For the first time in the franchise, the Yakuza Remastered Collection lets you play the full story of the Dragon of Dojima on one console.
Title: Yakuza Remastered Collection
Developer: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio
Platforms: Playstation 4 (reviewed)
Release date: February 20th, 2020
The Yakuza franchise is one that nearly all gamers know, even if they haven’t played it. While I have played Yakuza Kiwami (thanks PS4 for it being a free PS Plusgame) and very much enjoy the varied gameplay and the silliness of it all, I wasn’t sure if the reasons I loved the first game (Kiwami is the first game remade) would be carried the Yakuza Remastered Collection. With the same gameplay as the originals but the added bells and whistles of being updated for the current generation of consoles, is it worth spending the money to own them all over again?
For those that haven’t played any Yakuza games before, the story can get pretty complicated. There are a lot of Japanese names and clans that can be a little difficult to remember but there are just a few big names that you need to know and the rest kind of falls into place, especially after a few hours of gameplay.
Most of the games center around Kazuma Kiryu, a member of the Tojo Clan in Kamurocho. After taking the fall for a murder he didn’t commit to protect a friend, he spent ten years in prison and in 2005 he was released.
Yakuza 1-3 finds him gaining his strength back, solving betrayals and taking care of the growing and adorable Haruka. With Yakuza 4 and 5, Kiryu steps back as the main protagonist and you play as several different people with varied fighting styles and their own points of view surrounding stories within the Yakuza.
It seems pretty general but if I were to delve deep into the story of every game, you would literally be here all day. Besides, this is less about the stories and more about the improvements in the games graphics, mechanics and playability.
In terms of graphics, the Yakuza Remastered Collection look virtually the same. While they do offer a variety of locations outside of Kamurocho, the trio of games are colorful and stay true to the style that the Yakuza games are known for. The only things that will forever bother me are the characters’ enormous hands. The hands of all of the characters are the size of frying pans and it will never NOT bother me. It’s as comical as Barry Burton’s enormous magnum and makes even less sense.
While the original game was dubbed in English, the subsequent games are done in the traditional Japanese which is so much more ideal. The voice acting is incredible and you feel like you are watching a movie but the cutscenes are just so damn long and you can’t skip them! While Yakuza Kiwami had long cut scenes, they were a reasonable length and you could pop your way past them if you had seen them before. But with the Yakuza Remastered Collection, the cut scenes are unnecessarily long to the point of boredom and you are stuck with them, like it or not.
While the fighting mechanics are a vast improvement to Yakuza Kiwami, they are still pretty choppy in Yakuza 3 but improve drastically for 4 and 5. Because you don’t just play as Kiryu in the later games, you get to experiment and learn a variety of fighting styles from strong and slow to weaker and fast. With each character, you relearn just how to fight since button mashing won’t win you any battles in Yakuza games.
With the Yakuza Remastered Collection, this gives fans the opportunity to play the entire story of Kazuma Kiryu on a single console. From Yakuza 0, the prequel with young Kiryu and (my personal favorite) a young Goro Majima to Yakuza 6 with a fully grown Haruka and Kiryu as the protagonist once again, you get to experience it all in one smooth experience. With all of these remastered games, this is a great way to play through the entire story.
Another thing I really love about the Yakuza games is the fact that the characters age. With each game, you see the realistic aging of the characters. Not only that, the year of the story coincides with the years that the game was released. Even more, when one of the games was released during the holidays, it was reflected in the game. Small details like that means the player can really place themselves into the game.
Overall, I definitely think that it’s worth getting the Yakuza Remastered Collection, even if you own it on the originally released consoles. Not only are the graphics improved, but the fighting mechanics are smoother. The Yakuza games are just fun! Whether you are in it for the intricate storylines of loyalty, betrayal and crime in the streets of Kamurocho or because you love the side games and want to spend all of your money on the UFO catchers in the arcades (don’t judge me), there’s something for everyone.
The price point is a little high at $59.99 since these games aren’t new but you are getting three full games with hours upon hours of gameplay. The Yakuza Remastered Collection is available now on PS4.
A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.