I am not sure how I would classify this game. I know I enjoyed it, albeit with a few issues, but I am not sure if I could compare it to any other game or say if I would like a similar game. If you are thinking that this is a gang game and you will spend the whole game offing other gangs and so forth, that is not the case.
The game is really one big story, with a former Yakuza trying to be free of the life but eventually gets pulled back in. The game has constant fight scenes, but most are just with random people on the street who want to fight you for cutting them off or if they are in a bad mood or something. There is not a whole lot to the combat in the game until you face bosses or the Combat Arena. The fight scenes are fun though with pretty cool endings and area-related injuries and the like. You can throw people through windows, and stomp them into car doors. And all sorts of other thinks like that. However, they are almost all the same. They happen over and over again with no reason other than to give you experience points. They do get a little repetetive and I spent the last half of the game avoding these fights as they got real old.
But the game is mostly about the story, and if you can stand the really long cut scenes, it is a really nice story. A former Yakuza who opens an orphanage and gets dragged back into the "Life" by events beyond his control. It is an engrossing storyline with interesting characters.
The action scenes are there almost primarily to move the story along. The side quests and sand-box features are more fun than the in-game combat. There is a bowling alley, a batting cage, an arcade, hit-man missions, where you don't actually kill anyone, and tons and tons of side missions.
In the end, the game is a lot of fun, but more for the story and beautiful graphics of Japan than the actual game play. If you are expecting a crazy fighting game, this is not that, but cool nonetheless.