It has been a long time coming but Sega has finally released the remastered Yakuza 3 on the PlayStation 4. With Yakuza 4 and Yakuza 5 to follow in October 2019 and February 2020 respectively. This means the entire mainline Yakuza series will be available on the PlayStation 4 in the west covering the entire Kiryu Kazuma saga before moving on to a new protagonist with the eventual Yakuza 7.
The success of Yakuza 0 in the west meant that fans outside of Japan could look forward to future titles in the series which included the Yakuza: Kiwami remakes, spin-off title Judgement and now the remasters. Before gamers jump into the series, however, here are 10 things they should know before playing.
10 Play The Series In Chronological Order
With Yakuza 4 set to be released at the end of October and Yakuza 5 in February 2020, the complete Dragon of Dojima saga will be available on the PlayStation 4. So if you’re thinking about diving into one of the best RPG sagas available the most logical place to start would be with the prequel Yakuza 0.
The games work very well as standalone titles but one could only get a true understanding of the motivations of its protagonist and the backstories of returning characters by playing them in order. Furthermore, Yakuza 0 is arguably the best in the series and the perfect starting point to get a good first impression.
9 Expect Long Cut Scenes
The Yakuza saga is a series that is set to appeal to gamers that love enjoy a good story. There’s a lot of dialogue in the main storyline and the sub-stories, side quests, and lengthy cutscenes. Thankfully, it's backed up by some great writing and characterization.
However, all of the dialogue is in Japanese with English subtitles so it can at times feel like you’re watching a foreign film which could be daunting to some. While it matches the quality of the best crime dramas available be prepared to watch 20 minutes of cinematic cutscenes at key points of the game's story.
8 It’s Nothing Like Your Average Crime Sim
Gamers who have no prior or in-depth knowledge of the Yakuza series will often get told that it is an open-world crime sim. This would naturally lead a many to assume that it will play like a Grand Theft Auto or Sleeping Dogs. Yet it has more in common with classical Japanese RPGs than it does the GTA series.
There are no cars to drive around huge cities and it has more in common with Sega's Shenmue but the world of Yakuza is incredibly detailed and layered. It may not have the size of a typical open-world game but the series has a level of interaction, density, and depth that puts most free-roaming games to shame. Players are never short of side quests, minigames, and substories to discover.
7 Tackle The Side Quests For EXP
As mentioned, the sidequests and substories are a huge part of what makes the Yakuza games work and play so well. Unlike a lot of RPGs they aren’t throwaway or monotonous fetch quests, they are well-written, entertaining and often hilariously executed.
Making sure to tackle the side missions will go a long way in helping Kiryu gaining more EXP. There’s no shortage of things to do in Kamurocho and lots of fights to get involved in, all gifting the player with experience points to upgrade Kiryu’s skill set.
6 Be Prepared For Some Quirky Humor
As one would expect the Yakuza series can get very dark, violent, and even emotional. At their core, each and every one of the Yakuza games present themselves like an epic crime drama capable of keeping its audience gripped with its twists, betrayals, and losses.
Then in complete contrast to this many of the sub-stories can offer a welcome break from the drama by often telling amusing, entertaining, and sometimes touching stories of their own. The Yakuza games are filled with wonderfully weird things to do that only Japanese developed games can perfect.
5 The Remasters Won’t Perform As Well As The Recent Titles
Gamers that correctly began their journey with Yakuza 0 and Yakuza Kiwami on the PlayStation 4 will have gotten used to the refined and improved graphics from Yakuza 5. In addition, the brand new Dragon Engine used in Yakuza Kiwami 2 and Yakuza 6 added even more noticeable improvements.
So those continuing their journey with the remastered (not remade) Yakuza 3 will notice a significant difference in terms of its visuals and gameplay performance. Animations are stiffer and several NPCs wandering around the city still look a little rough around the edges.
4 Yakuza 3 Is Bigger & Better Than Before
While Yakuza 3 is a remaster and not a from-the-ground-up remake like the Kiwami titles there is a significant amount extra content that wasn’t present in the original western release. The original release saw 21 side missions completely removed from the game, these have now been restored.
The restored content includes the hostess club management system, quizzes, the mahjong minigames, and more. In addition, the localization has had a complete overhaul and the game now runs at 1080p and 60 frames per second.
3 Always Carry Recovery Items
Despite its very modern storytelling, the action in the Yakuza series feels like a love letter to old school classic beat em ups like Sega’s own Streets of Rage series. Just like that series players need to keep on top of their health so they can safely despatch thugs on the streets.
Thankfully, there’s a ton of convenience stores and pharmacies to purchase items from. The Staminan X medicines are the most useful because they can recover heat, health, and more. Additionally, it’s wise to pay frequent visits to restaurants to replenish health and other useful buffs for Kiryu.
2 Make Use Of Weapons
If there’s one thing that Yakuza has a reputation for it is the brutal street fights. They aren’t as fluid or as innovative as the Batman: Arkham Knight series or Sleeping Dogs but it is equally satisfying in its brutality.
A great deal of satisfaction also comes in the form of weapons whether they’re items that can be found in the environment/arena Streets of Rage style or purchased from stores. Making use of the weapons is not only great fun but they can make large groups of enemies or difficult bosses a breeze to deal with. However, be aware that they all have a limited amount of times they can be used so it would be wise to save them for the toughest fights.
1 You Need To Save Manually And Often
As mentioned, the Yakuza series adheres to a lot of old school gameplay mechanics that some modern gamers may have a tough time getting used to. This also extends to the save game system too, because without an auto-save function players could potentially lose hours of progress if they aren't careful.
While the game automatically saves between chapters and important story events, you have to manually save the game yourself. This can be done at phone booths dotted around the city and represented on the map by the “S” icon.