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…
Let me give you a brief summary of Yakuza 5 from 2015. Kazuma Kiryu, our beloved protagonist, has taken a voluntary break from society following the incidents that occurred in Yakuza 4. He now works for the Nagasu Taxi Company in Fukuoka, where he serves as a skilled taxi driver and tour guide. Throughout the game, we follow Kiryu as he seeks to redeem himself and resolves all remaining issues to ensure the safety of Haruka Sawamura, whom he deeply cares for.
As we progress through the game’s chapters, we will encounter four additional playable characters, each with their own unique background. Among these characters are familiar faces such as Shun Akiyama and Taiga Saejima, as well as Haruka Sawamura, who is playable for the first time in the series. Additionally, Tatsuo Shinada makes his debut in the Yakuza franchise in this particular installment and is also a playable character.
Yakuza 5 Features
Yakuza 5 received overwhelmingly positive reviews upon its release in 2015, and it’s not difficult to see why. The game boasted a wide range of exceptional features, including:
- 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
Yakuza 5 is widely recognized for its impressive gameplay duration, which is the longest in the entire series. However, a significant portion of the gameplay centers around the introduction of a new side story feature known as “Another Drama.”
In Kiryu’s Another Drama storyline, he works as a taxi driver in Fukuoka and transports his passengers throughout the semi-fictional Nagasugai district.
Saejima’s side story takes place after his escape from prison, where he finds himself in a remote hunting village. Here, he learns about hunting in the snowy mountains from the locals.
Tatsuo Shinada, an ex-professional baseball player, competes with his former high school teammate and rival in a batting cage in his side story.
Haruka’s side story focuses on her pursuit of JPOP stardom, covering topics such as idol trainee ethics and handling press interviews.
Graphics – Laughing my Ass off in 60 fps
Upon playing the remastered version of Yakuza 5, it’s hard not to think that the game was initially intended for the PS4, and the PS3 version was simply an early beta. The graphics quality is comparable to, if not better than, the remastered version of Yakuza Zero.
At 1080p resolution, the comical expressions of Kiryu and his crew are depicted in stunning detail. Every frown, wrinkle, and facial blemish is visible, though this only applies to male characters. As with previous Yakuza games, female characters are designed to be near-perfect.
The improved graphics heighten the fighting experience, with smoother transitions and better visuals. The quick-time events (QTEs) are also much smoother in the remastered version, with seamless transitions after QTE actions.
Other than that…
In terms of game content, there are no significant changes between the remastered version of Yakuza 5 and its original PS3 release. The remastered version retains all of the original game’s features and gameplay mechanics. The difference lies in the graphics, which are significantly improved and bring the game up to today’s visual standards. Overall, the remastered version offers the same gameplay experience as the PS3 release, but with better graphics.
Given that we are reviewing a remastered version of a 7-year-old game, it may not be necessary to give it a score. However, it’s worth noting that this remaster was executed perfectly, porting over the entire experience while upgrading the necessary elements to meet current standards.
For fans of the Yakuza series, this remastered version offers the chance to own the entire series on the PS4. For those who have yet to experience the Yakuza franchise, we highly recommend starting with Yakuza 1 Kiwami or Yakuza 0, whichever is accessible 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.