Yakuza 5 Review – Drive Back to the Japanese Underworld

Return as Kazuma Kiryu in Yakuza 5 as you delve back into the narrative that is the Japanese underworld. In this 5th installment, it is like jumping into another season of a famous cable TV drama. For those who have not followed the Yakuza franchise, it has been eight years since the last iteration, and just about everything in this 5th game from the franchise is well worth the wait. Throughout those eight years, the developers have been busy in making this game into an even more feature-packed experience. Players will savor the game with numerous interwoven plotlines, energetic combat system, and other numerous events that will bring the Japanese underground world to life.

Yakuza 5 Review - Drive Back to the Japanese Underworld

Yakuza 5 Brings More Engaging Elements Into the Series

Yakuza 5 belongs at the end of the open world category wherein gameplay takes a bit of a backseat with regards to the story. We’re talking the likes of Xenosaga when it comes to really lengthy cutscenes. In this 5th title to the Yakuza franchise, there are heavy themes of honor among criminals of the Japanese underworld and their loyalty to their bosses are presented greatly through what you can see from the values of a largely budgeted TV show. Hence, you would find difficulty in coming up with another game that is outside of this series that will feature this much melodramatic music playing in the background.

A key feature that Yakuza 5 (PS3) capitalizes on, it is the importance of having multiple stories in one game. Even though Kazuma Kiryu is enough to have his own game and as a solo protagonist, there are also four other playable characters that have their own lengthy and spanned-out storylines to add into the mix. Add that to the already immense value of the Yakuza titles and you got yourself one best-seller of a game. Each of these stories are personal but are intertwined. As such, there will come a point in each of those plotlines wherein each character will converge at the end of their own journey.

Aside from coursing your way through the dark dungeons that is the Japanese underworld of crime, there are other diversions that can give you that fleeting feeling of relaxation. Taxi racing and hunting are just two of those diversions that mildly supports the Yakuza tale. They do little to the story, but does add up to the element of fun for the game.

Even though Yakuza 5 does not attempt to be a real simulation of what it is to live in Japan, it does have areas wherein you will find some kind of realism. This is what keeps fans to keep coming back into the game and new players to be completely drawn in even from their first try.


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