Yakuza 3 – Return of the Dragon

Yakuza 3 - Return of the Dragon

Yakuza 3 was released in 2009 for the PlayStation 3 on February 26th in Japan in SouthEast Asia and March 9th, 2010 in the United States. It continues the story of its predecessors “Yakuza” and “Yakuza 2” on the PlayStation 2 of the protagonist, Kazuma Kiryu. 

On February 22nd, 2019, Yakuza 3 received a remastered edition for PlayStation 4 which had updated graphics as well as a more polished version of the battle system. 

If you happen to be a subscriber to the PlayStation Now streaming service, you can also play the original PlayStation 3 version of the game in all its glory.

Yakuza 3 takes place in 2 places in Japan, Kamurocho, a fictionalized version of the Kabuki-Cho area in real-life Shinjuku, and Ryukyu, a fictional area in Okinawa based on Makishi in Naha. 

The story primarily revolves around Kazuma Kiryu and Haruka Sawamura, however, there are over 300 additional characters which you will come across throughout your journey with Yakuza 3.

It’s all in the Details – The Development and Voice Actors of Yakuza 3

With this being the first Yakuza game on the PlayStation 3, it goes without mention that the game has received quite a major graphical overhaul from its previous titles. 

The game had the developers at Sega on a very tight schedule with over 300 characters being developed for the game. Over 100 characters had a high polygon count, whereas the other, non-integral characters used a more simplified polygon count. 

The team had a goal of 3 days per character spread across a 60-person team with each character having unique body characteristics. But graphics aren’t the only thing which has received polish. 

The story is one of the best stories that has happened in a Yakuza game to date. To further add on to the complexity of the title, the game also uses many prominent Japanese actors, famous for their roles in film and TV. Some of these actors are:

  • Tatsuya Fujiwara – Famous for his roles in Battle Royale
  • Shidou Nakamura II – Famous for their role in Letters from Iwo Jima
  • Tetsuya Watari – A famous actor who has portrayed many roles in prominent yakuza style films.
  • Shigeru Izumiya – A famous comedian and singer
  • Akio Ootsuka – Famous for his roles in Bleach, Fate/Zero, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure

Kazuma Kiryu – From Bad Guy to Good Boy

As mentioned previously, the story in Yakuza 3 revolves around Kazuma Kiryu and Haruka Sawamura, but it’s how the story plays out that adds the charm to the game. 

Taking a step away from the hustle and bustle of the Tokyo cityscapes, Kazuma is now planning to take over an orphanage in Okinawa called the Morning Glory Orphanage, (which had its name changed for some reason in the US release of the game to Sunshine Orphanage), hoping to put his past as a yakuza behind him. 

Before this, he takes the time to visit his old rival, Goro Majima who also has put his past behind him to undertake businesses of his own. After some convincing and conversing, he persuades Majima to rejoin the clan due to his worries of the sixth chairman of the Tojo Clan, Daigo Dojima, being too inexperienced to undertake the role. 

Some short time after taking over the orphanage, Kazuma notices people constantly spying on him only to chase them off each time, without fail. To further expand on this drama, he finds out that the local yakuza clan has been instructed by the leader of said clan, Shigeru Nakahara, to leave them eviction notices because he has been pressured to sell the land which he owns for a new seaside resort to be built. 

Fast forward some time and the story develops more to reveal that not only is there to be a seaside resort built, but also a military base expansion as a top-secret CIA operation to extradite a group of firearm smugglers which go by the name of “Black Monday”. 

At the wrap-up of the story, Kazuma confronts a man by the name of Hamazaki who in turn blames Kazuma for all of his downfalls and stabs Kazuma in the stomach leading players to believe that this is the end for Kazuma Kiryu. 

During the end credits, Haruka is shown standing next to a man who is revealed to be Kazuma Kiryu wrapped up in bandages clearly indicating that he survived his murder attempt and they continue running the orphanage together.

The Wrap-Up – Will Yazkua 3 Make you Become the next Patriarch

As we have mentioned in our other Yakuza write-ups, the series is really something special and definitely a treat for those who want to take the plunge on its story. It’s got something for everyone, may it be action, drama, emotional moments, or heart-stopping horror. 

There really is something for everyone. I can’t stress that enough. Playing through the series can definitely be a chore, but it’s a chore that is well worth it and leaves the player feeling rewarded as they see Kazuma Kiryu through his trials and tribulations. 

If you haven’t had the chance to start or just are too invested in other things to take up the task, I personally recommend that you try to make time to do so, you certainly won’t be missing out!

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