In advance of our own review, we thought we would do a Yakuza 5 reviews roundup to see what other writers thought of the game.
This is something we did a few years ago and a concept I’d like to revive whenever new Sega releases arrive. I think it’s fun to examine a game’s reception at large… and to also call out random bullshit when it happens.
I do have to say this about Yakuza 5, I think any reviewer crafting a piece prior to fully experiencing this game is not serving their audience adequately. This game changes greatly as you move from section to section, in gameplay and tone throughout. Simply driving around in Kiryu’s taxi, playing Drum Master, and beating up on random thugs for a few hours is such a small portion of what the game has to offer. I’m over 50 hours into it and my completion rate is around 20%…
Note: I’m not fixing any factual, spelling or grammatical errors below. Cheers!
Yakuza 5 Reviews Roundup
Considering Yakuza 5 was my most anticipated game of 2015, it offered me everything I wanted in a game: a great story, tons of action, and wide areas worth getting lost in. While I wouldn’t recommend that newcomers start with this instalment, even with the reminisce option, there’s enough for both novice and veterans of the series to enjoy. Sega offered me the best Christmas present, and it was completely worth the wait.
Yakuza 5 is exactly the sort of game the expression “greater than the sum of its parts” was made to describe. Each facet of the experience, taken individually, leaves room for improvement, but, reflecting on my time with Yakuza 5, I can’t conjure much in the way of disappointment. Some bumps notwithstanding, it’s a hell of a ride, one that I heartily recommend.
Hardcore Gamer: 4.5/5
It may have taken a number of years to get here, but Yakuza 5 was worth the wait. It’s not only the most robust and well-executed game in the series, it’s also one of the best games of last generation. It’s the perfect swansong for the PS3 and should be played by anyone with even a passing interest in open-world, action, fighting, role-playing, story-driven games or, well, just games in general. It effectively transcends its genre and can truly be enjoyed by people who don’t usually get into such non-linear experiences thanks to the wonderful implementation of a host of systems that are all fully-realized and compelling. There’s so much to do here that Yakuza 5 could easily last into the hundreds of hours range and wouldn’t drag its feet for a single minute of it. This is how Japanese gaming rose to prominence and stayed at the top for so long. If you’ve written it off in recent years, then this is a reason to come back, because Yakuza 5 is the pinnacle of eastern games development, bar none. It’s even more than that, though, as this could stand toe-to-toe with the best out there, be it western- or eastern-developed. Just do yourself a favor and buy this game.
While playing the prior games isn’t a prerequisite, loyal fans who have followed the Yakuza series up to this point will feel rewarded with every throwback, whether it’s the return of a supporting character or a revisit to a ramen shop that has remained in business for multiple games. Even if melee combat lacks the sophistication of modern action games, Yakuza 5 makes up for its modest shortcomings with enthralling diversions and eye-popping settings that compel one to look at travel deals to Japan. Come for the stories, but stick around for Yakuza 5’s world; it’s unconventional in the best way possible
Yakuza 5 is such an enormous, generous game that it can afford sections like this – because if it’s not your thing, there’s still hundreds upon hundreds of hours elsewhere. My save file is now just over 30 hours and it feels like barely scratching the surface – even if I did spend lots of time in a taxi, or playing Virtua Fighter 2. This is a world of endless, delightful distractions that keep feeding into one another. It’s amazing enough to find a (limited) version of Taiko: Drum Master in the local Club Sega, but after exhausting that you can just head down the street to a karaoke bar – and play Sega’s twist on the same, tailored for pad controls, while characters belt out some Jpop classics.
This is the kind of game you get from an experienced development team that knows what they’re making. Yakuza 5 is all about refining what was already a great series, and delivering the ultimate version of it. There’s just so much of it to do and, unlike many ‘content-rich’ games, almost none of it feels like filler. You can go hunting and fishing, play baseball or golf, darts or pachinko, take on NPCs at Shogi or Mahjong, cook noodles, have snowball fights, dabble in chicken racing or flutter it all away at the casino. It’s an imaginary world of such richness that, once you’re in, the Yakuza are the least interesting thing about it.
Game Revolution: 8.5/10
It’s incredibly easy to plug multiple hours at a time into Yakuza 5, partly because it’s very easy-to-follow mission structure, and partly because the cut-scenes can take so long telling the story. It feels forced to flesh out the story so much which can take fifteen minutes at a clip. It wants to be some mashup of Shenmue and The Godfather, and does a great job of it. I might wish there was more depth to the fighting, or when I say “just one more mission” I’m not committing myself to another hour and a half or longer, but hey, that’s the life of a mobster (or so I’ve heard).
It’s worth putting up with Yakuza 5’s flaws just to see where it goes – and Yakuza 5 goes to some magical places. It’s a game that lets you order a CD of Out Run’s ‘Magical Sound Shower’ from your cellphone; a game that lets you try to win a Hatsune Miku doll from a UFO catcher; a game that lets you play a sidescrolling beat-em-up on a virtual reality headset crafted by a Japanese Doc Brown. It’s the kind of game that gives as much as you put in, and it has a hell of a lot to give.
We Got This Covered: 4.5/5
If one thing truly stands out about Yakuza 5, it’s the amount of heart that went into the project. There are no throwaway mini-games, as every single one has enough depth that they could conceivably be their own budget-priced game. Sega has produced one of the deepest PlayStation 3 titles ever, and this is one heck of a swan song for the system to go out on. If you’re new to the series, or a long-time fan, you won’t be disappointed by Yakuza 5.
Push Square: 8/10
Yakuza 5 may no longer be dressed for the part, but like any respectable gangster, it has a good heart beating beneath its unkempt exterior. It’s a fitting analogy for a game that’s ultimately all about aging, so while time may have been tough on Kiryu and crew, this dense and occasionally oddball adventure still has plenty of strong stories to tell.
That’s a wraps for the Yakuza 5 reviews roundup. We hope you found this either entertaining or educational. Maybe you found a new site to add to your bookmarks or a new writer to harass on social media.
Our review of Yakuza 5 will go live no sooner than I finish the main game and most of the side stories. I think writing about an experience you know little of first hand is dishonest.