Yakuza 5 (Yakuza Remastered Collection)
PlayStation 4 – 2019
Yakuza 5 follows a similar structure to Yakuza 4. The game is split out into five chapters, with the first four following a different character before they come together for the finale. Each chapter has four acts so it is a lengthy game. What this one does have over its predecessor is that each chapter takes place in a different location. This is a bit of fresh air as the series has spent the majority of its time in Kamurocho. The new locations also have a bit of variety to them too, for example Kineicho is a bit of a sleazier town while Tsukimino is a snowy town that embraces its cold culture. The new areas are smaller than Kamurocho and this can be a bit of a nuisance. For example, Tsukimino may seem like a large city but a lot is blocked off due to the road structure. Then, you have to avoid the police in this city so it is further reduced. This presents a challenge when trying to avoid combat as you try to get things done. The combat has also seen an improvement over Yakuza 4. The transition is a lot smoother in places and taking out the leader will cause enemies to fall over in fear or flee. The overuse of blocking is back but it is no where near as bad as Yakuza 3. While I enjoyed the combat, I felt there were more random encounters this time around. I actually went from one fight straight into another which was annoying. The side-missions and mini-games return from the previous entries. While I didn’t spend much time with the mini-games, I did enjoy the side-missions. They never felt overbearing. The game also introduces story missions for each character and these can be a fun distraction. They include racing in a taxi, hunting and dancing. While I enjoyed the story, I felt it was the weakest of the series. Saejima is still running from the police, Haruka’s chapter feels drawn out (I know it has two characters, but still), and I don’t feel Shinada is well utilised. His story is interesting but I don’t think its well presented. He also feels like he has the shortest chapter. The finale tries to one-up Yakuza 4 but it feels a bit distracted and while I liked the final boss fight, I felt it lacked the grandiose build up of previous Yakuzas. One thing that did jump out to me was the music. It was fantastic and set the tone really well. Overall, I think this is the best of the Remastered games.