|Developer(s)||Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio|
Yakuza 5 (Japanese: 龍が如く5 夢、叶えし者, Hepburn: Ryū ga Gotoku 5: Yume, Kanaeshi Mono, "Like a Dragon 5: Fulfiller of Dreams") is an action-adventure video game developed and published by Sega for the PlayStation 3. The game is the fifth main entry in the Yakuza series. The game was released in December 2012 in Japan, and localized for North America, Europe and Australia as a PlayStation Network download in December 2015. A remaster with improved resolution and frame rate was released for the PlayStation 4 on June 20, 2019 in Japan, and worldwide on February 11, 2020 as part of The Yakuza Remastered Collection.
The game features a new graphics engine, unlike previous 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.
The gameplay is relatively similar to previous games in the series, with a few changes. Similar to past games, gameplay is divided into two components: Adventure Mode and Combat Mode. Adventure Mode allows players to explore different areas and participate in side activities including mini-games and retro games such as Virtua Fighter 2 and Taiko No Tatsujin. The cities are also 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.
Setting and characters
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.
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 general director Toshihiro Nagoshi and producer/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."
In December 2012, the 7th chairman of the Omi Alliance, Tsubasa Kurosawa, is on his deathbed due to lung cancer. With his apparent death, the truce between Tojo Clan and the Omi Alliance breaks down, leading to potential war. 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, breaking the old traditional barriers of Clan territories in the process. In order to expedite this, Daigo personally leads the delegations sent to negotiate with the other yakuza in Fukuoka.
While in Fukuoka, Daigo meets with Tadashi Madarame, the patriarch of the local Yamagasa clan. Daigo then leaves to meet discreetly with Kazuma Kiryu, who has been living under a different identity as a taxi cab driver. Shortly after work, Kiryu is met by Daigo's bodyguards, Yuu Morinaga and Masato Aizawa. They inform Kiryu that Daigo has gone missing and that the last person he had contact with was Kiryu. Aizawa and Morinaga show up at Kiryu’s house the following day, having gotten into a brawl with Yamagasa men. They learn Aoyama has taken the position of interim chairman.
Kiryu later meets Kazuhiko Serizawa, an Osakan detective with the Organized Crimes Unit. He warns Kiryu that he needs to meet with Omi Alliance Lieutenant Watase to prevent a war. Kiryu meets with Watase who reveals he has no interest in Daigo and doesn’t know his whereabouts, but he does reveal a lot of information was leaked by Aoyama, and that he holds immense respect for Kiryu, wanting him to come back as the Tojo Clan's chairman once again. Kazuma rushes to the hotel where Madarame and Aoyama are only to find Madarame stabbed after trying to shoot Aoyama. Aoyama was planning to take over the Tojo Clan and frames Kiryu for attacking Madarame and shooting Morinaga. Kiryu fights his way out, but Aoyama detonates bombs in the hotel to destroy the evidence.
The following morning Kiryu finds out that a hostess he befriended, Mayumi, is Madarame’s daughter and was tasked with watching Kiryu at Daigo's request. Madarame reveals Daigo had gone into hiding as he believed that Aoyama was making an attempt on his life. With Daigo sorting out affairs incognito, Madarame gives Kiryu a letter for Yahata. Kiryu meets with Yahata and shows him the letter ordering the dissolution of the Yamagasa Family. Yahata agrees but he’s still intent on fighting the Tojo. Kiryu tears up the letter in return, saying that the Yamagasa need to remain intact to keep the peace in Fukuoka.
Kazuma proposes he take on Aoyama’s forces by himself to minimize bloodshed and is victorious. Aoyama confesses his real intent to lure Kiryu out of hiding. Before Aoyama can reveal his master’s identity, he’s shot in the head by Morinaga, who is part of the conspiracy. Morinaga admits to murdering Aizawa and declares that Kiryu go to Kamurocho for answers. While Kiryu makes preparations to return to Tokyo, he hears on a radio broadcast that Goro Majima is found dead in Sapporo.
In Sapporo, Hokkaido, Taiga Saejima is serving out his sentence with complications. Shigeki Baba, one of Saejima’s cell mates, is accused of stabbing one of Kugihara’s gang members on the same day as Baba's parole hearing. Saejima and Baba learn that Kugihara framed Baba in order to provoke Saejima. Concurrently, Saejima learns that he’s been excommunicated from the Tojo Clan, which leads to Saejima shamefully declining to apply for parole, and he eventually learns of Majima's death upon returning to his cell (It is later revealed that the parole was sent to and revoked by the Ministry of Justice despite Saejima's refusal to reconsider). Sympathetic to their plight, Deputy Warden Kosaka helps Saejima and Baba escape from prison, though at the cost of his superior warden's life (He himself later gets stabbed only to be saved by Himura and his gang, who were inmates with Saejima and Baba).
