I can understand being reluctant to get into the Yakuza series when there are just so many games
That's exactly what I've been doing! I've been meaning to play them since 1935 or whenever it was they came out, and I've finally managed to complete the first two. They're bloody brilliant, I love them. I've been tempted to pick up the remakes and prequels for the PS4, but I'm pretty determined to play them in the order they were released. They really strike the right balance of what I'm looking for in video games right now; fantastic and fun stories, great but pretty simple combat, lots to do and see, but nothing I have to really sink a bunch of time into in order to avoid feeling like I'm missing out on something. Much as I love a good RPG, I'm so obsessive I often have to reload a million times and go through dialogue trees over and over again in order to feel like I made the right choice and that I wasn't missing out on some good bit of writing or character development or something. I also like the fact I don't have to traverse a big boring empty world, too. I can just pick up a Yakuza game, break some bicycles on dudes heads, be a badass, hit a few baseballs, wine and dine some hostesses, get into some good drama. They're perfect.
I've been really getting into simpler games now, games I can just pick up and play. I've gone through a lot of old Castlevania games and a Metroid game or two.
That being said I do feel like I've missed out on the Witcher, which apparently isn't too shabby of a game. Because of my aforementioned obsessive nature, however, I'm almost positive I'd want to start at the very beginning with the first one... and then there's the books, too. So I don't know. You guys think I should start with the 3rd, and if I'm hugely enamored go back and play the earlier ones, or would they be spoiled?
At the current moment I've just started a classic PS2 era Capcom game called Shadow of Rome. It's good fun, chopping people to bits and using their arms and heads as weapons, furiously pressing a button to chomp haunches of meat in the middle of combat to recover stamina before suplexing an 8 foot tall 400 pound viking with a horned helmet to death. It sounds like your type of thing, Ocelot, you should play it and type some paragraphs about it so I can validate myself with your opinions!