The series made its Western debut way back in , and was previously exclusive to Sony's platforms for a number of years. The Yakuza games revolve around the steely protagonist Kazuma Kiryu, who you follow on a emotional journey through the heart of Japan's seedy underworld. You'll experience what life is like as a hard-nosed Yakuza, and although there's plenty of moolah to be made and people to shake down , it isn't all work and no play. There's a staggering amount of recreational activities on offer, from singing karaoke, eating at restaurants and playing Sega's classics in the arcades — you'll even end up running a cabaret club. Combat is a mainstay, as you might expect in a world where disputes are often settled violently. You'll brawl with all sorts of shady lowlifes, delivering devastating combos and bone-crushing 'heat' moves that will make even the most hardened of players wince a little.
The English equivalent for the term yakuza is gangster , meaning an individual involved in a Mafia -like criminal organization. At their height, the yakuza maintained a large presence in the Japanese media and operated internationally. At their peak in the early s, police estimated that the yakuza had a membership of more than , The name yakuza originates from the traditional Japanese card game Oicho-Kabu , a game in which the goal is to draw three cards adding up to a score of 9. If the sum of the cards exceeds 10, its second digit is used as the score instead, and if the sum is exactly 10, the score is 0. If the three cards drawn are pronounced ya-ku-sa in Japanese , the sum is 20 and therefore the score is zero, making it the worst possible hand that can be drawn.