Posted on 31 Oct 2022 by L Coulsen

Yakuza 5 Remastered

The Defence

Developer: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio
Publisher: SEGA
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fighting
Platform: Consoles, PC
Review copy: No
Release date: No data.

The Prosecution

OS: Windows
CPU: Intel Core i3 2100
AMD FX 4350
VGA: Nvidia GeForce GTS 450 1GB
AMD Radeon HD 5770 1GB
HDD: 32.5 GB
DirectX: 10
Controller: Full
Mod Support: No
VR: No
FOV Slider: No
FPS Lock: Unknown

The Case

Ahh yes, Yakuza 5, the series’ swansong for the PlayStation 3. Sort of The final part of the remastered trilogy, it was then first time the series saw a new engine in almost half a decade. An especially impressive feat since it came only two years after the previous mainline entry, not to mention the bajillion and a half spin-offs over the year. Seriously, Yakuza is a huge, and hugely prolific, franchise. So let’s see how it stacks up.

The Trial

Well, first of all, it’s absolutely massive. Featuring not one, two, or even three cities, it has a total of five primary locations. Each of them being, admittedly, small by open-world standards, but still pretty darn big in their own right. And each absolutely packed to the brim with detail and events to experience. On top of that, there are several other areas, of varying size, which players visit at various points throughout the campaign.

Such as the hunting village that has an entire (small) game’s worth of content all on its own. With not just several hours of story and events, but unique gameplay not seen anywhere else in the franchise. That being, basic but effective, gunplay. You get a few different hunting rifles during your time there, with minor differences between them. But basically, as long as you are aiming roughly in the same direction as the continent your prey is located on, you’re going to kill it dead. Apart from bears, which can take three or four shots sometimes. Especially if you don’t hit them in the face.

You also have access to several types of hunting traps. Snares and the like. And there’s some rudimentary survival gameplay, in which your health is continually being drained by inclement weather. Requiring you eat to keep your strength up, or stop at hunting lodges scattered throughout the mountainside. The latter also fully replenishing your supply of ammunition. Like I said, a game’s worth of content all on its own.

Actually, that’s true of most parts of the game. Much in the vein of Yakuza 4, this entry features multiple playable characters. Papa Kiryu, Saejima and Akiyama all make a return, as well as Haruka, now sixteen years old and playable. As well as new character Tatsuo. With each of them having their own series of adventures that come together at the end. And each of them being large enough to be an entire game all over again.

You said it.

Let me put it this way, a personal friend of mine literally ignored everything apart from the main storyline. Running from one plot event to the next and barely stopping for anything along the way, and still clocked in over 60 hours of playtime. My own experience, which covered a lot more (but not all) of the substories and the full hunting side story, topped well over a hundred. Seriously, this is a huge game. Offering easily fifteen hours of pre-rendered cinematics, and about as much again in text based exposition.

The core gameplay loop is pretty much what you’d expect from a Yakuza game. You move from place to place, punch a lot of things, rinse and repeat. The key difference being Haruka’s story. Now living in Sotenbori, Osaka (Majima’s home town) she’s training for her idol debut. That’s what popstars are called in Japan, for those who don’t know. As such, her sections are sans combat, but still offer ‘battle’ encounters which play out as a dancing/singing rhythm game. Good thing Yakuza has all those karaoke bars, eh?

Her role in the story also ends up being, arguably, the most significant. Which isn’t too surprising, because she’s featured so heavily throughout the rest of the franchise. Her talent agency is run by a lady who ends up being Majima’s ex-wife. But I’m not going in to any more detail than that, because there’s a lot to it.

Speaking of Majima. When the game kicks off, following Kiryu I his new identity as a taxi driver (seriously) called Suzuki. We’re initially lead to believe that, yet again, the Tojo clan is in dire straits and they desperately need to make an alliance which ‘insert new clan here’ or there’ll be an all out war. I mean, there will, because that’s pretty much the background of every game in the series. But the main focus quickly shifts to much more personal stakes. Again, like it always does. And everything revolving around Haruka becomes the driving force.

Night fever, night fe-ver.

