My Yakuza Mission: Apparently Yakuza 2 is like the Ducktales 2 (NES) for Playstation

Some things that everyone needs to know about me:

  • I love martial arts movies
    • Yes, even Jean-Claude Van Damme (don’t judge me)
  • I love Japanese culture especially aspects that I’ve gleaned from games
  • I love beat ’em up games — basically all beat ’em ups
  • I love RPGs

And my favorite retro-game of all time is River City Ransom (RCR). It holds a special place in my heart.  My sister recently found all of my old Nintendo/Sega Genesis games at my parents’ house right before Christmas and among the games was RCR. I almost cried. It was the best thing to happen to me all year.

One day, after Christmas I decided to post all of my games that were recovered from my parents’ house to Twitter.

Then @soulbrotherkab mentioned that if I loved River City Ransom, then I should play the Yakuza games for PS2 and PS3.

Yakuza: How Did I Miss You?

I had never heard of the series, but as I looked into it, I wondered how I could have missed it! It’s exactly the type of game that I love! I always complain that the beat ’em up genre has suffered over the last 10 years. They were oftentimes great couch co-op games you could play with your friends!

Beat ‘Em Ups: A Brief History

Any kid that grew up with Nintendo and Sega Genesis is familiar with the beat em’ up genre–the late 80’s and early 90’s were sort of a golden age for this type of game. Double Dragon, Renegade, Final Fight, RCR, Streets of Rage, the TMNT arcade game were all favorites of mine back in my tween days.

My childhood was filled with 8-bit and 16-bit violence.
My childhood was filled with 8-bit and 16-bit violence.

I even liked this little gem back in the early days of PS2: The Bouncer by EA. It was not a huge success, the acting was laughably terrible and the story was kind of weird, but I loved it anyway. Similar to action movies, we don’t usually watch/play because of the perfectly crafted story. Bouncerbox

The Sign of a Good Game: They Don’t Get Traded In

So back to my current mission: finding all of the Yakuzas! I started by quickly researching on Amazon. The first Yakuza for PS2 is selling for around $30. I can swing that. Yakuza 3 and 4 were each selling for under $50 online. All of that seems pretty manageable. I decided to swing by a few Gamestops for the games to see if I could find them more inexpensively. Here’s an important note for all of you Yakuza seekers out there, NO ONE TRADES IN THESE GAMES! I did manage to find Yakuza: Dead Souls for under $10 at Gamestop. I’m told this is because it’s kind of a weird spinoff infused with survival horror elements.  I like survival horror, so I’m fine with that.

Good News for Playstation Plus Subscribers

My second lucky break in my search was the discovery that Yakuza 4 is free this month for Playstation Plus subscribers.  This month’s offerings for Playstation Plus members was excellent: Thief, Ducktales Remastered, Yakuza 4 for PS3 and Transistor for PS4. Transistor is a really cool game for PS4 and worth checking out. I haven’t beat it yet, but tried it for a few minutes and I know I’ll like it.  Vita offerings look a little disappointing.  But, all-in-all, I was feeling pretty good about myself yesterday after finding that out, and then I hit a wall…

Yakuza 2: The Elusive and Ridiculously Priced Bastard of a Game

As you can tell from that subtitle, I am frustrated, yet unwaveringly determined to find this game.

So, I’ve embarked on a quest to find the PS2 games as well as Yakuza 3 for PS3 (Yakuza 5 is out, but only in Japan so far).  Yakuza 2 is proving to be one of the more frustrating games to find for me so far. It’s almost like trying to find Ducktales 2 for NES: Rare, expensive and impossible!

Yakuza 2, where are you?
Yakuza 2, where are you?

I’ve been told that Yakuza 4 gives you a background in cutscenes of the previous games and after my frustration with Yakuza 2, I thought of just starting there and working my way back to the PS2 versions. But, I’m kind of an OCD purist when it comes to watching shows/movies and playing games in order so I don’t think that’s going to work for me. Shout out to @king_ruckus and @soulbrotherkab for letting me know how cool these games are.

For now, I’ve foundYakuza 1 for an excellent price on Ebay. The search is still on forYakuza 2. I will find it somewhere for under $50. I can’t rest until it is part of my collection but there is noflippin’ way I’m paying $80 for a PS2 game. Not happening. Wish me luck!

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