|Release date(s)||PlayStation 3|
Yakuza 5 (Japanese: 龍が如く5 夢、叶えし者 Hepburn: Ryū ga Gotoku 5: Yume Kanaeshi Mono?, lit. "Like a Dragon 5: Fulfiller of Dreams"), is a 2012 open world action-adventure video game developed and published by Sega exclusively for the PlayStation 3. The game is the fifth main entry in the Yakuza series of action-adventure games. The game was released in December 2012 in Japan, and localized for North America, Europe and Australia as a PlayStation Network download exclusive in December 2015. The game features a brand new graphics engine, unlike previous PS3 games in the series that have been re-utilizing the same engine since Ryū ga Gotoku Kenzan!. For the first time in the series, it features five settings across Japan along with five playable main characters. This game is also the first in the series to have a digital only release in the West.
The game's gameplay is relatively similar to previous games in the series, with a few changes. Similar to past games, gameplay is divided into two components being Adventure Mode and Combat Mode. Adventure Mode allows players to explore different areas and play spots across the city including mini-games. The cities will also be significantly bigger than previous games, providing more areas to explore in the game and is said to feature the greatest volume of play spots across cities in the series' history. The change between the game's Adventure Mode and Combat Mode is also said to be more seamless than previous games, which involved a transitional change when encountering enemies whilst in adventure mode. Controls for the game have also been said to have been improved "dramatically" as with the tempo of the game's combat mode.
For the first time in the series, the game features five distinct locales across Japan. First of which will be returning from previous games is Kamurocho (a.k.a. Kamuro City), a fictionalized yet realistic recreation of Shinjuku's red-light district, Kabukichō. Second is Sōtenbori, a fictional Osaka district based on Dōtonbori, which is returning from Yakuza 2. The three new cities in the game are Nagasugai, part of the fictional Fukuoka based on Nakasu, Tsukimino, part of the fictional Sapporo based on Susukino and Kin'eicho, part of the fictional Nagoya based on Sakae. According to producer Toshihiro Nagoshi and writer Masayoshi Yokoyama, it will be like the "San Andreas" of the Yakuza series, in that it is a "massive expansion on the core concept that takes the franchise to new heights."
The game picks up following the end of Yakuza 4, with Yakuza: Dead Souls being considered a non-canon spinoff. Since then, Kazuma Kiryu, who has changed his name to Suzuki Taichi, has become a taxi driver in Fukuoka. Taiga Saejima is serving a 2-year jail sentence in Hokkaido following the events of the previous game, while Shun Akiyama is in Osaka on a business trip. Haruka Sawamura has also left the orphanage in Okinawa and is currently in Osaka pursuing a career of becoming an Idol. She currently lives independently in Osaka and practices singing and dancing, though her talent agency is not all that it seems. The new character in the series, Tatsuo Shinada, is a former baseball player who was given a life ban for gambling, but may have been framed.
Previously, in 2010 a ceasefire between the two yakuza clans of the Tojo Clan and the Ueno Seiwa Clan ended with the revelation of a conspiracy by the police force following the events of Yakuza 4. The Tojo Clan then underwent a major re-organization under the leadership of 6th chairman, Daigo Dojima, and a truce with the Omi Alliance was formed. However, two years later in December 2012, the 7th chairman of the Omi Alliance is on his deathbed. With the death of the 7th chairman it would mean that the truce between the Tojo Clan and the Omi Alliance would be broken leading to a war between the clans. In order to prepare, the Tojo Clan is forced to strengthen their organization by aligning themselves with older clans based in other major cities across Japan, in order to create a new organization rivaling that of the Omi Alliance. This new alliance would breach the old traditional barriers of Clan territories and so Daigo Dojima heads for Fukuoka.
The game features five main protagonists, the highest number of main protagonists of any game in the series, with the previous highest being Yakuza 4's four main protagonists. The game features series protagonist, Kazuma Kiryu, the main character since the original Yakuza game. There are also two returning protagonists from Yakuza 4, namely Shun Akiyama and Taiga Saejima. One of the new main protagonists is Haruka Sawamura, a recurring character of the series since the original game. Though she has always been an integral part of the story, she has never been a playable main character before the game. Lastly is Tatsuo Shinada (Toshiyuki Morikawa), a new character to the Yakuza series.
The game had double the development time of previous games in the series, which generally had a one-year development cycle. The game was developed as something akin to being a reboot of the series, and dubbed as a "New Yakuza" by developers with the goal of having one of the greatest scripts and scenarios in the series' history. In addition, the game was developed on an all new graphics engine, previous PS3 games in the series used the Magical-V Engine, the same engine as Yakuza 3. The game was seen as a fresh start for developers, who treated Yakuza: Dead Souls as the end for everything developed for the series up to that point. On December 5, 2015, Sega announced Yakuza 5 would be releasing worldwide in December 8, 2015 as a digital download via the PlayStation Network.
Yakuza 5 received positive release on both Japan and western territories. It holds a score of 83 out of 100 on review aggregator website Metacritic. The game received a perfect score of 40 out of 40 from japanese gaming magazine Famitsu. Hobby Consolas called it "one of the best games in the history of PS3" and "an incomparable piece of art that has everything: five main characters, five cities, an attractive script, lots of missions, a great combat system." Hardcore Gamer called it "one of the best games of last generation." PlayStation Universe praised the "complex storyline with lots of twists", the "cutscenes that push the PS3's visual capabilities", and the "myriad of mini-games and side quests" that "will give more incentive to keep playing once it is over", concluding it to be a "fitting swan song game for the PS3 era in the west." MeriStation said the "amount of content packed in the game is impressive, and the detail put in the cities' recreations is astonishing."
IGN said it is "steeped in Japanese culture to the core and exciting in its multiple storylines." GameSpot praised the "Engrossing storylines", "large variety of rich minigames", locales "alive with activity and diversions galore", "welcome surprise" pop idol chapter, and "Hard-hitting combat", but said the "Combat mechanics show their age". The Game Scouts said it looks "better than most recent next-gen releases" with "some of the best facial models" and "authentic" environments, stated the "writing is absolutely masterful, walking a fine line between satirical humor and serious gangster drama", and called it "a masterpiece", "one of the greatest games" on the PS3, and "right next to The Witcher 3" as a Game of the Year candidate.
The game sold 590,000 copies in Japan by April 2013.
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