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Continuing down along the Japanese PS2 demo disc backlog, tonight I present the demo for the very first Yakuza game. Created a few months before its official retail release, at least judging by the file creation dates, this is actually one of the beefier demos I’ve played in quite some time in terms of the sheer diversity of things you can actually sample. Indeed, after telling the game you’re 18 or older (seriously, it asks you this when you press Start) and starting the demo proper, you’ll almost immediately have a forced NPC conversation that gives you a lot of options to choose from in terms of what to play. For those who don’t read Japanese, here’s the breakdown of choices in order of appearance:

  • Story/exploration segment
  • Combat tutorial
  • Raw fighting
  • Hostess club shenanigans
  • Batting cage fun times
  • Casino gambling
  • Return to title screen

The story segment itself is roughly half pre-rendered cutscenes that you can skip and half typical Yakuza gameplay that you can get a decent 10-15 minutes of playtime out of. For those familiar with the story, the demo lets you experience the moments leading up to your first encounter with the Stardust host club and the initial fighting that takes place inside it. There’s some very light sidequesting and shop exploration you can engage in, too, but it’s a pretty linear experience all around and a lot of Kamurocho is blocked off.

I’ve never played the original Yakuza, so I couldn’t tell you what all is different in this version, but if nothing else, hopefully this serves as a decent nostalgia trip for series fans. I’ve also got the demo disc for Yakuza 2 on hand, which I’ll probably have uploaded soon enough.