See, Majima is dead. Totally for really reals. He totes is dead. It’s all over the news. It’s the spark that’s setting ablaze the powder keg. It happened of screen. Even before the later games he appears in, nobody believed it. Yeah, he’s not dead, no matter how hard everyone tries to convince you otherwise. And that’s where Mirei, Haruka’s agent, being Majima’s wife starts to become a much bigger deal. As Majima has sent her a letter confirming he’s still alive and arranging to meet her.

Leading to a mad dash for everyone trying to get their hands on it and figure out if he’s actually alive, or just being Majima and deliberately making a scene by setting it up ahead of time. Honestly, probably a bit of both. This is Majima, after all. Maybe he really is dead for most of the game, and just comes back to life to be in the finale because he’s bored and wants to stab Kiryu a bit more. Get some weird fan theory YouTuber on that.

Anyhoo. There isn’t a great deal more than needs saying. This is another solid entry in the Yakuza franchise. Though it does somewhat follow the trend of every other game being a bit naff. Though only slightly. The problem with grappling enemies from its predecessor returns, and is far more pronounced. To the extent that there are several skills allowing you to break out of grapples faster, or outright defeat the dude who grabbed you with a heat move.

Where this was a recurrent, but intermittent annoyance before, it’s persistent throughout the entire game this time. And, well, if you have to include a gameplay mechanic specifically to address another gameplay mechanic…yeah, I’m sure you see the problem here. There is also a major amount of bullshittery going on with the Purgatory Coliseum, to the extent that I just refused to engage with it after a few fights. But that was always supposed to be more of a rite of passage, tertiary challenge arena, so it’s a lot less of an issue. Optional content being a bit wank is easy to overlook.

Falcon PUNCH!

Aside from that, though, the rest of the game is pretty darn good. It doesn’t look quite as good as Yakuza 4 in some ways, despite using clearly significantly more advanced tech. Lighting isn’t as impressive being the largest issue. But overall, it’s still a very solid looking game, which notable improvements in other areas. Character models are far more detailed and significantly more animated. So the overall visual takeaway is a distinct step up.

Plus, with the insane amount of new gameplay elements, like the above mentioned hunting, as well as an entire story arc around Kiryu using his taxi in a series of street races (it’s Yakuza, just go with it) and just regular taxi driving. Then there’s all the new gameplay with Haruka’s dancing and singing, which includes a dance battle against frikkin’ Komaki, because why not? Fishing, more robust baseball because of Tatsuo’s past as a pro-baseball player…it’s just a huge game. And there really is, pretty much, something for literally everyone.

Those few issues previously mentioned are surprising more because of how few there are. It’s a testament to just how good the Ryu Ga Gotoku team really is that they made a game so large, and still maintained the expected levels of polish. Even with them shifting over to a new engine in the process. They’re just a very, very talented group and have more than earned all of the praise they’ve had over the years.

The Verdict

For many, this is the best game in the entire franchise, and it’s not at all hard to see why. Though my personal favourite lays elsewhere (I’ll give you a clue, Majima is playable in Yakuza 0) I cannot deny the sheer strength and scale of this (sort of) final outing for the PlayStation 3. Running just as well, and having the same requirements, as the previous two titles in the remastered trilogy, it’s another easy recommendation from one of the very best franchises on any platform.

Case Review

  • Majima: Died off screen? Yeah, right.

  • Variety: There really is a little something for everyone.

  • Size: Probably the largest in the entire franchise, it can be a little overwhelming at times.

  • Tremors: So many graboids! Not game breaking, but certainly irritating at times.

  • Visuals: Hardly a terrible looking game, just a little undercooked in certain areas.

  • Haruka: Personally really liked it, but it’s the only thing I can see anyone complaining about.

4.5 Score: 4.5/5
Another superb Yakuza game.


  • Controls: Real Yakuza use a gamepad...but a mouse and keyboard is perfectly functional. A controller is definitely the better option, but both offer customisability to get things set up just the way you want them.
  • Game Options: It's a port, so the number of graphical options is limited. But it's a port, so it runs well on lower spec hardware. Other than some minor tweaks to appearance and framerate caps, you won't notice much difference, though.

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