Do you Need to Play Other Yakuza Games Before Like a Dragon Gaiden?

How many connections are there between Gaiden and the rest of the franchise?

by Marc Magrini
Image: SEGA

Newcomers to the Like a Dragon games should know if they should play other Yakuza titles before checking out Gaiden.

Back when it was known as the Yakuza series, most mainline games in this franchise were relatively self-contained. Gaiden changes these conventions pretty heavily, making major references to a number of different titles. While this isn’t too much trouble for a long-time fan, newcomers should be aware that Like a Dragon Gaiden might not be the best starting point if they want to follow Kiryu’s story from beginning to end.

What Other Games Should be Played Before Like a Dragon Gaiden?

As players should expect, Gaiden is heavily influenced by all numbered games leading up to its release. It occurs just after Yakuza 6: The Song of Life while also having heavy references to characters from Yakuza 3 and events from other numbered titles all throughout the franchise. The only games that aren’t truly necessary to keep in mind are spinoffs, with Ishin! being the primary example.

As revealed in a trailer for the game, Gaiden also covers major events from Yakuza: Like a Dragon. While players could easily check the latter title out without looking too deeply into the rest of the series, they should not do the same with the former. Players should expect Gaiden to spoil major events from that entry. The games both play in very different ways, but it would still be unwise to check Gaiden out before Yakuza: Like a Dragon.

Related: Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name Release Date, Platforms, and Trailer

Outside of these distinctions, there are also plenty of substories that players can expect from Gaiden. Though the mainline titles are the most vital for the main story, players will get quite a bit out of the side content if they’ve played some of the spinoffs. This includes Ishin! and even Judgment & Lost Judgment to an extent. First and foremost, Gaiden is made for fans of the franchise, so don’t miss out on the other games if you want to get the full picture.

- This article was updated on November 3rd, 2023

About The Author

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Marc has been a freelance writer for Attack of the Fanboy since 2022. He's most familiar with Nintendo franchises such as Mario, Pokémon, and Kirby, but he's well-versed in action-packed titles like Monster Hunter and the Souls games. With each article he publishes, Marc looks to improve his skills and make himself known as a top-quality writer, providing valuable tips and information that others might unknowingly ignore.