I once read that the first Yakuza was a Japanese version of GTA3. I never played the first, but if its’ anything like the third, than I wonder how much that writer was paid by Sega to say that. It’s about as far away, while still being in the same genre, that a game can be. You could even make the case it has more in common with Max Payne 3 than any grand theft auto.
I’ve developed a pattern with Yakuza 3. I play it when I don’t want my games adding any drama to my life. When I don’t have the mental space for long-term x-com ironman strategies, or meeting up with friends on Borderlands 2. Because despite what the name says, Yakuza 3 has about as much to do with fishing as it does gangster life.
I don’t know what engine it’s running on, but the game looks damn good, especially considering it’s almost 3 years old. * Just checked – it’s the Magical V-Engine from Cyberware Inc. It’s also used on Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2.