Iconic Mayhem – The Yakuza Games

Along its mission to engage the many great talents from its global network, One Block Down is proud to announce its latest partnership with magazine Sabukaru. Documenting the figures, movements and products that have shaped contemporary stylistic discourse, the collaboration looks to shine new light on some of culture’s most untold stories.

The Yakuza franchise is beloved and truly unique. Spanning over 8 main series games and several spin-offs, its universe is expansive and outlandish. Originally released in 2005, you play as a professional criminal, Kazuma Kiryu, after he goes to prison for a crime he did not commit. Each game sees you be reintroduced to the dark underbelly of the Yakuza and the underworld of Japan.

The games are known for their badass fight scenes, bloody cutscenes, and iconic fighting mechanics. The game is also known to use real-life celebrity appearances throughout its story. Certain stars include Japanese film legend Takeshi Kitano, Michael Jackson, and even Steven Spielberg has made a cameo.

Although, all the mobster-like action is not where the true magic comes from with this series. The real charm stems from the bizarre and wonderful characters and side stories. You can do it all: cook ramen, sing karaoke, or even play as a hostess. All these ludicrous mini-tasks sprawled across the games [mostly] serious plotline is a welcome break from the constant punching, kicking, and curb stomping.

Yakuza never takes itself too seriously, and in a seemingly serious game about Tokyo’s most dangerous gang, it playfully approaches Japan life; better yet, immerses you in a realistic setting that quite accurately depicts life in Tokyo. It’s this reason why we love the franchise so much.

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