The Yakuza series is one that’s taken a really hard turn in the last entry. What used to be an action-adventure series about getting distracted by karaoke, has recently become a turn-based RPG where, well, you still get distracted by karaoke. Games like Yakuza don’t come around very often, and no matter how faithful you want a game to be, you’ll often have to make some allowances when trying to fill that hole in your heart.
Thankfully though, we’re on hand, right here, right now, to give you a list of games like Yakuza for you to sink your teeth and time into. Some of these are so close to Yakuza that it’ll give you a fluffy warm glow, while others have a similar heart, or something familiar when it comes to the gameplay mechanics.
So, let’s dive into this list of games like Yakuza, no matter which entry you’re thinking of, so that you can move on with your life once more. Of course, you could always just replay the Yakuza games again, it’s not like there’s not enough of them.
Judgment and Lost Judgment
These entries are kind of cheating, because they’re from the same development studio as the Yakuza games. Despite that, if you’re looking for games like Yakuza, you basically can’t get any closer than the Judgment games. Both of these follow along with what an ex-lawyer turned private detective as he goes on missions to try and solve deeply messed-up crimes, but mostly gets distracted by side activities instead.
Final Fantasy XV is something of an oddity in the series, but it’s got its own charm. You take control of a grumpy prince and his boyband-esque attendants as you all drive around a massive fantasy world, racing chocobos, saving people, and staying at fancy hotels. It’s all very silly but in a serious sort of way. Plus, with a big beautiful world to explore and plenty of bromance to enjoy along the way, it fits well on this list.
This is one specifically aimed at people who want a game like Yakuza: Like a Dragon. Like a Dragon was inspired by the Dragon Quest series, so it makes perfect sense that the latest game in this long-running JRPG series would also feel familiar. You get to play the hero, meet absurd characters, and throwdown in amazing magical battles too. This version is especially wonderful as you can switch between 2D and 3D visuals, which makes it all the more charming.
Mafia 3 places you in the shoes of Lincoln Clay as you hunt for revenge. You do this buy building up your very own mafia family, before striking out at those who have wronged you. There’s a big world to explore, plenty of side quests to undertake, and an intensely compelling story that ties it all together too. Plus, the definitive edition has even more content, and that can only be a good thing.
Vampyr is an intensely ambitious and highly enjoyable game where you take control of Jonathan Reid, a doctor whose main aim is to save London’s denizens amidst a horrifying flu, but has also ended up turning into a vampyr. It means you’ll constantly have to weigh up whether you should save someone or feed on them to become more powerful, and it results in a game that’s wonderfully complex and filled with satisfying choices.
Despite questionable first and third entries, Watch Dogs has a lot of potential. Watch Dogs 2 is the only game in the series that lives up to that though, but it does so with aplomb. You play as Marcus, a young hacker who’s recently joined the hacker group DedSec, and you’ve got your eyes set on ruining the rich. There are a lot of moment-to-moment decisions you can make to help change the feel of your character like sticking to nonlethal yo-yo attacks, or deciding to mess around with everyone by hacking lights, security systems, or even cars. It’s got a similar vibe as you journey around a city and play around with it all, so it’s a game that’s a lot like Yakuza.
The Shenmue Series
Now, the Shenmue games are a little archaic and old-school, but they’re undoubtedly the precursors to the Yakuza series. You take control of Ryo Hazuki, a young man driven by a need for revenge. To do that though, you have to deal with adult life a lot. This means you’ll need to learn to drive a forklift truck, open a lot of gachapon, and even have to save money as well. It doesn’t sound fun, but if you want to see what Yakuza would have been like on the Dreamcast, then that’s basically the Shenmue games.
Of all of the games like Yakuza, none of them come close to Sleeping Dogs. Sleeping Dogs casts you as a detective called Wei Shen, who has to try and destroy the Triads from the inside. You’ll need to learn about Hong Kong, master martial arts, and follow along with a constant stream of conspiracies and lies if you want to survive. The action is brutal, the city is wonderful, and the side quests are plentiful.