And now it’s complete!
Yakuza 5 was released 7 years ago on the PS3 platform and the release of its remastered version now on the PS4 marks the complete transition of the whole Yakuza numbered series to the current gen. The game was released in Japan on June 20, and the western release is expected to come along soon.
The Yakuza series, or better known as Ryū ga Gotoku in Japan, is an action-adventure RPG that is extremely well known for their hilariously retarded scripts, so-called mini-games which are actually full-fledged rather than “mini”, and over exaggerated fighting styles.
And as for the story and character development, the Yakuza series is probably one of the best out there and one of the few that lets you accompany the main character as he grows old through the years.
A trip down memory lane
I’m no kind-hearted soul. I can take another name, and build a new life… But on the inside I’ll always have that instinct, no matter how much I hate it. I’m yakuza through and through.
Kiryu to AOYAMA
For those of you who didn’t play Yakuza 5 on the PS3…
Here’s a little recap of the 2015 Yakuza 5. Our favourite joker, Kazuma Kiryu is on a self-imposed exile after the events in Yakuza 4; and he is now a qualified super taxi driver cum tour guide of the Nagasu Taxi Company in Fukuoka. In this installment, we accompany Kiryu towards his path of redemption and attempt to tie up all the loose ends to ensure the safety of Haruka Sawamura, a person Kiryu cares about.
As we move along the chapters, we will be introduced to four more playable characters with a history of their own. Returning characters are Shun Akiyama, Taiga Saejima and the first time being a playable character, Haruka Sawamura. Tatsuo Shinada makes his first appearance in the Yakuza series in this installment and is made a playable character as well.
Yakuza 5 Features
Yakuza 5 was generally given great ratings during the year of its release and it came to no surprise at all. The game was solid on many fronts and here are some of the best features of Yakuza 5 which contributed to the ratings:
- Runs on a brand-new graphics engine in comparison to its predecessors
- 5 playable characters throughout the entire game.
- One of the playable characters focuses fully on rhythm game battles.
- The longest storyline in the whole series
- The entire game brings the players across 5 big cities of Japan
- Soutenburi, Osaka (Dotonbori counterpart)
- Tsukimino, Sapporo (Susukino counterpart)
- Kamurocho, Tokyo (Kabukicho counterpart)
- Nagasugai, Fukuoka (Nakasu counterpart)
- Kineicho, Nagoya (Sakae counterpart)
- Addition of new Heat Action and Special Battle Techniques for each of the playable characters
- Addition of Dance Battles for the entire Haruka arc
Although celebrated as the one with the longest gameplay time in the series, a majority of the gameplay revolves around the introduction of the side stories feature called Another Drama.
As mentioned earlier, Kiryu’s job is a taxi driver in Fukuoka, his Another Drama side story is all about sending his passengers all around the semi-fictional Nagasugai district.
Saejima’s side story starts right after his escape from prison. His route of escape lands him in a remote hunting village. From the villagers, he picks up the ropes of hunting in the snowy mountains.
As an ex-professional baseball player, Tatsuo Shinada’s side story brings him into the batting cage to compete with his former high school teammate cum rivals.
Haruka’s side story mainly revolves around her journey towards JPOP stardom, ranging from idol trainee ethics to handling press interviews.
Graphics – Laughing my Ass off in 60 fps
After experiencing the remastered version, I can’t help but think that this game WAS actually made for the PS4 – and the PS3 version is just an early beta. The quality of graphics is comparable to the remastered result of Yakuza Zero, or maybe even better by a little.
At 1080p, the comical expressions of Kiryu and the gang can’t be any better. Every single frown, wrinkles, and facial blemishes can be seen. But of course, that applies to male characters only. As with every other Yakuza game, the female characters are all designed to be beyond perfection.
The remastered graphics further elevates the fighting experience with smoother transitions and of course… better graphics. The QTE actions are also much smoother in the remaster and the transitions after QTE actions are close to seamless.
Other than that…
There are no noticeable changes on the game contents and almost everything else. The remastered version is identical to the Yakuza 5 that came out on the PS3 – retaining all of the original game’s formula albeit presented in a visibly better graphics befitting today’s standards.
Given that we’re reviewing (actually more like revisiting) a remastered version of a 7-year-old game, it’s irrelevant to give it a score. But this is what we can say – this remaster was done perfectly, fully porting over the entire experience while upgrading wherever and whatever necessary to meet the current standards.
If you’re a fan of the Yakuza series, you can finally own the whole series on the PS4 itself with the release of this remaster. For those who have not experienced the Yakuza series, we highly recommend that you start playing from Yakuza 1 Kiwami or Yakuza 0, whichever you can get your hands on first.
The game was released in Japan on June 20, and the western release is expected to come along soon. The copy we reviewed is the Japanese/Chinese version of the game.