Everyone who has ever heard of the Yakuza, now Like A Dragon Franchise will know it through Infamy or the whispered reputation it has. Personally, we at Game Crave are in both camps and while we have strived to complete each game experiencing its fullest, some of us are yet to experience the torment of the, and yes we are going there, The Minigames!!! Throughout the lifespan of the franchise, this far, there have been a total of nearly 60 unique or reimagined Minigames, please note we are only including the Titular Yakuza or Like A Dragon minigames and nothing to do with Judgment/ Lost Judgment. So here are some of the Best Minigames In The Yakuza Games.
Throughout all of these games, some are recurring, stacked together, or modified with better/ worse mechanics. For our selection, we have carefully gone through and found the ones we enjoyed the most to add to this list, although they might not be everyone’s favorite or liked for that matter.
Fishing – River and Sea
One of the nice constants, and minigames, you can rely on is probably one of the most fun pastimes within games. Gracing almost all of the games in the franchise, Fishing is so different to what you might think your protagonists would be doing. A calming and peaceful activity to take up your time, this minigame although different throughout the iterations of the franchise, is somewhat unchanged. Our personal pick for this is the version that appears in Zero as it is the simplest of all the versions, however, Kiwami and Kiwami 2 are pretty simple as well. Yakuza 3 – 5 is the most awkward as the controls are a little more clunky and irritating to play with, but still as fun as the other versions.
The age-old game of patience and skill, which can be played in Sotenbori and Okinawa. You will need to Tee a Ball up a Grassy landscape to a Putting area known as a Green. Courses vary on the scale and only really apply to Yakuza 3 as Okinawa is an open course, whereas Yakuza Kiwami 2, 4, 5, Like A Dragon, and Gaiden, are played in an inside course. This provides a drastic difference compared to Okinawa’s Open course, and a new challenge. While you have a nice experience and challenge within Yakuza 3, the others are a nice change of pace compared to the other events within the games.
Batting – Yoshida Batting Center
Although Kazuma Kiryu and most other characters you will meet throughout the Yakuza series are Japanese Mafia types, just look at them. Surprisingly a lot of them like Baseball, and although that is a Minigame in Yakuza 6: The Song Of Life, We wanted to address Yoshida Batting located in Kamurocho. Kiryu is seen playing in Zero with Nishiki, while Majima is frequently seen there including in combat sequences. Inside the batting centre starting in Kiwami through until Yakuza 4. It’s surprising, considering how bad they feel in combat with Baseball Bats. The only exception to this is Tatsuo Shinada, from Yakuza 5, who will not defile a Baseball Bat by using it in combat.
Not just a game of Skill but a masterful game of patience and precision. Your goal is always to beat your opponent, it will play out the same no matter which iteration of Yakuza you play this in. Depending on the type of Pool that you play you will have to play to certain rules like Darts. The objective is always to work your way through different Valued balls by pocketing them using a Cue Ball. Whoever wins the Banking normally has an advantage as that person will get to Break the Triangle of Balls, meaning it’s highly advantageous to the player to win the Banking.
An almost Kamurocho-only location event, Bowling is found in Yakuza Zero through until Yakuza 5. While it differs slightly with different iterations of released titles there is a common theme throughout the entirety, which is throwing a ball at some pins. The only difference is the way you play, in the “older” Trilogy events (Yakuza 3 – 5), you will have to pick a Starting Point, the direction and the power. Whereas in the “Early” Trilogy events (Yakuza Zero – Kiwami 2), you will have to pick the Bowling Ball as well. While you might think it’s a straightforward game there is some strategy needed to play, for example, you can’t just aim at the centre pin from the default location and expect a Strike.
MesuKing: Battle Bug Beauties
Out of all the minigames that you would think you would find within a 2005 arcade, this is not one that you would expect children to be the masters of. In Kiwami, Kiryu returns to Kamurocho and finds a world different than when he went to prison, as part of a Side Story he can be introduced to a minigame called Mesuking which is the new equivalent to the Cat Fights seen in Yakuza 0. Personally, I think this was Ryu Ga Gotoku’s version of something like Pokemon or Yu Gi Oh, as the premise is so similar. The idea is you use cards that have “bug” represented on them, a machine in the Sage Arcade will then create a digital representation of that card’s character and you fight a Rock, Paper, Scissors match against an opponent.
Pocket Circuit Racing
Back in the 1980s when Kiryu was just starting out on his Yakuza road, he met an enthusiast dressed in leathers and a role model to the children of Kamurocho. This person was none other than Pocket Circuit Fighter, although he only plays a small role in the events of Kiryu’s life overall for gamers he is a memorable one. Fighter is introduced in Yakuza 0 and even returns in Kiwami as the Pocket Circuit Fighter and has a small appearance in The Song Of Life where it really ends Kiryu’s connection with him (To Date). He is also an important character to Ichiban in Yakuza 7: Like A Dragon, being the character who hosts the Dragon Cup, so for such a small character Pocket Circuit Racing plays a big role, even making a return in Like A Dragon Gaiden.
Everyone knows what Darts are right? You throw an aerodynamic “needle” of weight through the air at a board to score points, wherever it sticks in your points are awarded. Although there has been an alteration in the mechanical side of the Darts minigame from Yakuza 3 – 5 when compared to the likes of 0 – Kiwami 2 and The Song Of Life, as well as Like A Dragon Gaiden, we are only wanting to focus on one of the titles within the Series. This title is Yakuza 6: The Song Of Life. The reason for this is it has a very famous character within the game and only as a side activity and Sub Story. This person is Paul Lim, a Famous Singaporean Professional Darts player.
This is a pretty broad minigame which only shows in Yakuza 5 while you play as Haruka following her dreams of becoming a famous Idol. Along the road, she has plenty of hardships to overcome, and that is before her mentor is murdered. The reason for including this minigame is because the Dancing is a far better sequencing event than other rhythm-based minigames within the Yakuza franchise and considering it is a semi-compulsory event, it is really something when you take the initiative to work your way through this as a side activity.
However bad you think you are at completing minigames the bane of most players is Mahjong. Included in most of the Yakuza games, Mahjong is a traditional Eastern game played with tiles with inscriptions on them. Depending on the contents of the tile will determine the outcome of the game, the overall goal is to gain a scoring hand before the other players, which can be done in a number of ways. The easiest strategy is to aim for pairing your hand so you end up with 7 pairs over the 14 tiles in your hand, however, this is far easier said than done and the best thought-out strategy is probably no match for the determination of the AI.
Another one of the minigames that a few players hate as the scoring is really rather irritating depending on the version you are playing. In Yakuza 3 – 5 the Score machine is really rather a hard thing to contemplate, let alone get the 900+ score you need to get the Dragon of Karaoke Ranking. In 0, Kiwami, Kiwami 2, The Song Of Life, and Like A Dragon Gaiden, the criteria are way less cruel and far easier to gain the score that you need. Personally, I prefer the alteration as you can cheat and watch the timing bar to know when you need to press the button, whereas, in the older variation, you will be stuck with watching the timing bar move across the screen until it reaches a button press.
Within Yakuza 0 and Kiwami 2, you can engage in building up a Nightlife Establishment known as a Cabaret Club. Ironically or hysterically it is more or less the same club that Majima builds up in Yakuza 0 in the 80s that Kiryu has to rebuild as a new name in 2006. Although it is rather quite simple and straightforward to win at this minigame it is a fun little distraction in both Zero and Kiwami 2, earning your characters money in each game and progressing Side Stories for the Cabaret Club Members.
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