With the recent releases of Yakuza Kiwami and Yakuza Kiwami 2, in addition to Yakuza 0, there was a clear gap in the Yakuza storyline on PlayStation 4. Namely, Yakuza 3, Yakuza 4, and Yakuza 5. The Yakuza Remastered Collection aims to remedy that – a 3-in-1 collection that brings the entire series up to date and allows for fans of the series to complete not only the experience but the whole convoluted storyline.
At the time of writing, only Yakuza 3 and Yakuza 4 Remastered were available, with Yakuza 5 going live on February 11, 2020. We’ll cover that one on another day, but for now, let’s look at these two older games, which were originally released in 2010 and 2011 respectively.
Before I do look at each, it should be mentioned that these are Remasters and not remakes. While the Kiwami series remade the original games and added some more modern tropes, this collection brings the games into the modern era, allowing them to be displayed at 1080p and at 60 frames per second.
In addition, some of the mini-games that were deemed “too Japanese for Western audiences” in the PS3 Western releases have been added back into the games and the localisation has been completely reworked. This results in a more enjoyable – and noticeably more amusing – experience overall.
Apart from that, the games are the same as they were on the original release.
Yakuza 3 & Yakuza 4 Remastered Review
In both cases, if you’ve played a Yakuza game, you know what to expect. Both games are heavily story-based, with a focus on the exploration of certain areas within Japan and solid and enjoyable (if a little clunky) fighting mechanics in between.
There are plenty of side quests to work your way through, as well as a myriad of increasingly ridiculous mini-games to keep you busy along the way. In short, Yakuza games are good games, but be prepared for upwards of four hours worth of cut scenes across the 20+ hour main storyline.
Yakuza 3 plays out across Tokyo and Okinawa and tells a very strong story about the Orphanage that the protagonist, Kazuma Kiryu, runs. It also tells the continuing storyline of the trouble Tojo Clan.
Fans of the series will want to play this title in order to understand more about Goro Majima, Daigo Dojima, and Kiryu’s adopted father figure, Shintaro Kazama.
However, given the time that has elapsed since original release (10 years in 2020), it is beginning to show its age, with loading screens in places that modern titles wouldn’t have them and outdated character models. Still, this is a highly engaging title with solid and fun battle mechanics, and the story is just great – like all Yakuza games, I have to admit.
While Yakuza 3 provides an engaging story and a fun experience, Yakuza 4 makes changes that almost make it a must-play for fans of the series. These changes certainly make the game more complex, but for a game like Yakuza, it just makes it BETTER. The inclusion of multiple playable characters is marvellous even though the whole game plays out in one city, Tokyo, unlike the previous game).
Yakuza 4 introduces three new playable characters; Taiga Saejima, Shun Akiyama, and Masayoshi Tanimura, Each of these characters, along with series mainstay Kazuma Kiryu, has their own storyline that plays out on its own before all four threads come together towards the end of the game.
Not only this, but this title actually tells a blindingly good story as well, providing some background into multiple popular characters within the series (including the inimitable Goro Majima) at the same time as introducing new characters of equal magnitude.
Right from the first 15 minutes of loading into the game, the story had me hooked once again – and I played Yakuza 4 already – which goes to show just how good this title is. In fact, if it weren’t for Yakuza 5, this would probably be my favourite in the series,
There’s some insight into my next review for you.
So where does this leave us, in regards to this review? I guess it comes down to one thing; have you played these games before? If the answer is yes, then I don’t think there’s really a need to revisit the remaster. Sure, it’s great to play the games again, and if you are an absolute completionist, then there may be some interest in experiencing some of what was removed in prior versions, but in the end, you’ve played the games before.
If you haven’t played them before, but you’ve enjoyed the other games in the series? Then you absolutely must play these; both games are brilliant in their own right.
And lastly, if you’ve never played a Yakuza game before; what’s wrong with you!?
Get on it!
And there’s never been a better time to jump on board, start with Yakuza 0, and then work your way through the entire series.
Thank me later.
Yakuza Remastered Collection was reviewed on PS4 using a digital copy provided by the publisher.
Game Title: Yakuza Remastered Collection (3 & 4)