The Yakuza series has grown in popularity in the West over the last few years, especially now following the wildly different Yakuza: Like a Dragon. This newfound success has led to the series moving to other platforms, but for a long time, it was hard for fans to experience the older games. The Yakuza Remastered Collection brings a much-needed update to Yakuza 3, 4, and 5. Make no mistake, however, that these are old games with a remaster treatment, and not something revolutionary.
The biggest change with the collection comes with each game being updated to 1080p and 60fps, which does make a huge difference in presentation. The original PS3 versions of Yakuza 4 and 5 suffered from some pretty severe framerate drops, and having them run at a crisp rate feels fantastic. Despite their age, the games also look quite good, as the bright lights of Kamurocho shine off the puddles on the street.
All three Yakuza games also feature updated translations, making them fall more in line with the modern Yakuza titles. By and large, the translations aren’t complete overhauls, but small touchups that make the games fall in line with the rest of the series, like correcting certain character’s names. Interestingly, however, the remastered version of Yakuza 3 includes a ton of content that was originally cut in the Western PS3 version. Over 20 substories, minigames, and a hostess club system have been restored, meaning even longtime fans will find content they likely haven’t seen – or, at least, probably didn’t play themselves.
All of these changes and updates are nice, but the three games are definitely starting to show their age. Yakuza 3, in particular, looks and controls a little rough, especially considering it doesn’t have many of the innovations the next two games would bring. It’s also important to keep in mind that none of the three games let players save at any time, as at this point they still had to find phones or phone booths to save in. Still, the stories and character development of all three games hold up exceedingly well. It’s interesting to go back to, as the PS3 titles have elements that the series would later move away from.
Yakuza 4 and 5, in particular, have grandiose narratives that interweave multiple character’s stories. These stories are absurd in the best way possible, and unraveling the narrative across tens of hours is a blast. It’s especially interesting to go back to Yakuza 5 and see just how ambitious it actually was – maybe too ambitious in some cases. Yakuza 5 takes players to five different cities; Sapporo, Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, and Fukuoka. It’s fascinating to see Yakuza versions of each city, and each one has some kind of distinct feature, like the Snow Festival in Sapporo.
There’s an absurd amount of content packed into the Yakuza Remastered Collection, and it’s great to see fans new and old get to experience the entire series in one place, both on Xbox and PC now. Players need to go into the collection keeping in mind that these are all games nearly ten years old, and they simply won’t play as smoothly as newer titles. However, the updated graphical options and retouched translations make this the very best way to experience Yakuza 3, 4, and 5.
Yakuza: Remastered Collection is now available on Xbox One, PS4, and PC. Al three games are currently included on Xbox Game Pass. Xbox One codes were provided to Screen Rant for the purposes of this review.