Saejima and Baba head to Sapporo to meet with Kitakata who is supposedly Majima’s killer. They kidnap him during the Snow Festival via the sewer system and he talks with Saejima. Kitakata reveals that Majima suspected a conspiracy within the Tojo Clan, but is seemingly murdered by Baba to cover it up. Saejima defeats and spares Baba, and is met by Serizawa, who reveals that Kitakata survived and directs Saejima to Kamurocho to investigate the conspiracy.
In Osaka, Haruka Sawamura is training for the Princess League J-pop competition in order to make her big debut, having been scouted by Mirei Park of Dyna Chair under the condition that Kiryu leave the orphanage in order to keep Haruka's past clean. While training, Haruka and Park bond over a shopping trip, learning of the latter's previous aspiration as an idol and rough upbringing. Park confesses she recently received a letter from her ex-husband who she is going to meet in Tokyo. However, she is found dead outside the office the following day, apparently having thrown herself from the top floor of the building. Park's death attracts the attention of Shun Akiyama, who was in Osaka in order to expand his Sky Finance money-lending business. He reunites with Haruka and details how Park borrowed money from him to invest in Haruka. The pair come to the conclusion that foul play is involved since Park is not a suicidal person. Akiyama examines the suicide note and comes to the conclusion it is forged as Park had to use her left hand due to an injury from Haruka's dance instructor, Ogita, during an argument. Later Horie, Dyna Chair's manager, is tossed off of the roof and injured, while Ogita makes a run for it, but Akiyama defeats him and his accomplice, Kanai. Soon after, he and Haruka track down a forger responsible for the note in Sotenbori and learns the forger is a die-hard fan of Haruka and that he was hired by another yakuza employed by Naoyuki Katsuya, the CEO of Osaka Enterprises, completely oblivious to their plot.
Akiyama investigates Osaka Enterprises and finds Ogita grieviously injured, his right arm completely crushed. Akiyama creates a distraction to let him escape, but Kanai's men kill Ogita anyway, and Kanai later reveals to have kidnapped Haruka and threatens to kill her if Akiyama does not comply to his future instructions. When Kanai is about to torture Haruka to gain information about Mirei's vault, a furious Katsuya then barges in and punches Kanai, berating him for going against his orders, causing Haruka to faint due to exhaustion and from the shock of the ensuing events. Katsuya later releases Haruka and returns back to Dyna Chair with her to apologize to Akiyama, Christian (Haruka's new dance teacher), Miss Yamaura (Dyna Chair's substitute manager for Horie and Haruka's vocal trainer). Haruka wakes up and receives a call from Katsuya, who tells her to give her Park's letter to Majima and promises to never harm her again, threatening to kill the Sunshine Orphanage's kids and Kiryu if she does not comply. Her dance trainer Christian overhears where she'll exchange the letter (at the train station), and just before she leaves, Akiyama reveals Park's past and her marriage to Majima. Akiyama, feeling uneasy about Haruka running off with the letter, eventually follows her to the train station, where Kanai once again threatens to take the letter by force and hold Haruka hostage, but Akiyama arrives just in time to save her, and the two leave for Tokyo to prepare for the Japan Dome concert. Park was targeted due to the letter her ex-husband sent her, where Haruka and later Akiyama learn that Majima is Park's ex-husband. With the Princess League competitions finals completed, Haruka and Akiyama head off to Tokyo with the letter in hand with Katsuya shortly behind. Katsuya then holds Kanai in a chokehold in his office and scars him in the forehead with a hot cigarette bud.
In Nagoya, former pro-baseball player Tatsuo Shinada is hired by a disguised Daigo to investigate Shinada's banishment from the league. In order to pay off a massive debt, Shinada investigates the scandal with the aid of loan shark and former fan Takasugi. During the course of their investigation, and his various meet-ups with Milky, a woman he has feeling sfor, they learn the identities of the Nagoya Family members (Milky being one of them), and that Shinada's former manager, Fujita, is the mastermind, much to Shinada's own shock and disappointment. With the culprits identified and defeated, Daigo reveals his true identity to Shinada, having known him since high school. After a brief fight, the pair return to Tokyo, though Shinada stops midway to confront Sawada, his rival. He and Sawada reunite and defeat Fujita's men, after which Shinada and Sawada finally settle their rivalry via a classic baseball match. Serizawa later comes to Fujita's office and kills him in cold blood.
As Kiryu arrives in Tokyo, he learns that Baba is an accomplice in the Omi Alliance’s plan and that the main objective of the plan was to draw out Saejima and Kiryu due to them being seen as the pillars of the Tojo Clan. Kiryu learns that three main families are vying for the Chairman position with Watase, Katsuya, and another.
