That's right; every main Yakuza game is now available for PS4 so let's fill in a massive gap and check out this Remastered Collection.
Yakuza 3 Remastered PlayStation 4 ★★★★☆
Yakuza 3 originally released in 2009 and this Remastered version offers a slightly enhanced resolution as well as a smoother frame rate. Besides that, it's the same old game but that's not a bad thing. In this installment, Kiryu wants to move on from his violent lifestyle so he moves to Okinawa where he and his daughter run an orphanage. However, things don't remain peaceful for long as the orphanage is threatened by power-hungry jerks and the following adventure will have Kiryu bash in more heads than he would have liked to.
The story has one of the most unique premises yet Yakuza 3's gameplay is disappointingly standard. For starters, the core combat is very simple but it also manages to be somewhat unintuitive. Specifically, it took me a long time to get used to how Kiryu moves as he has the tendency to punch and kick thin air if you don't control him with precise and deliberate actions. I didn't have this problem with the more modern entries. On the plus side, there's loads of variety such as exciting foot chases, tons of substories to complete, the ability to modify weapons, and an odd hostess management sub-game. There are also a great deal of mini-games such as casino games, darts, golf, fishing, pool, shogi, mahjong, bowling, karaoke, and even a batting cage. You can also earn cash by battling folks in the underground coliseum which can be quite a rewarding challenge. In the end, Yakuza 3 lacks fun combat but it makes up for that with its variety.Yakuza 3 Remastered gameplay video →
Yakuza 4 Remastered PlayStation 4 ★★★★☆
Releasing in 2010, Yakuza 4 is yet another solid entry in the franchise. It has you play as a variety of characters in its 4 acts with flashbacks to different time periods; namely, Shun Akiyama, Taiga Saejima, Masayoshi Tanimura, and last but not least, Kazuma Kiryu. Although being able to experience the story via 4 distinct perspectives is awesome, it was hard to shake the feeling that it's too similar to Yakuza 3. Not only is the combat mostly unchanged, the graphics haven't aged well either. Some NPCs are downright ugly with visible polygonal features so if you were expecting Yakuza 3 and 4 Remastered to look as good as Yakuza Kiwami then you'll be disappointed.
Graphics aside, Yakuza 4 remains one of the most varied campaigns in the franchise due to its amount of extra content as well as the ability to play as 4 stand-out protagonists who each have their own fighting styles even though they don't feel all that different. Some notable additions include pachinko, hanafuda, table tennis, and there's now some hostess-style stuff that takes place in a hot springs area. Of course, there are tons of substories to complete, restaurants to eat at, and shops to visit as well which help flesh out the marginally expanded city of Kamurocho. Overall, it's a solid game and feels like an expanded natural evolution of Yakuza 3.Yakuza 4 Remastered gameplay video →
Yakuza 5 Remastered PlayStation 4 ★★★★☆
Finally, here's Yakuza 5 which initially released back in 2012. The story has Kiryu take the role of a taxi driver but of course, that doesn't last long as he's pulled back into the world of rivalling clans. As you progress through the story, you'll play as 5 characters within their own distinct locales: Kazuma Kiryu in Nagasugai, Taiga Saejima in Tsukimino and Kamurocho, Haruka Sawamura and Shun Akiyama in Sotenbori, and Tatsuo Shinada in Kineicho. Unlike Yakuza 4, the various acts actually feel distinct and memorable complete with changes of scenery, radically different gameplay, and fully fleshed out characters. Also, the graphics are the best out of all 3 games here although I wish the performance was optimized more for PS4 Pro owners seeing as it runs at 1080p 60fps max. It still looks great, though.
Gameplay-wise, Yakuza 5's combat is fine-tuned and much more satisfying although it still isn't the greatest of the series. One of the most stand-out gameplay aspects is driving the taxi as Kiryu. Just like with driving in real-life, you'll have to pay attention to traffic lights, signs, and people walking and you also get rewarded by smoothly braking and accelerating. It may not sound fun but I found it surprisingly rewarding; perhaps because you can simply drive however you want in most games. Anyway, you can also take pictures around the cities, play air hockey, and enjoy arcade games like Taiko no Tatsujin and Virtua Fighter 2. Hands down, it's my favourite of the 3 games.Yakuza 5 Remastered gameplay video →
The Yakuza Remastered Collection finally makes being able to enjoy every Yakuza game on PS4 possible and that's fantastic. Although the games generally don't hold up as well as others in the series, they're all still memorable story-driven sandbox experiences.
- + 3 solid games in 1 convenient package
- + Yakuza 5 holds up beautifully and remains one of the best in the series
- + Loads of variety throughout
- - Visuals are rather dated
- - Combat is a bit flat and unintuitive in both Yakuza 3 and Yakuza 4
- - Performance isn't optimal