10 atmospheric games in the setting of modern Japan and Asia (Topic)

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10 atmospheric games in the setting of modern Japan and Asia


Given how influential the Asian atmosphere is in global culture, it turns out that there are not that many games in the setting of modern Japan or Asia. Moreover, the Japanese or Chinese setting as such is a fairly common thing, but most of all the games are concentrated on the times of antiquity and feudal wars. Today we have collected games with a modern Japanese and Asian setting that best convey the atmosphere of the East.

Yakuza Series

Let's start with the trump cards. Yakuza is arguably the most authentic series of games set in modern Japan. It has 8 numbered parts, each of which unfolds over different periods of time in modern Japan, so you can feel the atmosphere of different decades from the 80s to the present day.


So, Yakuza 0 unfolds in the 80s, Yakuza 1 and 2 in the zero years. The most recent two games, Yakuza 6: Song of life and Yakuza 7: Like a Dragon, show our days. The very story of the games tells about the life of a member of the Japanese mafia Kazuma Kiryu and many other important characters. In the later parts, new playable heroes were introduced, but only in the seventh part, Kiryu is not a GG, and in general she changed the genre from action / beat'em up to JRPG.


Throughout all seven games, we will be shown different areas of Tokyo and other cities, adapted to local realities. Most of the time you will spend in Kamarucho - the largest entertainment district in the city, which is based on the real Kabukichou.


The atmosphere is one of the main trump cards of the series, because the game perfectly conveys what those very famous streets of Japanese cities are. Plus, giving you the opportunity to do everyday activities like going to a bar or singing karaoke is even more immersive.

If you are familiar with Yakuza, read our series creation themed materials, interviews with developers, and work on localization.


We will say a few words about Judgment, as this is a spin-off of the Yakuza series and takes place in the same universe in the same Japanese setting. True, here you are not playing as a criminal, but as a detective. If you are interested in Yakuza and you decided to play, just know that this series has, though on such a cool, but still very atmospheric spin-off.


In general, Yakuza has several of them, just Judgment is the latest and most technologically advanced version.

World of Horror

World of Horror is set in the 80s, and although it is not specifically our days, I decided to insert a couple of games with similar time periods, since this is part of the modern history of our world as we know it today.

In a small Japanese town, people are going crazy, as the ancient gods began to awaken within it. World of Horror is created by one person using Paint. She is completely inspired by the work of Lovecraft and Junji Ito.


By genre, it is a mixture of a visual novel and an RPG, where we, playing as one of several characters, investigate the arrival of monsters in our world, and must fight them. Although the game has problems with this, the visual component is atmospheric to match the style of Ito's manga. And chiptune generally takes you to the distant lands of nostalgia.

Steins; Gate

Steins; Gate is a visual novel about a guy who managed to create a time machine using his phone and microwave, and now he jumps at different time intervals to prevent the consequences of his own actions.


There are many visual novels that take place in Japan, but I chose Steins; Gate for its authenticity and probably the most interesting plot. Plus, this game is set in the iconic anime area of Akihabara, which is already worth a lot. Plus it is also an iconic place for Japanese futurism.

Many locations were literally copied from google maps, so you will get the atmosphere of Japan at its best.


The Shenmue series manages to sit on two chairs at the same time, as its action unfolds both in Japan and in China, both in megacities and in the hinterlands. Playing as a guy named Ryo, we investigate the murder of our father by a crime syndicate in order to get revenge.

We start playing in the Japanese countryside, which is entirely based on a real city. The main developer, for the sake of realism, even introduced into the game an identical weather schedule that was in that city at the time of the game.


Then we are transported to Hong Kong in the second part, and later in the recently released Shenmue 3, almost 20 years later, to a Chinese village.

Persona 3, 4, 5

The Persona series goes head-to-head with Yakuza, vying for the title of the most authentic game that recreates the modern Japanese setting. In each new part you play as a schoolboy who, together with his friends, finds himself in a kind of velvet room, where they discover the powers of their Persona - the inner spirit with which they fight evil creatures.


I call this series - a simulator of a schoolboy of the Auror, since the gameplay conventionally consists of two parts: a battle with monsters and everyday life. And the last part perfectly reflects the life of a Japanese teenager in all its glory, as shown in the anime: school, walks with friends, circles, trips to festivals. Hell, the fifth part even has an affair with his teacher.


You can not even engage in heroism for weeks, but only your life and it will be as exciting as possible.

Sleeping Dogs

I might be wrong, but nowhere has Hong Kong been shown so well as in Sleeping Dogs, where as an undercover cop, we try to crush the triad from the inside. If Yakuza showed the realities of the life of the Japanese mafia, at times diluting them with fun everyday activities, then Sleeping Dogs entirely concentrates on the harsh reality of the Chinese triads that hide and try to rule the burgeoning neon city.


Busy streets, markets, sights - all this immerses you in the atmosphere of modern Asia, which is very rare. Besides, the game is very tough, which raises the degree of immersion.

Plus, get ready to go crazy getting used to right-hand traffic.


On the night of the Hungry Ghost Festival, a group of young people gathered in Kowloon, the walled city. They set out to shoot a short video for their supernatural online channel. And yes, something goes wrong in the classics.


If you've been looking for quality Asian horror for a long time, ParanormalHK is a worthy contender. You will travel to different parts of Hong Kong, Couln itself, in search of the paranormal. The game does not show you its beauty of the main streets, but drives you into dark and narrow backyards.


Set in a fictional world in the 1960s, the game depicts Taiwan during the White Terror. This story-driven atmospheric horror incorporates East Asian elements rarely seen in games. Taoism, Buddhism, Chinese mythology, the game draws on local Taiwanese cultural references to tell a unique and chilling story.


We play as two students trapped in their school, from which both students and teachers disappeared.

The game has a very strong cultural code and for a complete understanding of it, you better get acquainted with what happened in Taiwan in the 60s. Trust me, it's worth it. After all, besides the atmosphere, it has a great and frightening plot.

Shadow Warrior Dilogy

Shadow Warrior Dilogy is an excellent shooter set in the Asian setting, where you, as a mercenary Lo Weng, slash various Japanese and Asian demons. It seems more that the setting of the game is Japan, but in general, Chinese motives are visible in it.


Most notable is the ninja mechanics. You can use all sorts of magic with your sword, which is capable of sending air strikes at enemies and chopping them into pieces. This is primarily a game about a high-quality dismemberment, and as we know, killing demons is always fun.

The Topic of Article: 10 atmospheric games in the setting of modern Japan and Asia.
Author: Jake Pinkman