Yakuza 5 - Review

Author: Francesco "Checco" Destri
Date: 2020-07-30 17:31:30
After more than 30 hours spent with Yakuza 5 on a PlayStation 3 that I hadn't turned on since time immemorial, I asked myself why we had to wait three years to have this beautiful Sega action-brawler-open world in the West. Because if we thought about it, if we had all played it in 2012, the enthusiasm would be even greater and that 40/40 of Famitsu would not sound like a patriotic exaggeration, but perhaps as the right recognition of a game in its own unique way.

And instead we are here to talk about the new adventures of Kazuma Kiryu in 2015, when the exclusivity for PlayStation 3 sounds almost anachronistic, the graphics of the successor of the Magical-V Engine no longer affects so much and the combat system, in an era dominated by the "Arkham style", it risks appearing old.

If we then think that in three years Sega has added nothing at all compared to the Japanese version of 2012 and that it has limited itself to English subtitles only (the dialogues have remained in Japanese), some regrets begin to accumulate. Among other things, Yakuza 5 is now available only in digital version and this means having to download about 23 GB of stuff and having twice the free space on PlayStation 3. With my 60 GB Fat I had to delete practically everything in order to install the game and that's never nice.

Complaints aside, Yakuza 5 is a bit the forbidden dream of any geek with the cue of Japan, its places, its characters and its culture. Everything in this fifth installment of the series exudes Japan. The dubbing (extraordinary), the city districts (the game begins in that of Fukuoka), the thousand things that can be done simply by entering a shop and sifting through the shelves. Enter a game room and play Virtua Fighter 2 for half an hour, try to catch a stuffed animal with the deadly UFO Catcher, stop on the edge of a stream and fish, enter a restaurant and binge on sushi, browse among the shelves of a newsstand between magazines and manga.

Described in this way, Yakuza 5 would seem almost a spin-off of Shenmue and in fact the comparisons between the two games are much less labile than one might believe. Let's not talk about all the other activities that you can do in the tens of hours that you will spend in front of the TV (karaoke, gallant meetings, dance competitions and many Quick Time Events) and which, willingly or unwillingly, represent the true hallmark of Yakuza 5. In one of the five narrative lines you will have to impersonate the small Haruka Sawamura of the first chapter of the series, which however is no longer so small and who dreams rather of breaking through as a pop-star between singing and dancing challenges and other activities which, at least in our part, are certainly not seen every day in a video game.

Then there are stealth hunting sections, taxi driver missions, tests and side quests of all kinds (also in the cook's test style) and consequently longevity, always if you get caught up in this endless whirlpool of activities, will lengthen dramatically. The game maps are not huge, but what you can do inside them could take up to a hundred hours and this, returning to the speech of geeks suffering from "nipponite", is an unmissable wedding invitation.