So 1,2,3,4,5,0,6 instead of 0-6?
I think there are merits and cons for either approach. I played 0 after playing several other Yakuza games. And if you've already played some Yakuza games, I'd recommend continuing in the chronological order.
But if you're just starting out, then I recommend starting with 0.
I think 0 is the best one in the series (I haven't played 6 yet), but going in the chronological order may result in you never getting to 0.
It's a bit similar to the playthroughs of Nier: Automata. If you stick through it, you may find it rewarding. But a lot of people quit after playthrough A, or during B, and it's understandable.
Because I feel it's easy to get burned out on Yakuza games, in spite of them all having different stories, and unique and very fleshed out side stories and mini games. Because the difference in the core gameplay mechanics is usually not a lot.
Though I agree with Tenshinhan that if you start with 0 > Kiwami > Kiwami 2, then some of the others (primarily 3 and 4 imo) will feel more outdated gameplay wise.
But at the same time, I think story wise it's more interesting to start with 0 for 2 reasons. The second being by far the most important.
1.) 0 fleshes out a very important character from 1 (Kiwami), whose story feels a lot more shallow without the context of 0. Though likewise, playing Kiwami 1 before 0 will have you experiencing this character's story in 0 differently as well. But I think the former option is more interesting between the two.
2.) There is a major character introduced in 0, that has been added to Kiwami 2, but only in the form of a few cutscenes. (This character did not exist in the original Yakuza 2.) And their inclusion into Kiwami 2 was very important to me, because it concludes the imo hands down best storyline of the entire series.
However, if you play Kiwami 2 before 0, you'll have no idea who this character is, and it will literally do nothing for you seeing them in the game. Other than literally spoiling the outcome of that specific storyline of Yakuza 0. Because you'll know how it ends, before you even start it.
So don't spoil yourself on Yakuza 0 by playing Kiwami 2 before it. It's the best game in the series imo, and playing it first will probably just increase your enjoyment of it.
If it feels jarring to play some of the less technically advanced ones afterwards like 3 and 4, I don't think it's a bad idea to just lookup the story for them online, and skip them to move on to 5 or 6.
Why does the U.S. Playstation store discount every Yakuza game EXCEPT 0? I'm waiting to start the franchise with 0 specifically because it's the first in the timeline. But it never gets discounted.
I have seen 0 go on sale a few times, but it is odd that it is not on sale now. At first I thought maybe it was because it was recently (?) added to Greatest Hits, so it's already at a discounted $20. But then I saw Kiwami being 50% off at $10 in spite of being added to Greatest Hits as well.
But I'm sure 0 will be on sale soon enough. So keep a lookout for it. It's a great game.
I haven't played Kiwami myself (but have seen it played by a friend), but two big reasons make 0 a bad place to start if you're looking to play through the whole series IMO. The first one is the gameplay will spoil you, and you will expect a lot of features and functions that simply aren't there. This is somewhat mitigated if you play Kiwami and Kiwami 2, but it'll feel even worse when you get to Yakuza 3 at that point.
The second, and much more major one, is something I won't go into too deeply because I don't want to spoil anyone, is Majima's character. Since you've reportedly only played 0 and Kiwami and started with 0, you probably don't understand how much you're missing of Majima and his development by seeing him in 0's light first. It's a massive disservice to anyone experiencing the series IMO.
As for the points you brought up, all of this is experienced just fine by playing 1 as it is. I had the exact same feeling you did without playing 0 first, because the story engrosses you immediately and establishes the bond very strongly. That doesn't disappear if you haven't played 0. 0 didn't exist when I played it and I felt all that urgency just fine.
0 also has a ton of references and easter eggs to later games which anyone who starts with it won't understand at all.
It's definitely possible to start with 0, and SEGA took care to make sure that it is a viable starting point for anyone who wants to get into the series, but I'd say that anyone who does so is doing themselves big harm storywise, and making it more difficult mechanically to enjoy 3 and 4 after it.
I have to disagree about that, primarily because of a particular cutscene in Kiwami 2.
Experiencing Majima first through Yakuza 3 or 4 (as I did) has it's merits before seeing him in 0. But I also think that having the knowledge of 0 Majima when you see how he acts in the rest of the series is also an interesting perspective. I also played 1 before 0, and that gave me an interesting perspective of a certain character. But I think playing 0 before 1 would be interesting in a similar manner.
However, the big problem I would have with playing Kiwami 1 and 2 before 0, is that they've added a scene to Kiwami 2 that literally spoils the outcome to a character's story in 0. One that I happen to find the most interesting and emotional one in the series (I haven't played 6 yet).
Last edited by Hiku - on 14 September 2019
And I would absolutely hate to know the outcome of this character's story before I even started it. All throughout 0 I kept wondering what would happen to this characters, on multiple levels. And mainly because I knew they don't exist in Yakuza 1-6, and I wonder why Majima changes after 0, I imagined a worst case scenario.