There aren’t a lot of holiday games out there… but what about the Yakuza series?
I referenced Yakuza being a Christmas series in my Yakuza Kiwami 2 review earlier this year, and now that the holiday season is upon us again, let’s take a closer look!
Yakuza 0 is an incredible game and the ideal place to start the series, and it’s also set in December. Christmas doesn’t come up often, but there are a handful of references to it.
Next we have Yakuza Kiwami. This remake of the first game (another good starting point) is also set around Christmas, and in addition to Christmas decorations, many of the stores play Christmas music.
It’s a little thing, but it made me happy every time I walked into a store and heard Christmas music in the background.
Yakuza Kiwami 2, the remake of the second game, is yet another Yakuza game that takes place in December and has holiday themes. The screenshot at the top of this post is from an area of Kamurocho decorated for Christmas. At one point, you’re even tasked with finding Santa Claus!
(One of the girls in the gravure studio mini-game also has a Santa costume and wishes you a Merry Christmas.)
Apparently the original Yakuza 2 used “Silent Night” for its ending credits, too, but that was removed from the remake for some reason.
I’m still playing through the games in the Yakuza Remastered Collection, but while Yakuza 3 doesn’t appear to be set around Christmas, there are decorated trees near the Millennium Tower (this may simply be a decoration, however). Yakuza 4 also is not set around Christmas, but still takes place during winter. Meanwhile, Yakuza 5 must be, since I’ve seen clips of one of the protagonists dressed as Santa Claus.
And let’s not forget that despite what you might expect, they tend to have themes about generosity and helping people, perfect for the holiday season!
I’m not sure about Yakuza 6 or 7 (aka Like a Dragon), so I’ll update this page later on if need be. But since Yakuza 0, Kiwami, Kiwami 2, and 5 are all set around Christmas, I maintain that Yakuza is an excellent Christmas series!---
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