The Yakuza Swan Series on PS3 arrives on PS4 Enhanced. Yakuza 5 Remastered is a new age beat ’em up with elements of RPG, racing, rhythm and everything that hits the shop. It’s a classic Japanese jigsaw puzzle, an open-world game where you meet targets and are thrown on the road from one spot to another, like Chinese viruses, random battles, and minor stories.
In recent years, Kazuma Kiryu, wanting to escape the cruel world of the Japanese mafia, goes to Fukuoka and witnesses Suzuki (riley now?). He becomes a taxi driver and lives a normal life in a chamber two to three stables. But because “once Yakuza, forever Yakuza”, Kazuma discovers that they betrayed him, played with him and feasted on his tormented body. After the disappearance of Dojima’s Daigo (the leader of the Tojo Clan de, who was a member of Kazuma, who had become leader after he was released from prison, son-in-law), the feast takes place and Kazuma wants to go back to the old, he wants his old neighborhood and is forced to become Yakuza again. The script is interesting, especially for veterans in the series.
As with the Yakuza 4, you don’t just control the main protagonist of the series, Kazuma Kiryu. Specifically, you control a total of five characters (Yakuza 5, five protagonists duh …) in five different cities (did we skim a bit?). There are two well-known characters from Yakuza 4, the sympathetic Akiyama and the calf Saejima, but we also have a new character, Shinada, a baseball player (amazing choice), and Haruka (the mystic from the past) who wants to become Fouriera.
The classic element of Yakuza, the battles, is more impressive than previous games, with the final moves of the characters more “danceable” and bloody making the stick enjoyable. Battles are scattered on every map and are divided into two types, random on the road, where every bitter wants to black his ass and boss battles where every bitter Yakuza also wants to black his ass. They are repetitive and show, like the graphics, their age. Enemies wait their turn as you press a combination of buttons that include the square and the triangle (unless it’s QTE) until you fill the bar and make a spectacular and bloody finishing move.
The existence of so many characters with their own story has its disadvantages. Each character has its own moves and fighting style. As you level-up and learn their moves one by one, your game switches character and starts you from scratch. And as you learn the moves of the other, Chup, now play with Haruka and melt in rhythm games until you sing “Find the Brunette” like the Pyramidos. Of course we are talking about a Yakuza game, so the cutscenes are equal to the time of the gameplay, maybe even over. If you thought Yakuza 3 had a lot of cutscenes, where to see Yakuza 5.
As with all Yakuza’s, there are plenty of minigames here too. They have of course escaped shortly after being put in the trash! OK yes, we want environmental conscience, but here we are talking about a Yakuza ford lobby game. Minigames include billiards, baseball, arcade, colossus, wildlife hunting, karaoke, snowball and many more that entice you with the history of the game and increase the hours you spend with it.
The previous generation graphics show their age, but they are at least “clean” and 1080p at 60fps. And the animations are a little cucumber, the handling stiff, especially if you’ve played the last Yakuza where everything is much more fluid and not agaric. Speaking of last gen, during the game it is very common for objects and people on the street to abruptly fade-in and fade-out on screen as the second voices in a Stucoud song. Good soundtrack and audio in general. I don’t know if the actors are saying it well, since the game is not dubbed in English. But it has pretty subtitles and I have no reason to question the Japanese acting ability of the actors involved, so let’s just say the dialogues are flawless.
Yakuza 5 is probably the weakest game in the Yakuza series (Dead Souls don’t count, we’ve deleted it from our memory). Sega probably had a reason for being late to bring it to the West when it was released on the PS3. If you’re a fan of trash (or sushi, we won’t judge anyone), if not, you’d better deal with the latest Yakuza games that are far more modern in gameplay and mechanics.