Saejima meets with the Osakan Detective who has tasked him with finding Morinaga while the detective tails Katsuya. Knowing that Morinaga can’t go to the Tojo Clan, Saejima heads to Purgatory where he meets with The Florist of Sai about Morinaga’s whereabouts and learns that Aizawa had faked his death (Having been abandoned by Morinaga at the hospital before the former could even say goodbye) and that Morinaga lies dead in a police morgue. Saejima later tells Aizawa to pick Morinaga's body up to pay his respects and settle their differences as part of his first step to find out the culprit.
Upon their return to Kamurocho, Akiyama and Shinada cross paths with each other where the latter reveals that that Haruka may be targeted during the Princess League. Further investigation into Katsuya reveals that Katsuya was Park's close friend, and was not capable of ordering Park's death.
Baba and Kiryu see a broadcast saying Haruka’s concert has been canceled, making Kiryu certain of Katsuya’s guilt which Saejima and Aizawa also see. Kiryu tells Baba to relay a message to Haruka and heads off the Kamurocho Hills. Kiryu and Saejima fight their way through the Omi Alliance members separately until they reach Katsuya in his suite with Watase following after. On the roof of the hotel, Katsuya reveals himself to be luring out the actual culprit. Detective Serizawa's identity is revealed to be Kurosawa, and he promptly shoots all of them, with Katsuya jumping in front of Watase to save him from getting shot, later losing consciousness. Daigo shows up to intervene, but is shot by a traitorous Kanai.
Haruka is met by Nakai and T-Set at Dyna Chair’s Tokyo studio who say they canceled T-Set’s concert and will instead have a supergroup show with Haruka and T-Set performing as Dream Line. As they agree, Baba arrives and relays Kazuma’s message to her. Akiyama and Shinada then meet with Kiryu and Saejima at New Serena, Akiyama coming to the conclusion that Majima, Katsuya, and Park worked behind the scenes to draw out Kurosawa. Kiryu refuses to cancel Haruka's concert and the four plan a way to protect her. Kurosawa is then met by Majima, while Shinada goes to the hospital to personally talk with Daigo.
Before their plan can start, Kurosawa’s men, disguised as members of the Majima Family, arrive at Millennium Tower and begin shooting. With Majima at the top of the tower and Haruka’s concert underway Akiyama and Kiryu stay behind to fend off Kurosawa’s men while Shinada heads off for the Japan Dome, and there he finds a depressed Baba deciding to call off the hit against Kurosawa's orders, upon which Shinada defeats him to remind him of his oath to Saejima. Distraught at his defeat, Baba attempts to commit suicide with his rifle but his fellow inmates Himura, Oshima, and warden Kousaka, arrive to rescue Baba and comfort him. Takasugi then calls Shinada and tells him that Milky is waiting for him, leading to Shinada dropping on his knees in tears.
At the top of Millennium Tower, Saejima finds Kurosawa and is forced to fight Majima. Saejima and Majima fight to a draw, but Kurosawa is unable to reach Baba as he chose not to shoot Haruka, upon watching Saejima hold Baba's cell phone where Shinada mocks Kurosawa. Kurosawa attempts to kill Majima and Saejima, but is stopped by Daigo and Kanai. In the streets, Akiyama fights Kanai before being relieved by Watase, Madarame, and Kitakata, with the three bowing down to Akiyama out of respect.
At Tojo Clan Headquarters Kiryu learns that Aizawa is Kurosawa’s son. Kurosawa tells the group of his past, of how he suffered a life of poverty and that Jin Goda's death finally allowed him to escape it. However, after his terminal diagnosis for his lung cancer, he started to panic and wanted to leave Aizawa the entirety of the Tojo Clan and Omi Alliance as a legacy, but Aizawa is only interested in defeating Kiryu and has essentially cast aside his father's wishes. After an arduous battle Kiryu emerges victorious despite being wounded and already suffering from his previous wounds.
At the concert, Haruka confesses about her connection with Kiryu and announces her retirement from the entertainment industry while Madarame, the entire Yamagasa family, the Kitakata family, the Omi Alliance, Akiyama, Saejima, Daigo, Majima, Saejima, Shinada and Baba alongside Haruka's teachers Yomeura, Christian and manager Horie watch on, before Haruka reunites with a near-death Kiryu.
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, 2014, Sega announced Yakuza 5 would be releasing worldwide in December 8, 2015 as a digital download via the PlayStation Network.
A remaster with improved resolution and frame rate was released for the PlayStation 4 on June 20, 2019 in Japan. The remaster was released in English on February 11, 2020 as part of The Yakuza Remastered Collection, alongside remasters of Yakuza 3 and Yakuza 4, with a re-translated English script.
Yakuza 5 received generally positive reviews release in western territories, while receiving critical acclaim in Japan. 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."
IGN Italy 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. In Japan, approximately 21,047 physical units for PlayStation 4 were sold during its PS4 release launch week becoming the second best selling game of any format.
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