you’re a fan of Japan there’s probably no better series out there than Yakuza; a franchise that’s so uniquely Japanese it almost hurts.
Most of the franchise revolves around a fictional red-light district of Tokyo called Kamurocho, which is heavily based off of the real red light district of Kabukicho.
While a game called Yakuza might seem like a serious crime drama, and it is, the franchise is filled with weird and wonderful moments as well. More than anything, Yakuza serves as a kind of time capsule for this district of Japan, showing you how it changes and evolves over the years.
As you walk the streets of Kamurocho you can try out various foods, like Yakiniku or Takoyaki, pop into a convenience store to pick up a Stamina health drink, pop into the arcade to play the UFO Catcher, and much more.
The Yakuza series has always partnered with real businesses to put them in the game, like the discount store Don Quijote.
On top of just being fantastic games with fantastic stories, Yakuza is great for learning about Japanese culture and certain things that just don’t exist in the West, like the idea of hostess clubs.
These are highly immersive games that let you wander around a Japanese city doing whatever you want, so they’re a must-play if you’re interested in all things Japan.