Developer: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studios | Publisher: Sega | Release Date: 02/11/2020 | Genre: Action-Adventure | Reviewed On: PS4 Pro
The Yakuza franchise has been wildly popular for years but has been given new life with the recent wave of remastered editions on the PS4. With the Yakuza Remastered Collection, PS4 owners can complete their collection of the saga of Kazuma Kiryu. This collection contains Yakuza 3, 4 and 5 and each has been upgraded to a nice, respectable 1080p 60fps. If you have played Yakuza Kiwami 2 then the first thing you will notice is that this collection did not receive the full Dragon Engine treatment and there is no 4K resolution for the PS4 Pro. It seems like a step back considering how gorgeous Kiwami 2 is but the games still look and play great even if Kiryu’s shoulders look huge as he runs.
I am guilty of skipping the entire original run of the Yakuza series so I have been playing them as they are released on the PS4. Having played the remakes of 1, 2 and finishing Yakuza 6, playing Yakuza 3 is a little bittersweet. One the one hand, the story is excellent and my favorite of the series (still waiting on 7 to come out stateside) but the gameplay while very smooth feels dated given the fact that this trilogy was not remade from the ground up like the earlier PS4 entries.
Beyond that, everything you would expect from a Yakuza game is here: odd substories, street battles with enemies that should have run after the first guy got his ass whooped and mini-games galore.
Yakuza 4 shakes up the typical formula a bit by giving you multiple characters to play as in an intersecting storyline. You will find yourself taking control of Kazuma Kiryu, Saejima, Akiyama, and Tanimura. The conclusion of the storyline is handled well but the gameplay as with Yakuza 3 still feels a bit dated. It’s not bad but it is a testament of just how well the developers handled the Kiwami remasters.
The game gives you tons of things to do apart from the main storyline making Yakuza 4 one of the most ambitious entries in the series.
Yakuza 5 is my favorite overall game in the collection. Kiryu is forever trying to lay low and live a normal life but keeps getting sucked back in. This time he’s become a cab driver and is personally my favorite aspect of the storyline. It’s just so entertaining to see the toughest man in Japan driving people around the city. This game also gives you 5 playable characters in 5 different parts of Japan.
Everything is more refined from 3 and 4 which includes the combat and the visuals. Sega crammed so much content into Yakuza 5 that you will find yourself missing out on a lot of things in real life trying to do everything.
The Yakuza Remastered Collection packs a ton of story-driven brawling into one convenient package. Fans already own it and haven’t had enough free time to even read this. Newcomers will find lots of entertaining gameplay and great storytelling in this collection. It would have been nice to see this collection get the same from the ground up reworking that Sega put into the Kiwami editions of 1 &2 but what’s here is a collection I am more than happy to add to my library.