After serving a ten-year sentence for murder, Kiryu Kazuma is out of prison and working to rebuild his life, away from the Yakuza. Yet he is plunged back into the underworld of Tokyo as he tries to unravel the mystery behind a girl named Haruka and some missing money. Players take the role of Kiryu and explore a GTA-esque Tokyo complete with nightclubs, neon-lit streets, and real shops.
By battling opponents, Kiryu can improve his skills and increase his attributes. He will also accumulate weapons and other useful items as he scours the city, bribing informants, taking on side quests, gambling, and practicing his swing in the batting cage. The fighting engine used in Yakuza allows players to string together attack combos and deliver more devastating blows to enemies during street brawls.