Most games have music in some form or another. Some soundtracks are... really bad. Some are really old, while others are just classic. And then you have some soundtracks that are just in a league all their own. The Yakuza/Like a Dragon series falls into that last category. The fight music gets you super pumped and feeling like a badass, while the more dramatic and emotional scenes are underscored by softer tones meant to evoke and draw out an emotional response. And because I love the music of the series so much, I wanted to spotlight some of my favorite tracks. Note that I won’t be doing karaoke music, but there may be some unreleased music that still has sound effects. I’m also gonna do this list a little differently. Rather than explain why I like every single track, I’m just gonna throw ‘em on here and you can listen to them. I might go talk about a few, but not all of them.
So a bit of a clarification. “Fly” is the opening theme for the western release of Yakuza 3. The original Japanese release featured a track titled “Losers” which in traditional fashion is a regular song rather than an instrumental version or a completely new track. “Fly” gets on this list because it was the very first track I ever heard in a Yakuza game since I started with the third entry, and I just loved it. It also has an unreleased guitar version.
Easily one of the best, if not THE best, final boss theme in the entire series.
What can I say? Kuze has some sweet themes.
I’ll be honest, I’ve gotten decently far in Yakuza 6, but I honestly can’t remember much of the music from the game. That is, except the main menu music. It’s so atmospheric and it reminds me of the kind of music that would play on the menu’s of old PS1 games. Even my older brother came to that same conclusion. I could sit on Yakuza 6's main menu for hours on end and never get tired of it, never wanting to actually play the game.
Yakuza 0 probably contains most of my favorite tracks, but it also contains one of the few Japanese opening themes that I like just as much as the US theme. “Bubble” is just SO good. But the western theme is also pretty great and I love the name a fan came up with for it: “Like a Dragon and a Mad Dog.” So you get a two-fer on this one.
Even the non-canon zombie spin-off has great music.
Quite possibly one of the best tracks from one of the best scenes. Sadly, it was never officially released, and the version in the games files still contains sound effects. Some fans have tried to remove these sounds while still preserving the music itself. They’ve more or less succeeded in that endeavor, and I thank them for it. Sadly there are still many more unreleased tracks from Yakuza 0 that haven’t been pulled from the files.